2015 Volvo S60: Exploring Divided Opinion in 700 Miles
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on October 29, 2015
After reading Scott Oldham's recent regret update about taking our 2015 Volvo S60 on a road trip to northern California, I began to have my doubts. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to head out with my wife and two small children on a 700-mile road trip to visit my in-laws over a weekend.
But I was already booked for the car and figured, if nothing else, the drive would give me an opportunity to expand on our previous updates.
I wrote an earlier post about the S60's adequate rear seat space. That opinion held up after making the drive with my two kids in booster seats. They had enough legroom, and they used the fold-down center armrest (with cupholders) as a sort of "He's touching me!" demilitarized zone. The rear door pillar-mounted air vents must have also worked well since I didn't hear any complaints about being too hot.
We left on a Friday afternoon and returned Sunday afternoon, so the trip was short. That helped cut down on the stuff we needed to bring. We haven't written much on our S60's trunk other than how it carries grocery bags, so here's a photo of the 12-cubic foot trunk with a couple of small suitcases, a cooler, a duffle bag, a PC laptop bag and a few other miscellaneous items.
The covered trunk lid hinges mean no chance of crushed luggage (also, let it be known that no family road trip is complete without a purple unicorn stuffed animal.)
Scott mentioned three main things he found uncomfortable: the driver seat, the door-mounted armrest and the S60's ride quality. We've already covered the driver seat in other updates (for example, Ed Hellwig liked it, Mike Magrath didn't). Personally, I find the seat's comfort to be OK, but nothing more. I agree with Scott that the armrest is overly hard for a luxury-branded vehicle.
As for ride quality, that's an interesting one. Erin Riches wrote recently how she thought our S60 is "superbly comfy" over most roads. On this drive, my family seemed fine and could sleep at various points, but I noticed how our S60 gets a bit "clompy" over broken pavement at highway speeds. This could be what Scott was referring to.
There seems to be some differing staff opinion here, but my takeaway is that for a car without an adaptive suspension, the S60 strikes an agreeable balance of ride comfort and front-wheel-drive sportiness.
I do like the supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Put it in Sport mode or click off a few downshifts using the paddle shifters to boost the revs, and then mat the gas. The Volvo whooshes forward with authority. It's great for quickly getting up to speed on highway entrance ramps or passing dawdling motorists.
As we've reported these past few months, fuel economy remains below EPA estimates. I averaged 29.6 mpg over approximately 700 miles of driving. The EPA estimate is 35 mpg highway. But considering my speeds (typically 70 mph-plus) and frequent use of air-conditioning, getting 30 mpg from a 302-hp sedan is still respectable in my book. Also, the S60 has a useful amount of range. I got almost 450 miles out of one tank, our farthest yet.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor