2012 Volvo S60 T5: The Tractor People
May 08, 2012
Driving north through the low, rolling land north of Merced, open range at first and then the cut-up country where the Merced River slows down after it comes out of Yosemite and then along the river under the oaks toward Snelling, I figured out that it was all very much not like Los Angeles.
Maybe this is why the 2012 Volvo S60 was so good to drive.
In L.A., the Volvo's soft springs make the car feel soggy and uncontrolled as it bounds over over the wretched San Diego Freeway, and then its stiff bushings harshly register the broken pavement at the same time.
But away in the country on a nicely paved California road, the springs and dampers work together to deliver the kind of comfort that you want for an all-day drive, and then the stiff bushings lend a perceptible measure of precision to the car's responses as the road winds past the little spring-time bolsas and across the creeks. Even the S60's soft throttle response works for you, as the car always stays calm as you hurtle along, easing into the brakes and then onto the gas.
As it sits here in the drive of my friends' house at the end of French Flat Road, they're kind of surprised to see a stylish Volvo. While it's easy to take for granted that everyone knows about Volvo's aspirations, there are plenty of people who still think of Volvo cars as simply boxy but good, just like always.
And yet in a way, they're attracted to this car for the same image of durability, utility and style that has always been the Volvo character. And if you were the kind of people who had not only designed your own house but built it too, and had a pocket-size Case crawler tractor and were planning to plant your own orchard (an incredible gesture of faith in the future), then a Volvo S60 would suit you a lot better than some tedious BMW sedan, no?
At least this Volvo and the Case are kind of the same color.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 16,295 miles