I kept my eye on the S60, since I needed a more 'corporate' car, coming out of my 2009 C30 I've loved for the last 3 years. The S60 hit all the marks: upscale, gorgeous inside and out; fun to drive and decent price/performance. Consumer Reports and the auto trade press seem to all like this car, and it scores well on the CR reliability ratings. I've had mine for about 2 weeks. This is the first time in about 30 years of purchasing cars that I've bought the same brand back-to-back. This car is a hit for Volvo.
Here's the deal, this car is a niche buy and tell you why. But first some background. My job is in the automotive electronics world, so working with car companies and design engineers is what I do 50 hours a week. What most engineers will tell you over dinner is that Volvo's have and do have the most solid design in the world. What that means is that they favor safety and long-term reliability over short-term aesthetics and performance. Here is where the problem begins. There are large segments of car buyers and this one fails to hit a big group. I'll get to that later. But here goes my personal review. This is an awesome car, but I'll give my 3 small criticisms. 1. The backseat. There are no 2 ways around this. The backseat is comfortable but insanely small. If you're over 5ft 8 inches, people will be uncomfortable sitting behind you. 2. The instrument cluster/infotainment. The speedometer takes a little getting used to. I'd expect a digital one to be honest, but you don't get it here. Can't say why its off a little, but its a minor annoyance. 3. Front seats. This is really dependent on the person. I'm 6ft 5in, so I'm a big guy. This car has really nice, comfortable seats, but they sit low and the whole car has kind of a low profile. For the extra long trips, comfort is a bit of an issue. But this is really just a big person problem. My wife and brother in law have driven it long distances as normal sized people in great comfort. Now the good. Where do I start. I have the AWD version and live in Minnesota, so you can do the math of how much fun you have when you mix a turbo with AWD in the snow. But that's not unique to this car. What is unique is the build itself. What you'll find when you drive european cars like this is that they just feel tight, from the suspension to the steering. But the S60 has an extra feeling of being just solid and that doesn't wear off. If you care to do so, just open the hood or go underneath it. I've done a little work myself and can tell you that they are meticulously well built and designed. There is a really rugged simplicity to them. the car is sport, quick and responsive. Don't believe reviewers that tell you otherwise. Simply google the 0-60 and other tests, it performs well. This is where it begins to distance itself from the Audi's and BMWs. These Volvos are best bought by people that plan to own them for a while. the target market is someone who wants a nice European style sedan with Japanese reliability. I've only had to have on repair done and it was the electronic parking brake motor (under warranty). But I can tell you that the repair bills will be nowhere near that of its European cousins, but will be higher than an American or Japanese car. The bottom line is that no matter what you hear or are told by Audi fanboys and the like, the S60 is a better car if you care about long term reliability and affordability. You may get a little more short term spunk from the Audi and BMW counterparts, but the only other place you'll get more is the price tag and the repair bill. There has been a ton of market research on this point and there is a significant segment of the population that buys European cars in this price range. That segment is men, ages 25-40. The main reason they buy them is the name recognition and status. The problem for Volvo is that Audi, BMW and to some extent VW own this space almost completely. There are 2 companies trying to crack that market. Cadillac, with their ATS and Volvo with the S60. Both a failing for the most part. The reason is that they don't have 4 rings or a blue and white badge on the grill. Long review, but I feel this car deserves it. Don't fall victim to the popularity contest. In this class of cars, this is the smart person's choice.
Since 1996 IÂ’ve owned various new A4Â’s, an A6 and A3 (IÂ’ve always preferred AudiÂ’s over BMWÂ’s and Mercedes and never considered VOLVO). In short, after test driving a 2013 S60 T5, Â“it was a no brainerÂ” I went ahead and leased it on the spot (it was that easy).
Only about 400 miles on the car so far, so still breaking it in. The car is smooth and very comfortable, and I'm enjoying the T5's engine, which has better and smoother pickup than the VW EOS I traded in. For the money, I don't think there is a car on the road with more comfortable seats than the Volvo. The infotainment system is pretty intuitive. There is a bit of wind noise in the cabin. So far getting 23 MPG on regular, which should improve a bit when broken in. The sales staff at Maroone/AutoNation Volvo in Delray Beach were easy to work with, and very accomodating when I had to factory order the car to get the ext/int combination I wanted. I also got a very fair deal & trade.
In the last three years I have had an Audi A4 quatrro and a Buick Regal GS, and this car is superior to both of them. The seats are the best that I have ever had, and the 6 cylinder turbo is powerful, and runs on regular fuel. Unlike the same feature in many other cars, the Sport mode enhances performance considerably. It is quiet, smooth, and much faster than I had expected. Mileage tends to average about 32 mpg on the highway, which is not outstanding but adequate. Interior and exterior styling is restrained and elegant, and the layout for all controls is excellent. I don't understand why I feel so few of these cars on the street.