2017 Volvo S60 Review


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2017 Volvo S60 Overview

To point out that the Volvo S60 has become the Swedish automaker’s entry-level sedan is, in a way, to demonstrate how much of a luxury brand Volvo has become. The S60 competes directly with the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, though it does tend to emphasize comfort over sportiness. Currently in its second generation, the S60 last received a facelift back in 2014 and adds some fairly significant changes for the 2017 model year, including more widely available all-wheel drive (AWD) and a reworked flagship T6 Polestar trim. Although the 90 Series models are still a bit ahead of their lesser siblings—with 2017s already sporting Volvo’s Pilot Assist II semi-autonomous driving technology and Sensus infotainment suites that have been upgraded with Spotify capability—all but the most discerning (or patient) buyers can probably purchase a 2017 S60 and rest assured they’re getting a terrific vehicle from a quality brand.

Currently, the Polestar is hogging the S60’s spotlight. Though the model as a whole is basically coming due for a redesign, the new S60 Polestar will have to suffice for now. Similar to in-house racing partners like Subaru’s STI or Mercedes-Benz’s AMG, Volvo’s Polestar applies performance-oriented technology to vehicles across the rest of the automaker’s lineup, typically in the form of a special trim level or performance package. Up through 2016, the S60 Polestar used a 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission for 345 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. For 2017, in keeping with Volvo’s commitment to 4-cylinder engines, the Polestar is powered by an enhanced version of the company’s Drive-E 4-cylinder engine (also found in the XC90) that’s both turbocharged and supercharged for an output of 367 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic replaces the 6-speed, and the vehicle’s weight has been trimmed by about 44 pounds.

The Volvo S60 lineup includes four other engines, starting with a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission to produce 240 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Although previously used on a front-wheel-drive (FWD) platform, 2017 trims with the I4 now get standard all-wheel drive (AWD). A 2.5-liter inline 5-cylinder (I5) mates with a 6-speed automatic for 250 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque—this engine has traditionally been used to power T5 AWD trims. Upper-level T6 trims feature a 2.0-liter version of the Drive-E 4-cylinder that produces 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, also mated to the 8-speed automatic. And the T6 R-Design runs off a 3.0-liter 6-cylinder mated to the 6-speed automatic (plus paddle shifters) for 325 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. As mentioned, Volvo has said it’s committed to using only 4-cylinder engines going forward, so the days of the I5 and 6-cylinder are probably limited—which is also a likely reason for the AWD now offered with the base I4.

The S60 comes in two sizes, the normal model and the Inscription. Just added for 2016, the Inscription is built on a wheelbase 3.4 inches longer than the normal S60's, meaning some added rear legroom. Fuel economy thus differs between both engines and wheelbases. A 2016 S60 with the I4 and FWD got an EPA-estimated 26 mpg city/38 highway/30 combined; an AWD I5 got 20/29/33, and AWD trims with the up-powered I4 got 23/33/37. The AWD 6-cylinder T6 R-Design got 18/27/21. Keep in mind these are all 2016 figures; the EPA has not yet released any numbers for the 2017 S60, and the adjustments to the model’s engines and drivetrains should lead to different ratings, though presumably they won’t vary too widely.

New 18-inch wheels will be available on the 2017 S60, along with two new colors, Luminous Sand and Mussel Blue. A new-generation wheel design and Bursting Blue color will also be available on the R-Design trim. The Volvo On Call app, which connects to wearable technology, now enables voice control using smartphones equipped with Windows 10; the app also includes a new calendar integration function that connects with your personal calendar and can send appointment destinations straight to the navigation system if you so request. Otherwise, the S60 retains the same luxurious interior it’s become known for, including standard leather upholstery on most trims and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system and adaptive xenon headlights on Platinum editions.

As is usual with Volvo’s vehicles, the S60 is an exceptionally safe car. Volvo has updated its standard City Safety forward-collision warning and mitigation system to include run-off-road mitigation, which uses an auto-steering mechanism to help keep the car on the road. Pretty much every other safety technology imaginable is either standard or optional on the S60, including adaptive cruise control and blind-spot warnings (optional), or dynamic stability and traction control and a whiplash protection system (standard). The 2016 S60 earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and perfect 5-star crash-test scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Pricing for the 2017 Volvo S60 has not yet been announced. Expect it to roughly follow the 2016's wide price trajectory, which went from about $34,000 for an entry T5 to almost $60,000 for the T6 Polestar.

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