2014 Volvo S60 Review
Car Tested: 2014 Volvo S60 D4 Diesel
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 41,07,332/-
The Volvo S60 looks the part and feels premium while offering good driving pleasure.
The Volvo brand of cars has been around in India for quite some time now and is assumed to be an underdog in our country, where people hanker after the fancy German trios. However, the fight has always been about the volumes in India instead of the desirability quotient or even the brand value. Amidst the partisanship of these shiny badges, Volvo has gradually evolved as a desirable brand for some. Last year we drove the Volvo V40 Cross Country and were thoroughly impressed by the car in almost every aspect. This time we get our hands on the updated Volvo S60 and explore the variations.
Motor Quest: The Volvo Group was founded in 1927, when the first Volvo car rolled off the production line. The Volvo S60 was first introduced in 2000 based on the Volvo P2 platform. After several refreshes, the second generation of the Volvo S60 was introduced in 2010, which recently got updated for 2014.
Exteriors – Volvo has done a smart job in sprucing up the exteriors of the S60. If you notice, the design remains intact compared to the pre-facelift version but the subtle revisions on the nose makes it look mature and modern. For instance, the grille gets wider with a pronounced Volvo badge and the headlamps are now sleeker, getting rid of the additional strips of LED daytime running lights. Now the DRLs are placed neatly on the revised bumper that features new black and chrome elements on the chin. These little changes have made the front profile aggressive and sometimes reminiscent of a snake face.
The Volvo S60 has a clean side profile that looks sporty at the same time with the smartly raked roofline and traditional Volvo shoulder line that gives the tail a curvy shape. We loved this particular theme of Passion Red colour and gun metal tone alloy wheels. Paint quality is superb and it grabbed a lot of attention on the roads of Delhi. At the rear you will find boomerang shaped tail lights and bold VOLVO lettering in the centre. The single side exhaust pipe is finished in chrome. In terms of styling, Vovlo has nailed it and the S60 can unabashedly boast its presence amongst the Germans.
Interiors – The Volvo S60 is a slightly low slung sedan and this is evident while you ingress. Once you are inside, you feel cocooned in the well built cabin that shouts quality from every panel you touch and see. However, the changes inside the cabin aren’t as drastic as on the exteriors and the centre console could have done with less buttons, which looks cluttered with extra buttons. The all-black theme you see here comes on the D4 SUMMUM variant, which is the middle variant that gets lesser features than the range topping D5, which gets a dual-tone beige and black interiors. We prefer the sporty all-black interiors on the D4 though.
The significant changes on the interiors are the addition of a new digital instrument cluster that we have seen on the Volvo V40 Cross Country. It has an active TFT display that offers three different graphic themes – Elegance, ECO and Performance. These are the small yet delightful features that make a car desirable. The steering is nice and chunky to hold, featuring all the necessary controls of the multimedia and cruise control systems. The infotainment system is easy to use and offers a plethora of settings to toggle with, including car, media, phone and safety settings. Audio system churns out crisp acoustics and fantastic quality of music.
The dual-zone climate control system is effectual and offers personalized air flow settings. There is a nice key slot and push button start mechanism, which is safe and works flawlessly. The automatic gear lever is now shorter and slick, which gets a short throw of light from the roof when it’s dark, neat! The updated Volvo S60 gets new sport seats, which are extremely supportive and well cushioned. Both front seats are electrically adjustable, while the driver seat gets memory function as well. Space is ample inside the cabin, which doesn’t seem so because of the dark colour tones used. However, if you want some natural light inside, there is a wide sunroof. Legroom is sufficient at the rear with proper supportive seats and B-pillar mounted air vents but the middle passenger would feel a bit squeezed. There is a manual sunshade for the rear windscreen, which is a bit cumbersome to use. The boot is accommodating but has no spare wheel, instead a Continental tyre repair kit (more on this later).
Performance – Powering the Volvo S60 are two diesel engine options – 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre 5-cylinder units. The range topping S60 D5 comes with the 2.5-litre diesel unit, while the D4 variant that we had features a 2.0-litre motor producing 163 HP of power at 3500 RPM with 400 Nm of torque between 1500-2750 RPM. The engine feel is creamy and rich with the power being delivered in a linear manner without any inconsistent lag or boost of power. NVH inside the cabin is excellent but diesel clatter is quite loud when heard from the outside. It redlines smoothly upto 5000 RPM. However, the power fades a little at the top-end, it’s the brawny 400 Nm of torque that pulls strongly in the mid-range, so much so that there is a hint of torque steer when accelerating hard. 0-100 km/hr is achieved in 9.2 seconds.
Mated to the 2.0-litre oil burner is a 6-speed automatic torque converter transmission. It is best described as a regular gearbox that does its job normally. It’s not laggy but at the same time, it’s not lightning fast either. Gentle throttle input means early shifts, press it hard, it takes a second to downshift and keeps the gear a bit longer. Sports mode will also be described as it has to be, redlines in each gear but takes a tad more time to upshift. We enjoyed the transmission best with manual mode, which is relatively fast but paddle shifts would have been more convenient. The engine is relaxed around 1700 RPM at 100 km/hr in 6th gear. We got 8.62 km/l of fuel mileage in our enthusiastic run, which is impressive.
Driving Dynamics – People say, don’t judge a car solely on its styling. However, in the case of Volvo S60, it is as dynamically sound as it is visually polished. The solid and planted feeling you get on a European car is very much there. At high speeds the S60 rides flat and confident, while at slow speeds it swallows the undulations but if you hit a very rough patch, it is sharply felt because of the low profile 235/40/R18 tyres. The Volvo S60 is a front-wheel drive sedan unlike most of its rivals but handling is sharp and predictable with minimal body roll and quick response.
The steering feedback doesn’t have that fun factor as it is inconsistent at medium speeds. It’s a tad bit heavy to our liking at parking speeds, gets lighter as we move on and weighs up precisely at high speeds. So the variations in between makes it inconsistent and it feels average on winding roads. With all the celebrated safety equipment of Volvo on-board, you are unlikely to go out of control on the S60. Braking performance is phenomenal with crisp brake pedal bite.
Safety – The safety obsessed brand never fails to impress in terms of the safety equipment offered, even with basic trim levels. The Volvo S60 comes with Volvo City Safety feature that prevents collision by applying brakes itself with the help of sensors up to 50 km/hr speed. Other features include Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC), Advanced Stability Control (ASC), Corner Traction Control (CTC), Engine Drag Control (EDC), Dual stage driver and front passenger airbags, ABS with emergency brake assist, active bending lights and unlimited list of such safety tech.
Tyre Repair Kit – Now let’s discuss about the Continental tyre repair safety kit we mentioned earlier. Since it has no spare wheel or run flat tyres for that matter, what do we do if the tyres go flat? We had a flat rear tyre while testing the car on the outskirts of Delhi, where repair shops were difficult to find. We had no choice but to use the repair kit, which comes with a compact compressor and sealant bottle. It’s simple and quick, screw the sealant bottle onto the compressor, connect the hose to the valve of the tyre, while the power is sourced from the socket inside the car. Now switch it on and the compressor fills air along with the sealant inside the tyre. Within six minutes our tyre was up and about with the sealed puncture. However, you should now limit your speed to 80 km/hr and soon get the tyre repaired properly.
Verdict – The Volvo S60 offers a stellar package in a distinctive manner despite being a CBU import in India. Arriving in style is what matters significantly in this segment, which the Volvo definitely provides. You have a choice of having luxurious or sporty interiors on the S60 with commendable quality. Then there is the unbeatable safety and modern tech that the Swedish sedan has to offer. The 2.0-litre diesel offers decent performance but the 2.5-litre is more responsive. Steering feedback is nowhere close to the Bavarian but the ride and handling balance is worth appreciating. All in all, the Volvo S60 is a potent alternative to the German trios and those of you who want to stand out of the crowd, this Scandinavian lady is your ideal companion.
The overall package of the Volvo S60 is desirable but the lack of wide presence in India makes it a slow seller. Volvo only needs to work on its marketing and dealership network as their cars are very capable.
* Appealing Looks
* Solid Interior Quality
* Balanced Dynamics
What’s Not So Cool
* Steering Feedback
* Cluttered Centre Console
2014 Volvo S60 Specifications
* Engine: 1984cc, 5-cylinder
* Power: 163 HP @ 3500 RPM
* Torque: 400 Nm @ 1500-2750 RPM
* Transmission: 6-speed Automatic
* 0-100 km/hr: 9.2 seconds
* Top Speed: 215 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 9 km/l (City), 12 km/l (Highway)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: MacPherson Struts (Front), Multi Link (Rear)
* Tyres: 235/40/18
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Ventilated Disc (Rear)
* Safety: Volvo City Safety, Airbags, ABS, Brake Assist, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC), Advanced Stability Control (ASC), Corner Traction Control (CTC), Engine Drag Control (EDC), Torque Vectoring Control
2014 Volvo S60 Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 4635 mm X 1825 mm X 1484 mm
* Wheelbase: 2776 mm
* Turning Radius: 5.6 metres
* Ground clearance: 130 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 67.5 litres
* Kerb Weight: 1665 kgs