Volvo has always been at the forefront of automotive innovation excellence when it comes to producing a vehicle that is creatively designed, loaded with technology, and comfortable, while still being fun to drive.
A few weeks ago, Volvo launched the new S60 that met all these categories and more. Having the good fortune to test drive such a vehicle through the Cascades Mountains offered me just the opportunity to see if this new S60 was up to the acclaim already given by automotive engineers.
Up front, under a high-brow friendly front end, rested a 330 HP six-cylinder engine that placed 325 lb-ft of torque under the hood. It had as much pep as most eights, yet had the gas consumption appetite of its 3.0-liter turbocharged personality. It went 50 to 90 mph in an instant while getting 18 mpg in the city, with 26 mpg projected on the highway. ‘’
Driving steep and often narrow mountain roads and challenging valley straight-aways with curves that came unexpectedly gave me a good idea how the S60 would handle under most driving conditions. As I drove I smiled from hill to dell, and rarely wanted to stop and enjoy the majestic mountains. It was just easier to drive the road of stealth with the windows down, enjoying the warmth of the day and the smells from the forest.
Volvo recognizes the variety of choices for the consumer. That is why the S60 is offered in three completely different chassis choices. I had the good fortune to drive all three. A Touring, a Four-C, and a Dynamic are available in North America. Both the Dynamic and the Touring are no cost optional, while the 4-C is an additional cost to the base model.
Although Volvo appears to have improved the appearance from previous models, their focus on new and improved technology has been enhanced all the more. The S60 is equipped with a radar and camera-based pedestrian-detection system. If someone walks into the vehicle’s path and the driver doesn’t react to the danger, the vehicle reacts by activating the vehicle’s full braking power. The system is completely operational up to 22 mph.
I found it difficult to trust the system at first and always placed my foot on the brake before impact. Finally, I just shut my eyes and let the technology work. And it did! Another feature is the BLIS, the blind spot information system. It notifies the driver when another vehicle is in their blind spot, allowing the driver time to return to the original lane for safety rather than going ahead and making an unsafe lane change. Other features include Bluetooth free-hands safety for the phone usage system, a voice-activated navigation system, and an entertainment system that can be accessed with thumb movements on the steering wheel.
The S60 sells at a competitive price of $37,700.
Good mileage, comfortable ride, great inside and outside appearance, and an affordable price make the Volvo S60 a real competitor for the new automotive season.
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or at email@example.com.