Swedish simplicity shines in the Volvo S60

The Swedes’ have a natural affinity for clean, uncluttered design and this is clearly reflected in the lines and materials used in their cars. Swedish design tends to be simple and fuss-free and the result of this is reflected in the cabin design of the current crop of Volvo models, which make you feel relaxed as soon as you sit in their cars. The materials may differ between the variants in each model, but even in this base model S60 T5 Momentum the plastics feel soft to touch and smell nice.

In Norse mythology Thor’s Hammer was seen as a symbol of the God of Thunder’s power. Forged by dwarfs and with a short handle the hammer was said to be able to level mountains and crush the heads of giants, but also was used in the blessing of births, marriages and funerals. What does this have to do with Volvos? Well the current headlight design on all Volvos was inspired by Thor’s Hammer and you could also say that Volvo Cars are currently flexing their power in the automotive world.     

The one area that does not differ regardless of which Volvo variant you purchase is the safety equipment that is included as standard. City Safety provides detection of collisions with braking and steering support. The Intellisafe Assist system includes Volvo’s adaptive cruise control and Pilot Assist and in my opinion the Pilot Assist system is one of the best currently available on any car. Intellisafe Surround provides blind spot assist with cross traffic alert, front and rear collision warning with warning support and emergency brake assist.

All S60 models come with frontal airbags, side impact protection system with airbags in the front seats, inflatable curtains and whiplash protection system. The S60 has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating with an Adult Protection Rating of 36.6 out of 38 (96%) and a Child Protection Rating of 43.2 out of 49 (88%).

All of these safety systems are wrapped up in a handsome looking sedan that is very comfortable to drive and nicely weighted steering. The S60 has good damping and regardless of which drive mode you chose to be in the ride quality is lovely.

The driver’s seat has full power adjustment with two memory positions and one-way lumbar support.  The passenger seat has manual forward/back adjustment and manual recline with a rotary adjuster and when my children saw me reclining the seat they were completely perplexed, I laughed and also explained that back in the ‘old days’ we even had to wind the windows down manually. The passenger seat does have power adjustment for seat height and one-way lumbar support. The front seats are not heated, could use a bit more side support and the leather accented seats are not as fined-grained as the more expensive models, but are they are comfortable none the less.

The base model S60 doesn’t have the Volvo premium sound system, so you can’t adjust you sound experience like in models higher up the food chain.  But it still comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and other apps including TuneIn, Spotify and Record and Send. Media options include AM/FM, DAB, Bluetooth, USB iPod and under the arm rest are two USB ports and a storage cubby with a removable rubber liner. The centre console has two cup holders; one contains a wireless key charger and in front a place for your phone with a 12V outlet and a ‘secret spot’ right at the front under a sliding cover.

My S60 was fitted the Technology Pack ($3,000 option) and this includes graphical head-up display that can be adjusted for content and position, 360o camera, LED headlights with active bending and interior ambient lighting that can be set either via temp or one of the seven standard colours.

All S60s come with digital driver’s display that can be customised and the 9” vertical infotainment touch screen display giving you access sat nav, phone setup, media options and numerous car settings.  One thing I hadn’t noticed you could do on the previous Volvos I had driven over the past few weeks was on third screen of the system where you can quick access options for car settings you press and hold the icons and move them so the options you use more often at the top of the screen.

The rear seats have enough head, leg and shoulder room for two adults to comfortably sit in the S60. For the children there are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but in reality there is only room for two car seats in the back. The centre seat folds down and has a shallow storage cubby, a storage ledge and two good-sized drink holders at the front of the arm rest. At the rear of the centre console is one 12V outlet and another small storage ledge. Climate control for rear passengers has speed control only and the vents are in the B-pillar. I had to fiddle with the front air control settings to push enough air into the back for the children. One issue in the back was standard sized drink bottles do not fit in the bottle storage area in the rear doors.

The Momentum has a manual closing boot, but it does have a button to lock the car when you close the boot. The boot is a good size and would fit a pram and the weekly shop with some creative packing. The rear seats have a 40/60 split and there is a door in the centre seat that you can open and stow long items. The boot has four tie downs points, two hooks and one 12V outlet. And you do get a space saver spare tyre something that is becoming a rare commodity in new cars.

The all-wheel drive S60 T5 Momentum has a 2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and 8-speed automatic adaptive geartronic transmission. The engine produces 187kW of power and 350Nm of torque and the S60 will do 0-100km/h in 6.4 seconds. The official combined fuel consumption is 7.3L/100km and for my week I used 8.3L/100km.   

All new Volvos come with a three year/unlimited km warranty, which includes 24 hour road side assistance. You can also purchase a service plan that covers scheduled servicing for the first three years or 45,000km, whichever comes first and for the petrol S60 models this costs $1,595.

The Volvo S60 range starts at $54,990 plus on-road costs for the T5 Momentum that I drove and as tested my S60 was $57,990 plus on-roads. The S60 is a premium sedan that has a simple yet stylish design inside and out that comes standard with the legendary Volvo safety features. Visit you preferred Volvo dealer to discover this Swedish icon for yourself.

You may be interested to know the location of these photos is a memorial between Balmoral and Hilltop in NSW that was erected as a tribute to the construction of part of a railway line that required the excavation of a deep sandstone cutting to traverse the countryside. A bushfire had gone through this area around two weeks prior to these photos being taken and already grass was reshooting.

Pros Cons
Safety technology fitted as standard More rear passenger ventilation is required
Nice use of materials and overall interior design Drink bottles do not fit in rear door cubby
Good ride quality Limited dealer network

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.