This week we have the Volvo S60 D3 SE Lux Nav with Geartronic automatic gearbox in for review and road test. Is the Volvo S60 still a viable option?
When you think of cars in the same segment as the Volvo S60, the ones that spring to mind are the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4 (and now the Jaguar XE) in the ‘Premium’ sector, and cars like Ford’s Mondeo in the mainstream bracket.
But the Volvo S60, particularly the model we have in this week for review – the Volvo S60 D3 SE Lux Nav Geartronic – has enough credibility to be considered alongside the German trio of Premium cars, and does feel a notch above the more mainstream offerings.
So this week we get to play at being DCI Barnaby (thanks to Volvo’s clever placements in Midsomer Murders), in a car that perhaps doesn’t appeal to the ‘flash’ lovers, but does appeal to middle England and its desire for something more understated than the Germans offer, but which still has more kudos than a mainstream model.
Volvo S60 D3 SE Lux Nav – inside and out
Despite the S60 going up against offerings that are far newer, the now seven-year old S60 still looks pretty good, thanks in no small part to Volvo’s sensible updates in recent years including new headlights, LED running lights and tweaked grille at the front, and re-defined lines, which have conspired to make the S60 look a little bolder and more modern.
That said, it doesn’t quite have the kerbside appeal of the Germans or the new XE, but it still looks contemporary in a very non-confrontational way. And it feels well bolted together.
Inside, the S60 still makes do with what was the state of the art Volvo interior before the XC90 and S90 arrived, which means a floating console with lots of buttons, a digital dashboard that’s clear and informative and very comfortable seats.
There’s a decent amount of room too, with even six-footers having enough room in the back, although the middle seat at the back is best for little ‘uns or short journeys. The boot is a reasonable one too, although not exactly class leading.
As an SE Lux Nav model, this S60 comes with plenty of toys, but that hasn’t stopped Volvo speccing our car up to make it an even more appealing place to be.
So thanks to the Winter Illumination Pack (£675 – details below) we get not just lovely leather seats, but heated too, a heated front screen, active bending Xenons, Headlight cleaners, heated washers, and some theatre lighting.
It all adds up to a car that looks suitably premium, is quiet and comfortable and very well-equipped.
Volvo S60 D3 SE Lux Nav – Performance on the Road
The joy of the S60 now comes from the very able new range of 2.0 litre Drive-E engines, with this D3 version getting the 150PS version and the six-speed Geartronic automatic gearbox (an extra £1,485). Volvo has also fitted our car with the Lowered Sports Chassis (£500) and a set of flappy paddles (£150).
But for us, the S60 is more about cruising around in comfort than trying to pretend you have an outrageously dynamic chassis to play with. Not that there’s anything wrong with the S60’s dynamics, it’s just they don’t feel like they’ve been ‘honed’ on the Nurburgring. Which is arguably a very good thing.
But the sports chassis does make the ride a bit firmer – although it still deals with poor road well – and the gearbox is definitely best left to its own devices, rather than knocking it in to sport or playing with the paddles.
If you leave it to its own devices, the S60 makes good progress, corners without fuss or drama – or any major roll – and just gets on with delivering you where you’re going in comfort and without any strain.
Thanks to the latest Geartronic ‘box, the performance of the S60 D3 isn’t harmed, so it’ll get to 62mph in 9.0 seconds (the same as the manual) – and feel lively thanks to decent torque – although economy and emissions suffer a bit compared the the manual version at 67.3mpg and 110g/km.
As you’d expect, the S60 comes with a mighty list of safety acronyms as standard, but we have extra toys thanks to the Driver Support Pack (£1,900) on this car which includes collision warning with full auto brake, pedestrian and cyclist detection, Adaptive Cruise, Queue Assist, Lane Keeping Aid, Driver Alert Control, Active High Beam, Road Sign Information and Blind Spot Information with Cross Traffic Alert.
And what’s more, if you let the car do its things, it all works absolutely seamlessly.
Volvo S60 D3 SE Lux Nav – Verdict
There’s a lot to really like about the S60, and little to complain about.
The new Drive-E engines are a big step forward, they’re more eager, less polluting and more frugal than the previous engines were, and although the interior is starting to look a bit dated, it’s still a very nice place to be.
There’s also no question that the S60 is a viable alternative to the Germans and the new Jaguar XE, although it’s clear there’s a very different demographic target at play for the Swedes.
That demographic takes us back to Middle England and Midsomer Murders, where a huge chunk of the car buying public don’t want a flash German car (or even a flash British one) but prefer something that does all they want, with a decent badge, lots of comfort, proper green credentials, great build quality and lots of safety features.
And if you fit in to that demographic, then the S60 is still a car to appeal, even if it’s now getting to the end of its shelf life.
Volvo S60 D3 SE Lux Nav Geartronic Quick Specs
- Engine: 1969cc, 148bhp
- Performance: 0-62mph 9.0 seconds / Top Speed 134mph
- Economy: 67.3mpg – Official / 49.3mpg – Test
- Emissions: 110g/km
- Price: £30,895 / Price as tested £41,105
- Test car supplied by Volvo UK
Volvo S60 D3 SE Lux Nav test car options
Driver Support Pack – £1,900
- Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake
- Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection
- Adaptive Cruse Control (ACC) and Distance Alert
- Queue Assist
- Lane Keeping Aid
- Driver Alert Control (DAC) with Active High Beam
- Road Sign Information Display
- Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA)
Winter Illumination Pack – £675
- Heated Front Seats
- Heated Front Windscreen
- Active Bending Xenon Headlights
- Headlight Cleaning System
- Heated Washer Nozzles
- Autodimming Interior & Exterior Mirrors
- Rear TheatreLights, Front Door Pocket, Side Step and Front Cupholder Illumination
Security Pack – £700
- Keyless Drive (includes Keyless Entry and Keyless Start)
- Personal Car Communicator
- Laminated Windows
- Water Repellent Front Side Windows
- 6-speed Geartronic Transmission Start/Stop (not D4 FWD, std D4 AWD) £1,485
- 19” Portia (Diamond Cut/Glossy Black) with 235/40 Tyres £1,325
- Power Glass Tilt and Slide Sunroof £850
- Metallic Paint £625
- Park Assist Pilot (includes Front & Rear Park Assist) £525
- Sensus Connect with Premium Sound by Harmon Kardon £500
- Lowered Sports Chassis £500
- Volvo On Call with App £450
- Rear Park Assist Camera £375
- Gear Shift Paddles (Geartronic only) £150
- Tempa Spare Wheel and Jack £150