2012 Volvo S60 Long-Term Road Test - Interior

2012 Volvo S60 Long-Term Road Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (2)
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  • Long-Term

2012 Volvo S60 T5: Welcome to the Future

June 07, 2012

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Over this past memorial day weekend my wife and I logged almost 900 miles in the S60.While en route to Mammoth Lakes with three other cars full of friends, I finally accepted technology and shoved myself into 2012.

Let me explain. I don't drive long term cars much, and my personal vehicles include two thirty year old cars and a motorcycle. Things like nav, bluetooth, heated seats, and dual-zone-dvd-lane-departure-assist are not the norm. Take cruise control for example. When I'm taking a long trip in a modern car, I rarely set the cruise - I just forget. Now enter the the S60 and an adaptive cruise control system. To my stuck-in-the-80s mentality I might as well have been in a Mr. Fusion-powered DeLorean. Mile after mile ticked by, with us locked onto the rear of the caravan. Accel, decel, lasers, computing, data. How does this happen? The true test came when entering town. The tangerine swede slowed...slowed...slowed...and stopped behind a 4runner at a light. Now would it accelerate and resume the trip? It did.

Now that my mind is blown - how long do you think we're from driver input being a program or function without any pedal or wheel manipulation?

John Adolph, Senior Multimedia Editor @ 19,169 miles

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Cozy

June 04, 2012

orangetabby by swyngarden.jpg Photo by swyngarden via Flickr
While driving our orange Volvo S60 this weekend, my husband was surprised at how snug the interior is. The S60 doesn't feel large inside, which I kind of like. The kids in the back seat didn't feel like they were miles away from us, but we didn't feel cramped, either. It was cozy. Coupled with the car's warm golden-orange paint, the feeling conjured the image of a ginger tabby curled up, all snug and safe.
Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 19,300 miles

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Clean Stack

May 30, 2012

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Still impressed with how much functionality Volvo packs into this elegant interface. Navigating the display monitor using the OK/Menu and Exit button (top right) takes some practice, but otherwise this is a simple, unfussy control panel to use while driving. While everyone moves to dial controllers and five-button arrays, even small track pads, Volvo shows how you can still do it with a simple panel and a couple of knobs trimmed in pretty chrome.

How long will telephone number pads be relevant? Show of hands: how many of you know more than a handful of your immediate friends and family's telephone numbers from memory? Now we just store phone numbers as names in our contact lists on our phones. But there's still something vaguely reassuring about seeing the number pad there, floating just above Couch Potato Man.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Backseat Action

May 23, 2012

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Our 2012 Volvo S60 T5 saw a lot of backseat action during the road trip this weekend. My dog Mya occupied it for the 800-mile round trip on the highway while my dad and brother sat back there for the around-town excursions.

Since it was about 100 degrees or so up in Sacramento, getting cool air to the backseat occupants asap was critical, especially after the car had been sitting out in the afternoon sun for hours. Thankfully there are air vents on the B-pillars and I could point the large center air vent on the dash toward the rear for even more effective cooling.

First, the dog report...

The Volvo's backseat seems made for hauling around seatbelted hounds. Its seatbelt fasteners protrude from the seat for quick and easy buckling. And this probably won't be an issue for anyone else, but I like that the crevice between the seatback and seat cushion was deep enough so I could tuck her blanket in there without fear of her kicking it free and getting all over the leather. I put the center armrest down so that she wouldn't extend to the part of the seat that wasn't covered up, which was just fine by her as she spent most of the trip curled up into a small ball.

When two adults rode in the back -- one 5'5" and the other 5'9" -- they both said it was very comfortable with plenty of legroom (note: short people were in the front seats). My brother who totes a iPad and iPhone everywhere, appreciated the pocket behind the front seat and the small storage compartment in the center armest. In terms of how many people can comfortably fit back there, though, I could not see slotting a third person in there between those two.

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Reader Mail Responses

April 27, 2012

volvo_s60_bluedoor.JPG In an earlier post I asked for your questions about our longterm 2012 Volvo S60 T5. Across the jump are my responses.

How is it that what appears to be an ideal sedan for commuting and long trips will not hit 20,000 miles in 12 months? Is it being passed over, or just getting short commuting trips?

It's being used routinely but not on the long, mile-racking road trips.

How's the sunroof?

No wetness observed after a car wash, so it appears to be working as expected.

Does your transmission give rough downshifts when the vehicle is cold and for the first 15 to 20 minutes of driving?

Haven't observed this, but I'll try to pay particular attention the next time I drive the S60. How rough is rough, and what does your dealer say about it?

How's the dealer treating you on those software updates?

We've not received any, so if there are updates we're missing then the answer is: pretty negligent.

Does Sensus (infotainment system) play Japanese, Chinese, and/or Korean music that is stored on your USB?

Now that's a strange one. Maybe Magrath has some music from those regions. He's out of town right now.

what is the point in having blue-ish LED accent lights and then ugly traditional yellow halogen lights next to it? It looks bad to me. Do you guys ever notice that as "owners"?


Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2012 Volvo S60: Takes Its Time

April 26, 2012


There are certain things our Volvo S60 does a little too slowly and I'm not talking about its ride.

I've been driving it for the past two days and I noticed that the turn signals don't switch off right away after you make a turn. They continue for another couple of blinks.

Also, when I turn the car off, the radio continues to play as it does in some modern cars. In most cars, it switches off as soon as you open the driver door. But the Volvo continues for another couple of seconds. Not long but just long enough where I can imagine my neighbors wondering where the two-second blast of music came from.

It's like when you click on an internet link and the page takes a few seconds too long to load. It seems like an eternity in this quick-moving world.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Nannies

April 25, 2012

volvo_s60_t5_nannies.JPG The buttons in our longterm 2012 Volvo S60 T5 for lane departure warning and collision alert are always in the state you see above: off. I don't think this is a coincidence. To me -- and other editors too, apparently -- the overly conservative tuning of these "aids" is more of a nuisance than a help. In particular, the crash alert's flashing lights and squawking induces ten times the panic of the non-crash it detects. Every time it goes off I swear it takes six months off my life.

For those that own cars equipped with similar systems, what's your take -- do you find them helpful, or in the off position?

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 15,171 miles.

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2012 Volvo S60: Talkative

April 25, 2012


Our Volvo S60 greeted me with a few warning messages:

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: You Are...Where?

April 23, 2012

It's a good thing I know my town pretty well, else if I relied on our 2012 Volvo S60 T5's nav to get around, I'd be in trouble. I mean, check out that map. No street names, at least not on every street or even every other street when I want to look three streets ahead. What's the name of that street I'm approaching? Its thickness implies it's a major street so shouldn't its name at least be displayed?

When I rooted around the nav system's menu to see if there was perhaps an option I can switch on for street names, I only found this.

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Maintenance Alert

April 23, 2012

volvo_s60_maint_alert.JPG Our longterm 2012 Volvo S60 T5 recently flashed up this maintenance alert, complete with a full- scale model of a 2mm open-end wrench. It pops up each time you start and stop the engine and goes away after a few seconds, presumably since the car figures you're soon to be preoccupied with other things. Like building a model airplane driving.

The alert is hard to miss, especially as it is accompanied by the orange "i" you see in the middle of the cluster.

So, yeah, we'll be doing something about that.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 15, 081 miles.

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Driver Detail

April 23, 2012

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Overall, the S60's total package doesn't feel quite as reactive as a 3 Series. The Volvo's five-cylinder sounds just slightly coarse and it doesn't change direction as fast as the class benchmark. But the S60 probably also doesn't get its due credit for being a real driver's car.

The steering wheel's scalloped, nearly-flat sides, for example, infuse the S60 with a measure of sport that complements that rest of its driver-centric controls and comforts. It's a small detail and, one could argue, slightly poseur-ish. But it's a small detail enhanced by the fun that the S60 can unleash when you roll on its throttle with some conviction.

Many buyers in this segment would probably opt for the 3 Series out of familiarity, perceived status, or genuine appreciation for the badge, the S60 presents a nice alternative: a small sacrifice in overall dynamic ability for traditional Volvo goodness like innovative standard safety features, quality cabin and the fact that you won't find yourself lined up against four identical models in the evening rush hour.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: There's No Need for All This

March 20, 2012


Glancing down at this control cluster in the S60 reminded me of all the stuff cars don't really need these days. The headlight switch is one of them. Whenever I get in a car with automatic headlights, I set the switch to "A" and leave it there for the rest of my time behind the wheel. Sure, there are times here and there when I need to turn the lights on in the middle of the day, but how often is that? Once a month? Once a year?

And that leads me to the utterly ridiculous gas door button. Yeah, yeah, it's for security, but given that I've never met a single person who has ever had gasoline siphoned out of their car, I'm okay with having an unlocked gas door. Or have it so the gas door is locked when the doors are locked, simple.

Ed Hellwig, Editor

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2012 Volvo S60: Video Review

February 20, 2012


Senior Editor Erin Riches brings you a video review of the Volvo S60 model range. The action footage features our S60 T5 long-termer.

See the video after the jump...

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Noisy Air Conditioning

February 14, 2012

Parking our longterm 2012 Volvo S60 in Edmunds Intergalactic Headquarters parking garage yesterday, I noticed a distinct groany noise that was vaguely reminiscent of the power steering in my first car.

That car, an '82 Olds Cutlass Supreme, had a perpetual power steering leak (among others) that at the time I was too poor to fix. Even finding gas money was like an easter egg hunt at each fuel stop. I'd search for loose change under the seats, carpet, in the trunk, jammed in the dash, etc. Back to the leak. Over time the power steering pump would develop a groan when you turned the wheel. That was how I gauged the fluid level, actually.

Anyway, memories. Our Volvo elicts them. I switched its a/c off and on to try to pinpoint the noise it made, and, sure enough, doing so made the groan come and go. It's not really the worrying kind of noise, but it is peculiar given how quiet modern cars usually are.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Seat Comfort

January 24, 2012


I used to own a 2002 Volvo S60. I didn't choose it, I got it by marriage, and besides the fact that it was the base 168-horsepower 2.4-liter inline-5 (ugh, compared to the available turbos), I really disliked the car for one specific reason: seat comfort.

And I mean seats all around. The rear seats had zero legroom, but that was primarily my daughter's problem.

The front seats were roomier, but I never had any luck maneuvering them into a comfortable position. Not the driver's seat with its power controls, or the nightmarish passenger side's manual controls.

That S60 hung around my house for seven long years, and we never got over our differences.

Which probably makes me appreciate the driving comfort of our long-term 2012 S60 even more.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 12,115 miles

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Controls

January 23, 2012

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I like the quality feel of the Volvo S60 T5's controls. There's a fluidity of operation about them which makes you appreciate Volvo's attention to detail.

The turn signal stalk's detents are near-perfect, meaning the pressure needed to push/pull the stalk part way to just signal a few times without accidentally locking it into a constant signal is completely natural. And it has such a nice, smooth and damped action.

Same goes for the dual-zone climate control temperature knobs, which are large and feature spot-on detents, making it easy to move just one click at a time. The stereo volume and tuning control knobs are pretty good, too, although the detents could use a smidge more resistance.

Even the power window controls on the door have a nice texture to them, and don't feel hard and cheap.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 12,038 miles.

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Loud AC

January 16, 2012

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"What was that?" Riswick says as this raspy metal-on-metal grinding noise starts up right when I tip into the throttle.

We're carpooling and inching along in the usual nightmarish traffic on the 10 freeway (caused by the even more nightmarish traffic on the 405) and then all of a sudden the noise happens. It sounds like the noise they use to let the audience know that a movie serial killer is about to strike. It sounds like knives sharpening. James didn't notice that between the first few starts and this one I'd turned on the AC.

The noise happens for just under a second right as you transition from idle to on-throttle. Smash the go pedal and there's no such noise. Ease into it to avoid hitting the car in front of you and there it is again. It's a noise I've heard on some newer AC systems, ones with fancy clutches to try and be as un-parasitic as possible, but this one happens slightly more often and slightly louder. It's noticeable with talk radio on, but inaudible with music.

I don't think it's broken, just annoying in a car with so few actual faults.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Anchor This

November 29, 2011


This is an anchor point attached to a non-movable portion of the seat rail on the rear of the S60's driver's seat. There are two per seat. I'm unsure what they're intended for. The owner's manual doesn't seem to acknowledge their existence.

I say they're rear-facing child seat anchors. What do you think?

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: You Tell Me

November 21, 2011


See that little nubbin on the side of the Volvo's passenger seat headrest? I have no idea what it does. I explorered every page dedicated to seats in the S60's owner's manual and found nothing. I pulled and pushed on it. Nothing. I tried to hang things on it. Nothing.

It's the only one of its kind anywhere in the car.

I'm at a loss. Are you?

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Hey Y'all, Watch This...

November 18, 2011


So this morning I'm reading the Volvo's owner's manual -- 351 pages of riveting enlightenment (and you thought I never touched the things) -- and I come across this little gem.

Can you guess what these are for?

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Why Did They Do That?

November 18, 2011


This is the shifter arrangement on our S60 as viewed from the driver's seat. Not a big deal, but...

Wouldn't it make more sense if it looked like this:

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Easy Daylight Saving Adjustment

November 07, 2011

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Some cars make it so difficult to adjust the clock to Daylight Saving. How many of you find yourselves driving around with the wrong time the rest of the year than bothering to figure out how to change it. Raise your hand. I'll have you know that with the 2012 Volvo S60 T5 that isn't an issue. I figured it out all by myself and without having to crack open the manual once.

First let me say that I actually like how the "OK," "Menu" and "Exit" are grouped together on one button. Editor Brent Romans blogged his dislike for the Volvo's interface but at least with regards to adjusting the time, it couldn't be more simple.

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Put Away Childish Things

November 02, 2011

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Last night was my first time driving our 2012 Volvo S60 T5, and I instantly liked it. It's hard for me to isolate any one thing that makes me feel that this is a car I'd buy. It's a combination of driveability, ergonomics and intuitive controls (although I'm a little worried by Brent's observation that the more you use the interface, the more annoying it is). Our review says the car has "cosseting" front seats, and that's no lie.

Overall, this seems like a car for a grown up: It doesn't need to shout or use gimmickry to win your admiration. Its understated elegance and performance do the job.

What are the cars that you love now, but would never have appealed to you when you were a driving newbie?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @7,179 miles

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Trying to Tell Me Something

October 27, 2011


I have a vehicle message? What's this? Is it that Nigerian prince finally getting back to me about that check he promised was in the mail? Perhaps it's Bossman Oldham letting me know that Edmunds is going all motorcycles, all the time?

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Form and Function

October 25, 2011


Stylish design is one thing. Stylish design that still manages to remain functional is much better. As you can see here, the S60's door panel looks like someone took some time to make it look like more than just your average armrest/window switch/handle. Nice, that's the way it should be on a car in this class.

Thankfully, they didn't go overboard though. The handle is still in the right place, the window switch is right where it should be and there's even a padded armrest. I've driven a few luxury cars lately that seemed to forget that you need to close the door once you open it with door handles moved too far forward to get any leverage. Weird window switches, rock hard armrests and tiny release latches are other common casualties when the designers get too cute. This is a good compromise between the two.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com

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2012 Volvo S60: Seat Heater Season Is Back!

October 24, 2011


When the weather gets crisp, you know what that means: It's time for seat heaters. Yay!

I know what you're thinking. "You use them all year long, Donna." And you'd be right. But for those of you who can't stand the thought of a toasty butt in summer, it's time now to start warming those buns.

Our Volvo S60 has three levels of seat heat, all of which, unfortunately, are too subtle for my tastes. On the highest setting they get only lukewarm. And I would prefer if they radiated further up my back. It's not the seat cushions that I enjoy hot as much as the back rest. They are so comforting early in the morning. And they also help you relax on the way home after a long day of desk jockeying.

OK, obligatory seat heater post ends here.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 6,898 miles

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2012 Volvo S60 T6: What's That Button Do?

September 21, 2011


I'll be honest here: I had no idea what this button did at first glance. It seems so obvious now that I've pushed it. Clearly it's a...

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Interface Hasn't Grown On Me

September 16, 2011


I mostly agree with Warren's post yesterday on how the S60 can grow on you the more you drive it. However, its electronic interface is actually the opposite -- the more I use it the more I get annoyed by it. It used to be that iDrive, COMAND and MMI were maligned for their clunky designs, but all have gotten much better in the past couple years. At this point it's the S60's interface that's a step behind.

In general, it's just harder to get what you want in the S60. Either because of deep menu structures or the lack of true joystick capability (or both), I've found myself spending more time fiddling around trying to find or get what I want in terms of audio, navigation and car setup. There are also some specific things that just bug me, including a slow-acting iPod interface and a lack of radio preset functionality from the steering wheel controls (they only tune stations, and I can't seem to get that to change).

I'm not saying the S60's interface is terrible, because it's not. And compared to Volvos from a couple years ago, it's actually a lot better, particularly in terms of the navigation system. But there's still room for improvement.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: It Grows On You

September 15, 2011

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The more time I spend with the S60, the more I like it. Here's why...

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Different Interior Color

September 14, 2011

volvo_s60_interior.jpg I'm pretty sure I would like it if our Volvo S60 had been ordered with a different interior color than the standard black leather it came with. As it is, it's a little boring looking. Granted, maybe a color interior such as this would seem gaudy after a while. But I never tired of the two-tone interior that was in our departed XC60. I thought it brought about some added Swedish flair to the cabin. As for the S60, the screen-shot interior is the optional Beechwood/Off-Black. It's part of the Premium package. Our car already has that package, so it wouldn't have cost any more to get.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: World Wide Web-Like Display

September 01, 2011

Volvo S60 T5 Sat Radio display.jpg

Our long-term 2012 Volvo S60 T5 has a nice satellite radio display. It's similar to what you get when you surf the web on your computer. The graphics are super crisp, like a SVGA computer display. And the look of each screen and the transitions between screens resemble what you might find if you run a Flash web page. (Someone explain this to iPhone/iPad users.)

I can't think of any cars in our fleet that have a comparable web-like experience. The new XF and XJ Jaguars do have terrific web-like displays. Sadly, we don't have these vehicles in our fleet (are you reading this Jaguar Cars USA?)

I think young people would find this display very appealing. And the not so young too.

Hit the jump for the sensational demo vid.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 4,475 miles

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Lumbar Support

August 30, 2011

volvo s60 seat controls.jpg

The S60's seats are among the most comfortable I've experienced, perfectly supportive even over longer stretches of travel.

As shown above, many of the seat controls are power-adjustable, located on the base of the seat by the door. Not so with the lumbar support, though...

...as shown below, you adjust that manually via a knob.

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Another Nice Wheel

August 24, 2011


I recently got all misty eyed over the wheel in our Mustang GT. It's nothing out of the ordinary, it's just plain good. I feel the same way about the wheel in the S60. Nothing too fancy, just a solid size and not too many buttons. Also note the contours in the wheel for your hands, another nice touch. Makes this feel a little bit more like a real sport sedan.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: A Little Room for Improvement

August 12, 2011


If it sounds like I'm nitpicking, well, I am. That's because I think our Volvo S60 is really quite good overall. There aren't any glaring faults, like a long throttle tip-in, or substandard interior materials, or difficult controls. Nope, everything pretty much suits me just fine...except...

That gap under the lip of the hood shown above. It shouldn't bother me, but it does. I'm seeing too much of the substructure for my tastes. I think it could have been covered up with some black plastic, or maybe the black paint on the windshield surround could have been carried an inch or so higher to obscure this view.

Then there are the digital readouts in the gauges.

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Road Trip

August 09, 2011

SM to Yountville 010-1600.jpg

I programmed the S60's next destination and settled into a day of mindless driving; lots of driving. Click through to see what sort of things I saw along the way and how accurate the onboard fuel economy calculator is. Also, there's a sneak peak at what awaited me 405 miles to the North.

As I approached our parking garage's wooden arm, the S60 nailed the brakes and threw up an array of flashing red lights on the windshield. Yes, thank you City Safety, but I wasn't even even close.

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: The Button

August 04, 2011

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So I think this button is a really good idea, and I wish more cars had one.

As you've probably surmised, pressing it takes the S60's rear head restraints from this...

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Kudos to Tall Swedes!

August 03, 2011

Volvo S60 Driving Position.jpg

After yesterday's tale of the Fiat 500 and its headroom-robbing sunroof comes a car perfectly suited for tall folks like me. The Volvo S60 ticks all the boxes for me. Tons of seat bottom tilt for added thigh support and extra room? Check. Huge amount of wheel telescoping allowing for comfortable arm bend? Check. Can I still reach the center stack controls? Check. Sunroof chewing into headroom? Nope.

Frankly, it shouldn't be surprising that the S60 and Volvos in general are ideal for tall people when they hail from a country filled with lanky dudes like this. Sure, everyone's not exactly an Alexander Skarsgård, but the average Swedish male is still a half inch shy of 6 feet tall. For comparison, both the United States and Italy are 5 foot 9 1/2; Germany is 5 foot 10; South Korea is 5 foot 8 1/2; Japan is 5 foot 7 1/2.

I don't think it's surprising, then, that I don't comfortably fit in the Nissan Leaf and other cars designed and sold in Japan (American models like the Accord and Altima are different). I'd say average heighted people are lucky, but then I can reach that can from the top shelf.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 2,803 miles

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: What's Wrong With This Picture?

August 02, 2011

Volvo IP.jpg

Look closely at this picture of our Volvo S60's dash. What's wrong with it?

Got it? Good. Jump.

The quick answer here is that, well, nothing is actually wrong, per se, but there's an anomaly here: I'm not wearing a seatbelt, the car is in D and there's not a single warning light or chime.

Now, I'll preface this by saying that I am an instinctive, habitual seatbelt user. Swapping parking spots in the garage? Seatbelt. Moving a car at the track? Seatbelt. Re-adjusting my parking space for a perfect parallel to the curb? You know there's a seatbelt involved. I don't understand the "I'm just going down the street!" crowd. Accidents don't have a safety radius.

But back to the point.

I set my backpack in the passenger seat of the Volvo and, upon entering drive, I was met with a really annoying chime and flashing red seatbelt warning. Just as I was about to shove the whole thing on the floor, the light went out and the noise stopped. Hooray! So when I got to my destination, an empty garage, I tried it with the driver seat. Same thing. Brief noise followed by nothing.

It really is an odd thing in a car that panics when the car in front of you is slowing down for a turn (they haven't figured out how to calculate for a turn yet, the computers just see the speed differential and freak out) or if you're driving behind a person close enough to not give up your spot in traffic to a municipal dumptruck. I'd have assumed that seatbelts would be MANDATORY in this car as they are in a number of other vehicles where the noise and flashing lights don't stop at all -- EVER -- unless the buckle is buckled.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 2,762 miles

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Pen Finds A Home

August 01, 2011

volvo s60 glove box.jpg

Yes, the S60 could just leave your pen to roam the glove box wild and free like some kind of vagrant, but that wouldn't be very classy, now would it?

Instead you get the very useful apparatus shown in the photo above, which subdues the pen in a vice-like grip that squashes any and all wayward thoughts.

It was nice to be able to open the glove box and know exactly where to find that frisky ballpoint. No need to grope about in shadowy places.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 2,760 miles

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Center Stack Is So Very Scandinavian

July 28, 2011

volvo s60 cs.jpg
Volvo loves to flaunt its Scandinavian heritage by gussying up its cars with center stacks that reflect very Scandinavian-looking design themes. Thankfully, the S60 gets the same treatment -- the center stack is one of my favorite things about the car's cabin.

And it's not just attractive, it's also pretty intuitive. Those buttons may be on the small side, but they're easily legible and easy to use. Love the materials quality on this part of the cabin as well.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Volvo S60: Hide and Seek

July 27, 2011

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When they're not in use, cupholders can be kinda ugly to look at.

Fortunately, the S60 has an elegant solution.

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: What Does This Mean?

July 25, 2011


When I switched into the Volvo the other night, this symbol appeared on the dash. It didn't look like a maintenance light to me so I figured it must be a feature. Lane departure warning perhaps? So, I consulted the manual.

While our Volvo S60 does come with lane departure warning, this image is for the Distance Alert feature. It is part of the Adaptive Cruise Control system and corresponds to this button above the shifter:

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Floating Pointers

July 20, 2011

Volvo S60 meters.JPG

Our long-term 2012 Volvo S60 T5 has many interesting features, some of which are neat, and some which are not. We'll save the latter for another day.

One cool detail is that the speedo and tach have floating pointers -- they're not pinned to the center of the meter.

Nice, Volvo. Hit the jump for the awesome video.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 2,380 miles

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Backup Camera

July 19, 2011

Here's what the backup camera view looks like for our 2012 Volvo S60 T5. It's straightforward but almost too simple. I usually appreciate when there's an actual line for how far away I am from the bumper behind me. Like in our Ford Fusion Hybrid; even though it, too, is simple I love the use of red, yellow and green brackets. "I'll park it right up to the top of the red bracket."

Also, what's the point of the graphic of the car on the right taking up screen real estate in the Volvo? So we know where the rear camera is located on the car? Shrugs.

Here are some other backup views from our other long-termers for comparison:

2011 BMW 528i
2011 Ford Mustang GT
2011 Hyundai Equus Signature

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Hooray Options

July 13, 2011

Volvo Locks 1.jpg

By now you're all familiar with two things about me: 1) I like cars that give me options on default behaviors. 2) That I hate cars with auto locking doors.

I assumed that our 2012 Volvo S60 T5 would have the auto locking doors because, well, Volvo. That and people like to think it's safer. So you can see how pleased I was to find out not only is this feature disableable, but the keyless door locks also have multiple options.

The first option "all doors unlock" means what it says, when you go to ANY door on the car and pull the handle, all doors unlock -- perfect, that's the way I want it. There are also some other clever ones here such as doors on same side, both front doors and any door. Any door is particularly interesting as only the door you touch unlocks. Usually this feature is limited to the front doors so if you don't have all doors selected, you're forced to use the front doors and then manually unlock the rears. As if. On the Volvo, all doors have the sensor and can be individually opened. More options = more better.

Also, we should take a second and note how easy to use and in-depth the new Volvo information system is. But we'll surely get into that more later. For now, door locks and a happy me.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: I Like This Car

July 11, 2011


I've always had a soft spot for Volvos. The old boxy ones were just so very honest about what they were, which made the turbocharged models from the late 1990s just a fun juxtaposition -- "I'm sensible and practical, but I go like stink!" Of my father's many cars over the years, his S70 T5 remains my favorite.

Frankly, I never thought it was a such a bad thing that the S70 "looked like the box the Audi came in" as I remember reading in whatever car magazine was comparing them at the time. Apparently I'm in the minority, because the current version of that car, our long-term Volvo S60 T5, is just about as far away from boxy as you can get. It's sleek and almost sexy. I liked the boxes, but I like this too.

Actually I like this whole car tremendously. The characterful growl of the eager T5 engine, which consistently made me wonder why anyone would ever bother with the T6. The hydraulic (!) power steering that allows you choose between three different settings, then sticks with that setting after you shut off the car (I'm talking to you BMW). The firm, yet well-damped ride. The stylish interior -- I'm not sure what the center console trim is supposed to be, but it looks great. The spot-on driving position for tall dudes of Northern European descent. The new infotainment interface, which isn't the greatest thing around, but isn't a total flippin' disaster like the one in the XC60.

Going with the assumption that the next-generation 3 Series will be just as aggravating as the new 5, there's a good chance that my favorite car in this class could soon be the S60. Maybe it's just my soft spot talking, but this car seems like a winner and I look forward to driving it a lot in the next year.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 2,203 miles

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Is This Really Necessary?

July 08, 2011


I'm sure there's probably a good reason why there's a slot for the key just below the ignition button in the S60. If I simply RTFM it's probably in there somewhere, maybe after the section on the usefulness of the keypad on the dashboard.

I've heard some people say the slot is there as a convenient key holder. Possibly true, although I prefer to think of my pocket as a slightly more convenient place. With more seat time I'm sure I'll unlock the mystery. For now, I'll just cringe every time I see it.

Ed Hellwig, Editor @ 2,082 miles

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: What's That?

July 04, 2011


Spotted this in our 2012 Volvo S60 T5. Naturally I had to twist it. Guess what it's for.

OK, OK, from its placement you ALL probably guessed correctly that this twisty knob in the driver footwell opens the hood. And this may be a dumb post, but I honestly have never seen a hood opener like that before. Have you? It's just asking to be twisted all the time, whether you need to open the hood or not.

Everything else is so clearly labeled in the S60, can you blame me for being intrigued?

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: It's All So Clear

June 30, 2011

One thing I can really appreciate about our 2012 Volvo S60 T5 is how clearly labeled everything is, well most things (more on this later), and intuitively laid out it is. None of this RTFM for the basic features like the dimmer or fuel door opener. Even the parking brake in the footwell, which usually is tucked under the steering wheel column in other cars with the same placement, is clearly marked. Love it.

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Audiobooks and Classical Music

June 30, 2011

volvo s60 audiobook.jpg

The S60's iPod integration setup recognizes audiobooks as a separate category and allows you to choose this category from the main menu. Not all iPod integration systems facilitate this; we've had a couple of cars in our fleet with systems that don't.

As you can see, the menu also sorts by composer (for classical music fans). Additionally, it breaks out podcasts as a discrete category.

Audiobooks and classical music. Sounds like the typical Volvo demographic to me.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Choose Your Effort

June 30, 2011


Steering effort is one of those subjective aspects of the driving experience that nobody can seem to agree upon. Some like it light, others want an upper body workout.

Imagine my joy when I saw that our new long-term Volvo allows us to choose between low, medium and high effort. Even better, there's a significant difference between low and high. As for steering feel, well, there's not much -- at least for my tastes. Still, it's a cool feature and I hope to see it in other cars.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Heater Gag

June 29, 2011

volvo_heat.jpg I was recently driving our Volvo S60 and noticed I was getting a serious case of swass. It wasn't hot out, the sun wasn't shining on me and yes, I had the AC on. For the longest time I couldn't tell if this car had seat heaters until there it was: the very subtle button integrated into the drivers side temp dial.

A seat heater to me is used every so often, not just every minute in the car. The switch and the display that shows it's on are separated by a good enough distance so it's easy to miss that it's on until you get your butt roasted. I guess I'd prefer a switch with a light or some kind of dial to have a tactile affirmation or its function.

I know this is a very minor complaint overall. I'd prefer to have something simple over slick.But this feature does open the doors to playing the ol' seat heater gag on every subsequent driver of the Volvo. I'll have to pay attention to this.

Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr, Photography

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: A Macro Look at Interior Materials

June 28, 2011


I'm not crazy about the metallic orange of our new 2012 Volvo S60 T5's exterior but I love its interior which isn't as living room comfortable as our 2010 Volvo XC60's but still pretty plush. Our S60 T5 is priced at a little over $41K, do you think that's reflected in its interior materials?

Here are some "macro" (photography lingo for "close-up") shots for your perusal.

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Video Walkaround

June 28, 2011

Here's a video walkaround of the exterior and interior of our new orange 2012 Volvo S60.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Volvo S60: You Call That An Air Conditioner?

June 27, 2011


Summer has finally arrived in the South Bay. Normally this time of year, we get beset with June Gloom. It's cloudy and chilly in the morning and sometimes it takes well into the afternoon before it burns off and you see the sun.

Well this weekend was different. I was running errands as early at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning and it was already sunny and warm. By noon it was downright hot. A beautiful Southern California day.

I had two more stops to make between noon and 1:00 p.m. and was forced to park in the sun at both locations. The Volvo with its lovely black interior gets hot very quickly.

The air conditioner is weak. It only cools the car when you have the fan cranked up to a ridiculously loud level. And it doesn't have enough vents for the driver. There is one left of the gauges which you can direct at your face. But there isn't one on the right. In the middle there is one wide vent that you can't adjust far enough left to cool the driver. I was quite miserable driving around in the sun.

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