The boundaries between sectors in the car market have increasingly become blurred as manufacturers seek to combine the best features from each type of vehicle. It’s this process which has produced sports utilities, tourers, crossovers, sportswagons and small MPVs writes Ian Strachan.
The Volvo S60 is a case in point. It’s described as a “sports saloon” – that’s two sectors combined for a start – but it looks like a coupe – that’s a third sector.
But it’s certainly not a mish-mash. In fact it works very well. The latest S60 is undoubtedly a good looker, with smooth, sleek lines and a steeply raked rear screen.
The S60 offers a premium alternative to its mainstream rivals. While unmistakably a Volvo, the new S60 has a purposeful, refined, and up-to-date look. The interior moves Volvo design on even more, with some interesting and attractive features.
Simple, Scandinavian design keeps the interior smart, stylish and practical, with everything where you’d expect it to be and easy to reach. The leather-trimmed seating is comfortable for up to five adults, and load carrying capacity is good. A split rear seat expands luggage capacity even more. The boot depth is slightly compromised by a full-size spare wheel (a £250 option), but that’s preferable to a do-it-yourself blow-up puncture repair kit.
Handling is predictable and solid, giving the driver a good feel of the road. Steering is responsive, with just the amount of power assistance you need.
A feature of the S60 is its gutsy, lightweight aluminium engine. The 1600cc 115 bhp diesel unit in the vehicle I tested is a very pleasant unit which pulls exceptionally well throughout the range and is very smooth and quiet. It was married to a slick six-speed manual gearbox. Fuel economy is excellent returning 65.7 mpg in mixed driving.
Equipment levels on the D2 SE Nav specification which I tested are good, with satellite navigation, alloy wheels, a good sound system, electric windows and electronic climate control coming as standard. This is a Volvo so you don’t have to worry about safety. Every safety feature that can reasonably be put on this car is there
The S60 range starts at a very reasonable £20,620 for the Business Edition. The car I tested comes at £27,745 on the road. My test car was fitted with a wide range of options which added more than £5,000 to the price.
These included a driver support pack (£1,900) with collision warning and braking, lane departure warning, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control and blind spot warning, a winter pack (£1,150) with adaptive bending headlights, heated seats, heated front screen and headlight cleaning system, a security pack (£700) with keyless entry and starting and laminated windows, plus metallic paint (£625), powered drivers seat (£600) and speed sensistive steering (£225).