Volvo S60 2001 review
Any lingering thoughts that Volvos are designed exclusively for aging motorists have been comprehensively dispatched by the brilliant new S60 series.
It’s probably the best yet from the Swedish company.
The average age of buyers will probably still be high because retail prices start around $57,000, but the car has the looks, performance and features to appeal to a wide spectrum of buyers.
The elegant styling does not detract from the usual Volvo virtues, which include practicality, easy access to the rear seats and superb safety engineering.
The S60 isn’t quite a replacement for the S70 and, although it shares many mechanical features, it’s totally different and far more exciting than that car. Big brother S80 is larger than the old S70.
Lower and shorter, it sits on a reduced wheelbase.
It comes in three models – the 2.4 ($56,000), light-pressure turbo 2.4 T ($63,000) and potent T5, priced at $81,000 plus on-road costs.
The engines develop 125 kW, 147 kW and 184 kW and can accelerate a manual car from rest to 100 km/h in 8.7 seconds, 7.6 seconds or 7.0 seconds respectively.
It also has a tight turning circle, excellent driver visibility, wide door openings, fully adjustable steering column and a low loading lip.
Only one fault emerged. On the test car at least, the handbrake was found to be ineffective on steep hills.
The door bins are small but handy net pockets are attached to the lower front of both front seats.
The roomy interior has similar passenger space to the out-going S70 but, despite the lower roofline, it offers even more rear headroom.
The split rear seat incorporates a ski hatch and either of its sides can be locked from inside the boot. They fold quickly, creating a flat floor nearly 1.9 metres long.
Even without this extension, the boot accepts a huge amount of luggage but lacks a luggage restraining net.
The S60 can be ordered with a manual transmission, though most buyers pay an extra $2,000 for the five-speed Geartronic which combines the advantages of a manual shift with a full automatic mode for congested traffic.
The S60 has virtually all known safety devices, including concealed side curtains that inflate to protect the occupants during a T-bone collision.
In a first for Volvo, the top S60 variant – the T5 driven for this review – has satellite navigation as standard.
Based on Mitsubishi technology, it’s the most comprehensive sat nav this writer has tried.
It guides the driver not just to a street but to the actual street number, if it’s a major street and has been mapped by the system.
It can also be used to find restaurants, post offices, Volvo dealers and other service businesses.
The CD software contains complete inner city maps of all Australian metropolitan areas, national highways and most of the eastern seaboard.
The T5 also has leather trim, power-adjusted front seats with memories, cruise control and climate-controlled air conditioning as standard.
Remote central door locking, engine immobiliser, power windows, six-speaker CD audio system and a trip computer are fitted.
With all models, the high power output translates into a smooth and lively performance that's relaxing on the highway and easily controllable.
The T5 has none of the raw power syndrome often found in turbo engines, though there is some turbo lag.
Sensibly driven, it uses around 9.4 litres per 100 km (30 miles per gallon) on the highway and 13.3 litres/100 km (21 mpg) around town.
The Volvo S60 is a great driver’s car and comes with a two-year warranty covering unlimited kilometres.