2012 Volvo S60 Long-Term Road Test - Audio & Technology

2012 Volvo S60 Long-Term Road Test

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: How To Save Your Favorite Song

May 28, 2012

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OK, this isn't so much about our 2012 Volvo S60 T5 as it is its Sirius radio. While on a roadtrip with the Volvo I realized that it has that nifty option of saving songs to memory so that the next time it pops up somewhere on Sirius, it'll tell you where so you can switch over and catch your favorite song. If you've ever switched over to a station only to find it playing the very last notes of your fave block rocking beat, then you know how cool this is.

None of the other editors used this feature so there were no songs saved to the list so I decided to start my own. Didn't go too crazy with it, though, since it's not my car but wanted to see how it worked.

It was easy enough to save songs to the list. When your song is playing, hit "OK/Menu" to get the above screen. Then click on "Song memory" to get the "Add a song" option. Simple!

The only problem I found was that when adding songs from the decades stations...

...it'll save the song title along with the year the song came out in parentheses. This means that even when your song is playing on a different station, it won't play it since the title isn't the exact same way.

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Adjustable

May 22, 2012


When our S60 arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many adjustments you could make. Almost a full year later, the surprises keep rolling in.

Besides the usual audio levels (bass, treble, balance and fader), which is quickly accessed by pressing the lower half of the volume/power dial, more in-depth audio adjustments are available in the menu. To be specific, there's a five-band graphic equalizer for the picky listener.

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Nav Glitch?

May 22, 2012

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It's no secret how much I dislike our 2012 Volvo S60 T5's navigation system. Its lack of information frustrates me. But when I routed out the trip back to L.A. from Sacramento and it came back at me with the above estimate, well, suffice it to say the nav system is now dead to me.

For comparison's sake, Google Maps estimates the trip is 370 miles and would take 6 hours and 8 minutes to make. I'm guessing the nav calculated roundtrip for some reason.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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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: Spot Pricing

February 14, 2012

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I hadn't taken our Volvo in several weeks and did a quick survey of its safety features as I drove home yesterday afternoon. The distance alert and lane departure warning features have their own buttons, which I turned on just for fun. The distance alert was set a little too generously for me, but I was too lazy to adjust it on the fly, so I turned it off. I'm not much of a lane-drifter, so that went, too.

One feature that I have carped about in other cars but which can actually be useful sometimes is a blind spot warning system. It's in our long-term Mazda 3, Ford Explorer and Nissan Quest (and maybe some other test cars that I'm overlooking). I looked for it in the Volvo, but ours doesn't have the feature. I think that's odd: Blind spotting seems like it should be standard in a Volvo -- particularly one that's so laden with other safety goodies.

It turns out that "preventive safety" features are bundled into what's called the Technology Package (MSRP: $2,100). (Maybe you have to call it a Technology Package to justify the price. If you called it the Safety Package, perhaps buyers would wonder why the stuff wasn't standard.)

The package includes collision warning and pedestrian detection with full auto brake; adaptive cruise control with "queue assist;" distance alert; driver alert control and lane departure warning.

The blind spot system isn't part of that offering. On its Web site, Volvo doesn't even list it as a safety feature. It's merely an a la carte "Driver Support" feature. MSRP is $700.

It seems to me that a blind-spot warning is unequivocally a safety feature. Why isn't it wrapped in with the other preventive safety systems in the Technology Package? Would it have pushed the cost of safety too close to the $3,000 threshold?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @13,288 miles

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Swedish Grumpypants

January 13, 2012

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Who is the Snake Doctor and why does the S60 keep searching for him?

Seems our staff cobra tamer A. Austria has duly charmed the S60. After I bumped the Doctor from the paired phones list (can't bump a mobile handle that pays homage to a pretty good Van Hagar album, after all), the S60 refused to find my phone. And I mean flat out refused.

Even after trying all combinations of shutting off the ignition, exiting the car, locking/unlocking, and even cycling my phone off and on a couple of times, the S60 would not find my phone.

Instead, it first searched for Snake Doctor -- last charmer in the driver's seat, apparently -- then looked for previously connected devices, then urged me to ensure that my phone was discoverable. I've paired my phone -- a 3G iPhone that runs on kerosene -- with the S60 before, no problem. Not this time. Thus ensued a quick spiral into a Bluetooth rabbit hole: checking the manual, deleting other phones, pairing the phone with another car to rule out a hardware issue.

This continued for 30 minutes. The first 15 minutes, I felt it was something of a job responsibility to try and get to the bottom of the issue. The next 15 minutes were pure mindless, irrational focus on a trivial matter. And when no apparent answer presented itself, I drove the S60 home in a funk, disliking it intensely. Lumbar's too aggressive. Engine's too loud. Too many stupid esoteric controls and switches. A dumb, lumpy 3-Series pretender.

All was forgotten after a good night's sleep. Next morning, the neighbor said how much she liked the color. The engine fired up with its distant shake and clatter that always makes me think it’s a diesel. It's a sound that indicates the engine is ready to do some work for you. In the end, I never did figure out the issue. The phone would still not pair the next morning. And it was still looking for that hack physician.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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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: A Few Steps Behind

November 04, 2011


A lot of cars today have built-in delays in some way. Our Volvo has a few, but fortunately, it has nothing to do with steering or throttle tip-in.

I first noticed a delay between the time I hit the button to skip a track on the iPod. It took a good seven seconds or so for the current song to cut out and the next one to start; a little irritating, but certainly not the end of the world.

But when an idiot driver in the opposite direction turned left right in front of me, then hit their brakes halfway through the turn, I noticed another delay. I swerved out of the way, laid on the horn and had my finger out if its holster by the time the City Safe/collision alert lights and sirens went off. I looked in my mirrors and figured that this "talented" motorist decided part-way through the turn to make it a U-turn. But really, I would've expected the collision alert system to have activated when the other car was directly in front of the Volvo.

It just goes to show that you should never rely on these systems. An alert driver behind the wheel is still the best feature.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor

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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: 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: Extra Safety Features

September 12, 2011


On the family road trip I did last week, I ended up driving back to my house pretty late at night for the return leg. It had already been a long day, and, yeah, I was tired. My family was asleep in the car. So it was up to me to ensure a safe return. I had an energy drink with me if I needed it but I also figured there wouldn't be any harm in clicking on the S60's extra safety features: lane departure, collision warning/braking and a drowsiness monitor.

Lane departure has a dedicated button on the dash, but the others have to be activated through the car's on-screen menu structure. Of the three, lane departure was the only one to activate on my drive -- one time I changed lanes without using the turn indicator and it didn't like that, and one time I drifted a bit too much in the lane, and I got a warning. Of course, had the collision warning or drowsiness monitor actually gone off, I would have probably been in worse shape.

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: World Wide Web-Like Display

September 01, 2011

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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: Personal Car Communicator (i.e. Key Fob)

August 22, 2011

I meant to post this last week when I had the Volvo S60 T5, but it got away from me. Warren's post on the Fiat 500's key fob reminded me. Okay, so I understand lock, unlock, approach lights, trunk release, and panic, but what's "i" about? I R'd TFM, and learned a few things this fob does that I haven't seen others do.

If you want a curiously British-accented explanation, you may follow this link and click on the Personal Car Communicator Instructional video. For those of you who don't care for flash video, here's a page out of the Volvo's manual.

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: The Drive Home

August 11, 2011

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I drove our long-term 2012 Volvo S60 T5 to Yountville and back (some 862 miles) for a First Drive of the forthcoming 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design I showed you here. For a few more snap-shots (that are meant to be saturated and artsy, thank you) plus the final fuel tally, click past the jump.

I left Yountville with a full tank of premium,

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: Road Trip

August 09, 2011

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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: 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: 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

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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: Audiobooks and Classical Music

June 30, 2011

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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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