2017 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Premier Road Test Review

 Copyright: Canadian Auto Press Inc.

Strong performer is big on comfort and luxury 

The Volvo S60 is a handsome car, with a clean, uncluttered and especially aerodynamic design. Its sleek outer styling is devoid of gimmicks, appearing more like a four-door coupe than anything upright and sedan-like, yet once inside you'll be treated to a very accommodating, lavishly equipped, wonderfully comfortable cabin.

Most eyes will immediately gravitate toward the unique floating centre stack, a particularly attractive design element filled with quality switchgear that reminds me of high-end hi-fi equipment. It's all positioned to make a lot of sense once acclimatized, especially the HVAC interface that's basically a body pictograph.


A beautifully finished highly refined interior 

Above that is a fully featured infotainment system with nice graphics and strong contrast for good depth of colour. My tester's featured a very clear backup camera with active guidelines as well as accurate standard navigation with detailed mapping, plus there are loads of other features for wirelessly hooking up your smartphone, adjusting car settings, etcetera.

Even more impressive is the S60's fully configurable primary gauge cluster. Volvo was early to adopt this feature, which is now becoming more prevalent in competitors' higher trims, and they did a very good job on this one. Its resolution quality is extremely good and the layout is both attractive and highly legible.


No matter the trim level the S60 delivers an upscale environment with superb attention to detail, very high quality padded soft synthetic surface treatments, tastefully applied satin-finished and brushed metals, and some of the best seats in the car industry. They're upgraded to sport seats in T6 trim, and covered in high-grade leather with attractive contrast stitching around their edges, as are the door inserts and armrests.


An impressive level of standard features 

Choosing the $47,350 T6 ($8,550 pricier than the base T5 FWD) means that Premier trim comes standard, its finery including proximity-sensing keyless access, stainless treadplates with embossed "VOLVO" branding, pushbutton ignition, an electromechanical parking brake, a tilt and telescopic leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, a leather and metal shift knob, rain-sensing wipers, a heatable windshield, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, Sensus infotainment, voice-recognition, navigation, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, satellite radio, power-adjustable heated front seats with three-way memory, "Sport" leather upholstery in no-cost optional "Off-Black", "Beechwood" or "Soft Beige", a powered glass sunroof, emergency "SOS" telematics, plus 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks and a centre pass-through for expanding the sizeable trunk.


Additionally, the S60 T6's exterior gets auto on/off HID headlamps, LED daytime running lights, LED fog lamps, LED turn signals integrated into the side mirror housings, attractive machine-finish 18-inch alloys on 235/40 all-seasons, Volvo City Safety pedestrian and/or cyclist detection with autonomous emergency braking, loads of additional active and passive safety features, and more.


The options menu should suit any premium buyer's tastes 

The Bright Silver Metallic paint is an extra $900, while the dual HID headlamps with active cornering and headlight washers (which go towards earning the S60 a best-possible IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus rating) add $1,100 to the bottom line. My tester also included a $1,200 Convenience package with power retractable auto-dimming side mirrors, accent lighting, a rearview camera with guidelines, a HomeLink universal garage door opener, a digital compass, and a useful grocery bag holder that flips up from the cargo floor; while a $1,000 Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) package with blindspot monitoring plus front and rear parking sensors adds to its comprehensive safety suite.


Available options not featured on my loaner include a $1,000 set of "Portia" alloys; $425 worth of Piano Black Wood or Urbane Wood Inlays replacing the standard Charcoal décor; a $1,600 Technology package with Distance Alert (DA) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Queue Assist; a $1,350 Climate Package with a heatable steering wheel, an interior air quality system (IAQS) designed to automatically shut exterior vents upon detecting excess carbon monoxide, ozone, and other noxious gasses, a heated windshield, heated windshield washer nozzles, and heatable rear seats; plus a $1,500 Harman/Kardon audio system with Dirac Live sound staging, a 5x130-watt digital amplifier, Wi-Fi, and more (I've experienced this in other S60/V60s and it's impressive).


Lastly, available accessories include a $2,160 rear seat entertainment system featuring dual eight-inch LCD touchscreens integrated in the backsides of the front head restraints, a DVD player, wireless headphones, a remote, and separate USB, SD and AUX ports; $140 rear side window sunshades; a $940 front blind-view camera; $700 aluminum side rocker scuff plates (these look really nice); a $540 rear deck lid spoiler; a $315 Protection package with rubber floor mats throughout; $1,400 Polestar Performance Software that "allows you to enjoy a faster, more precise and intuitive driving experience," says Volvo;  and more.


I should probably also mention that a sportier $52,300 T6 AWD R-Design model is available, adding unique styling details, a different set of 18-inch alloys (with 19s available), plus a performance-tuned suspension with stiffer springs and dampers. Special sport seats, more contrast stitching throughout the cabin, additional aluminum trim, and a unique instrument cluster design go further to set the R-Design apart from the rest of the S60 line, although those wanting ultimate Volvo performance had better move up to the 367 horsepower $67,050 Polestar.


Superb performance and shockingly good fuel economy 

That's another car for another time (finger's crossed), but I must say my T6 model's turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder made for a very energetic sport sedan thanks to 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of near immediate torque, plus standard AWD fed through a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic with manual mode and an engaging set of steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The combination makes for effortless highway passing performance too, while the standard Touring chassis provides one of the nicest rides in the industry that can easily double as a canyon carver when called upon. Again, turn to the Polestar if you want something more suitable to the track, but the off-the-rack T6 AWD would certainly fit my evenly balanced performance and luxury priorities more than adequately.


That it's also a wonderfully fuel-efficient powertrain is more than just a bonus, its five-cycle Transport Canada rating an impressive 10.9 L/100km in the city and 7.7 on the highway, which incidentally is only slightly thirstier than the 240 horsepower base T5 AWD engine's 10.7 L/100km city rating and a notch better than its 7.8 highway number. Of note, the T5 FWD achieves a claimed 9.6 L/100km city and 7.0 highway.

It's difficult not to like the S60. It's a great looking four-door sport sedan; it's beautifully finished inside with electronic interfaces that are better than many of its peers; its standard and optional feature set is easily up to snuff; its performance is superb; comfort sublime; roominess about average for the class; overall quality above average; safety rating high; and value for money excellent. You should certainly experience the S60 first hand.


Story credits: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press 
Photo credits: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press 
Copyright: Canadian Auto Press Inc.
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