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There are many, many saloons out there on our roads – it’s a big market to make cars in – but Volvo’s S60 is one of the success stories of it (or so we think). For a start, it’s lovely to look at – not too flashy in design but with more of a classy feel. Its standard features include a part leather interior, cruise control, electrically heated and moveable door mirrors, and twin exhaust pipes too. Is it for you? If so, call us to discuss our Volvo S60 contract hire choices.
Volvo’s much improved second generation S60 is a compactly-proportioned smartly-styled saloon with the executive elite now firmly in its sights. That’s thanks primarily to the clever Drive-E 2.
0-litre diesel engine that’s fitted to the D4 variant most will want to look at, a car offering class-leading performance and efficiency that’ll have widespread appeal amongst buyers who’ll also appreciate the design’s smarter looks and classier cabin.
If you’re a potential Volvo owner, the answer may well be yes. The Swedish maker’s second generation S60 saloon is, the most dynamic Volvo ever, both to look at and to drive.
Traditionally, Volvos have always been about prioritising comfort, ride and refinement. Attempts in the past to add a little handling vim to that mix with sporting R models were usually somewhat crudely delivered, compromising the values that made people want to buy into the brand in the first place. In the S60, we’ve at last got a reasonably rewarding driver’s car that’s also a Volvo.
This updated version gets what Volvo describes as ‘more focused and determined-looking headlamps’, added to create what’s intended to be a more ‘expressive’ front end. The S60's horizontal lines have also been emphasised at both the front and rear and, together with details such as a wider grille and daylight running lights, the various changes give the car a more striking, purposeful presence. Under the skin of course, the original second generation S60 recipe is as it always was, which means the underpinnings are exactly the same as those used in the brand’s supposedly larger V70 estate and S80 saloon models.
At the wheel it’s all very nice indeed, with a premium feel right across the S60 range that you only really get on the more expensive versions of rivals. The idea is that, the cabin should be typically Scandinavian, comfortable, simple, intuitive and visually pleasing. And broadly it now is thanks to a subtle redesign which has introduced smarter materials and silk metal frames around the air vents and light controls.
One of the nicest touches that’s worth shelling out a little extra for is the hi-tech TFT instrument display. With the flick of a switch, you can choose between three different dial layouts – an amber back-lit ‘elegance’ setting for comfort-orientated day-to-day motoring, an green back-lit ‘eco’ setting to help you drive more economically and a red back-lit ‘performance’ mode to better suit for more spirited driving: the kind of thing the Swedish brand hopes the second generation model’s slightly lower driving position and smaller steering wheel will put you in the mood for. It’ll also help in this respect that the signature Volvo ‘floating’ centre console is angled more towards the driver for a greater ‘cockpit’-style feel.
That’ll be familiar if you owned an early version of the second generation model. New though, will be the clever ‘Sensus Connect’ infotainment system that allows you to add connectivity and internet access into the car. The set-up turns the 7-inch infotainment display you get on the dash into a state-of-the-art infrared, beam-scanned touch screen that can be used even when wearing gloves - a world first. As a driver, you’ve the choice of going online either via a car-mounted 3G/4G dongle or by using your own mobile phone. Hi-tech features include a voice-activation system that works on all music sources and the industry's first in-dash, fully integrated, voice search Spotify application. It’s also possible to share a WiFi network with everyone in the car.
Of course, it’s possible to get carried away with gadgetry like this and forget more crucial considerations. The seats for example, it's remarkable how little importance we attach to the things we’ll be sitting on in our cars. Down the years Volvo has quietly earned a reputation for making the comfiest chairs in the business. The S60 continues that form line with what have to be the most supportive yet wonderfully pillowy seats in the compact executive saloon sector. The sports seat in the R-Design model is particularly good, positioning you beautifully throughout the longest drive.
Volvo delivers class-leading safety, solid build quality and a cool, classy Scandinavian feel. In this case, for the first time, they’ve been fused with more vibrant design, a driver-focused chassis and high-tech engine technology.
It’s that last element that should really revitalise the car’s appeal as a more cost-effective alternative to compact executive saloons. Any car that can deliver 99g/km of CO2, 62mph from rest in under seven seconds and nearly 75mpg in regular use has to be worthy of anyone’s respect. A small brand Volvo may be but it’s punching well above its weight.
On the plus side though, many will find it hard not to be won over by the smooth riding, safely sensible Volvo package the S60 can deliver. Overall then, what we have here is a less retiring Sixty, a highly impressive package that’s an intriguing alternative to the compact executive mainstream. You should try it.