2013 Volvo S60
2013 Volvo S60 Review:
Merging smartly into the lengthening line of modern less-is-more vehicles, Volvo brings us its 2013 Volvo S60 T5 sports sedan.
The last time we looked, the S60 was a T6, an all-new 2011 model with 300 horsepower from a turbocharged, inline six-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. It delivered 18/26 city/highway miles to the gallon and had a starting price of $38,550.
It was a way of putting the model’s best wheels forward. Nearly lost in the introduction fanfare was the fact that there was a cheaper, less powerful T5 version with abbreviated content and available only with front-wheel drive.Not surprisingly—at least not to the Volvo marketing people—was the response. Fewer than two out of 10 buyers ponied up the bucks for the luxury T6. The rest all went for the T5 low-priced spread.
Now we’re looking at the 2013 T5 version, still with a relatively low price but broader appeal because it is available for the first time with all-wheel drive like its T6 sibling.
The T5 still has its 2.5-liter five-banger with 250 horsepower, which Volvo says enables a zero-to-60 miles an hour acceleration time of about six and a half seconds. Moreover, it delivers 20/29 miles to the gallon with a $32,645 price tag—or about six grand less than the T6.
That’s the base price for the front-drive version. The all-wheel drive model, tested here, costs an additional $2,000 and is well worth the bucks, especially if you live in a ski area or anywhere with nasty weather.
There obviously are other options as well, and the test car had several: a Premier package with leather upholstery, motorized sunroof, pushbutton starting, heated front seats and windshield washer nozzles, trunk spoiler and 17-inch alloy wheels.All of that brought the suggested delivered price to $38,170, which makes the T5 competitive with all-wheel drive models of the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, Lexus IS, Cadillac ATS, Infiniti G and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
A factory navigation system is not available on the tested T5 Premier. To get that, you must buy a port-installed unit or step up to the Platinum edition, which has a $40,695 price tag but also includes a rear camera, premium audio, xenon headlights and a garage-door opener.
There’s also a $2,100 technology package that adds adaptive cruise control, collision warning and pedestrian detection with automatic full braking, lane departure warning, distance alert and automatic high headlight beams.
And for those motorists who won’t or don’t know how to adjust their existing blind-spot warning system—side-view mirrors—there’s a $700 stand-alone blind-spot information system (BLIS) that does the job. Of course, it’s way cheaper to simply learn how to properly adjust those outside rear-view mirrors.
Standard equipment includes such items as satellite radio, electronic climate control, sport seats, so-called torque vectoring, and a six-speed automatic transmission with a sport mode and manual-shifting capability. However, there are no shift paddles on the steering wheel so you have to do your manual shifting with the console-mounted lever.
The sport mode delivers more aggressive automatic shifts. It also provides some help to the cruise control on long mountain downgrades, but not enough to keep the T5 from running away from the pre-set speed.Torque vectoring selectively apportions power to the wheels to help hustle the T5 rapidly around curves in spirited motoring. It works in concert with the new all-wheel drive system, which automatically distributes power to the front and rear wheels with up to 50% of the torque, or twisting force, going to the rear wheels.
The torque vectoring does improve handling. But there’s still a good deal of under-steer, a term of art that means the car tends to push straight ahead in corners. It takes noticeable steering effort to hold a line around a curve at speed.
Volvo has had extensive experience with turbocharging, and it shows in the T5. Stand on the gas at a stop sign and the turbo spools up immediately. There’s almost none of that dreaded turbo lurch that happens with some boosted engines. Similarly, the power surges quickly in highway passing, especially if the transmission is in sport mode.
Inside, the T5 does not display the luxury touches of its T6 sibling or the larger S80 sedan. But it has an understated elegance nonetheless. The leather-covered sport seats up front deliver support and long-distance comfort in the Volvo tradition, and there are enough adjustments to accommodate almost anyone.Volvo did neglect to correct the sun visors, which do not slide on their support rods and so do not effectively block sunlight from the side. However, the opaque sunroof shade shuts out unwanted rays from above.
The T5’s back seat has only modest knee and headroom, which is augmented by cleverly designed concave surfaces and coved seats in the outboard positions. As with most cars, the center-rear position is abominable.
The trunk is shallow but nicely finished, with C-hinges isolated so they don’t damage luggage. Rear seatbacks fold to expand cargo-carrying capability.
Overall, you can ignore the fact that Volvo now is owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Co. in China. Its cars are still as Swedish as aquavit and herring.
Model: 2013 Volvo S60 T5 four-door sedan.
Engine: 2.5-liter five-cylinder, 250 horsepower.
Transmission: Six-speed automatic with all-wheel drive and manual-shift mode.
Overall length: 15 feet 2 inches.
EPA passenger/trunk volume: 93/12 cubic feet.
Weight: 3,528 pounds.
EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 20/29/23 miles to the gallon.
Base price, including destination charge: $32,645.
Price as tested: $38,170.