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Volvo S60 offers sensible luxury
By Arthur Pollock/ BostonHerald.com
Saturday, December 8, 2012


     
     The new Volvo S60 is a practical, sensible luxury car for those who don’t need the ego boost of driving one of Germany’s prestige models. It’s a good-looking, midsize sedan, sporty yet refined. Handsomely sculpted, it features an aggressive front end and stylish rims. A 250-horsepower turbo-charged engine makes it to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds, gaining a half-second this year. It’s also a five-cylinder engine, a bit of a rarity these days. It works well, though, with nearly the power of a six-cylinder and the fuel efficiency of a four-cylinder.
     
     The ride is smooth and quiet, with power to spare, though acceleration felt a bit sluggish. It comes as an automatic transmission with a sport mode, but no manual paddle shifters. Cornering felt secure thanks to stability traction control.
     
     Volvo has maintained its well-deserved reputation for safety, scoring high ratings in recent crash tests. It also comes equipped with City Safe, an auto brake system that works at low speeds, stopping the car when it senses a near collision. There are other numerous safety features such as collision warning system, blind spot alert, lane departure warning, rear camera and parking assist. Unfortunately, they are only available as pricey options. Given the price of the S60, it’s a little surprising that the backup camera does not come as standard equipment.
     
     My test car came with the Premier package ($2,000) which included keyless ignition/entry, sunroof, leather seats, power passenger seat and auto-dimming rearview mirror. It was also equipped with the Climate package ($700) which came with heated front seats, heated windshield and an active cabin filter. Add another $2,000 for All Wheel Drive.
     
     The seats were quite comfortable — a long trip would be a breeze. Fit and finish were top-notch with quality materials through and through. The rear seats fold down for extended cargo space and there’s even a pass-through via the rear seat’s center console for items like skis. I liked the nifty little switch that popped down the rear seat headrests for an unobstructed view out the rear window.
     
     The eight-speaker sound system was pretty good, but you won’t be blown away by it. The audio controls were not very well thought out — too many similar-looking knobs, too close together.
     
     There’s a nice seven-inch color monitor, but no standard navigation feature.
     
     The S60 is Volvo’s top-selling model. Sporty but not flashy, it compares favorably with the BMW 328xi, the Audi A4 Quattro and the Mercedes C300. The Swedes have given the Germans a run for their money with this understated luxury sedan.

( — carsmart@bostonherald.com )

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