- Sleek attractive styling.
- Larger interior than some direct German competitors.
- High build quality.
- Stylish 17-inch alloy wheels.
- Confidence of all-wheel-drive.
- Turbo lag on acceleration.
- Dull interior detailing.
- Needs stiffer suspension to improve handling.
- Barely any steering feel.
- Weight of all-wheel-drive.
Press Coverage :
The 2004 Volvo S60 sedan is available in five trims: 2.4, 2.5T, 2.5T AWD, T5, and R. Safety features include dual front airbags, dual side airbags, child safety locks, daytime running lights, Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), inflatable head curtain airbags, Stability Traction Control and an anti-lock brake system (ABS). The 2.5T AWD is powered by a 208-horsepower turbocharged 2.5-liter. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, AM/FM/cassette/CD stereo, cruise control, remote keyless entry, automatic climate control, 8-way power driver's seat with memory, automatic transmission, and 16-inch alloy wheels.
For 2002, all-wheel drive has been added to the recently introduced S60 2.4T sedan. And unlike the on-demand viscous coupling AWD found on the current V70 Cross Country, the system in the S60 is a slick, electronically controlled Haldex unit; the same one used in the Volvo Performance Concept Car that debuted at the 2000 Paris Auto Show.
This change from a purely mechanical viscous coupling setup to an electronically controlled wet multi-clutch system is significant for two reasons. First, electronic control allows for infinite tailoring and programming possibilities to suit a variety of applications. Second, the new Haldex (a Swedish automotive supplier that also makes the AWD system in the Audi TT) AWD system can be mated to Volvo's Dynamic Stability and Traction Control System (DSTC). DSTC combines skid and traction control to keep the car stable in adverse driving conditions, and it will be available on the S60 AWD starting at the end of 2001.
Considered an active on-demand system, the S60's AWD automatically senses wheel slippage and instantaneously transfers power from the front wheels to all four wheels until both front and rear axles are rotating at the same speed. When the system senses that the front and rear wheels are rotating at the same speed, power flows only to the front wheels for normal driving. However, it is important to note that if different wheel speeds are sensed during low-speed parking and cornering maneuvers, the system is smart enough to recognize that engagement is unnecessary.
Volvo is adding AWD to the S60 solely to enhance road-holding and stability, so don't think of this car as some kind of Swedish Subaru Outback sedan. Ground clearance is the same as a regular S60, and the tires are designed for pavement performance.
In fact, so transparent is the all-wheel-drive system's operation that most people might not realize the car has four driven wheels until they encounter a situation where added grip is required. We drove the new S60 2.4T AWD on wet paved and gravel roads in New England and came away impressed with how unobtrusively the car's AWD managed the power and how well it held its ground.
Full-throttle starts on loose gravel resulted in an instant of front wheelspin and torque steer followed by the rear tires digging in and thrusting the S60 forward in a rush of turbo boost. During tight turns taken in the wet, the S60 AWD tracked confidently with steady power applied to the appropriate wheels. And during slalom runs on slimy grass and dirt, the S60 could be deftly drifted from cone to cone, the all-wheel drive keeping the car on course as we threaded the needle.
With a 2.4-liter 197-horsepower, turbocharged five-cylinder engine under the hood (currently the only engine offered), the S60 AWD is no screamer. And with an additional 150 pounds of drivetrain, it's also not likely to be any quicker than the front-drive model, though we expect acceleration times to be nearly identical thanks to the AWD version's increased grip off the line. Still, this is a pleasing motor, thanks to a maximum of 210 pound-feet of torque available at a low 1,800 rpm.
Otherwise, the S60 2.4T AWD drives just like the regular flavor of the same car. Suspension thwack and road rumble are somewhat intrusive, and we detected some irritating wind noise coming off the front mirrors, but overall, the cabin is acceptably quiet.
The five-speed Geartronic automanual transmission takes a moment to downshift when rowed manually or automatically and has a tendency to feel as though it is launching in second gear unless you really mash the throttle. Manual upshifts also lag. Steering isn't razor-sharp, but exhibits linear response and good road feel. Brakes work well, but the pedal feels somewhat touchy until the driver acclimates. Body roll is nicely quelled, and the S60 provides a controlled, but not quite stiff, ride.
The cabin is adorned with many upscale features, though the car we drove did not have a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The seats are comfortable, the controls fall readily to hand, and the materials exhibit close attention to color-matching and gloss reduction. It looks rich, even if parts of the interior obviously are not. Rear-seat room is a bit restrictive for larger occupants.
Our main complaint with the S60's interior on this drive pertained to the manual front passenger seat, which was difficult to adjust, and the hard-to-reach and -spin manual lumbar dials on the inboard sides of the front seats. If you're spending more than $35,000 on a luxury sedan, you don't expect to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome every time you want to adjust your back support.
What will the AWD cost? A paltry $1,750 premium is required over the standard 2.4T, and until March of 2002, Volvo will throw in a free Cold Weather package that includes heated front seats and a headlamp washer/wiper system. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, a power sunroof and a CD player come standard. Also included in the bottom line is a full roster of Volvo safety equipment, such as side airbags, an inflatable curtain to protect heads and torsos and whiplash-reducing seats.
2002-2003 Volvo S60 2.4T AWD / V70 2.4T AWD
2,435 cc / 197 hp / 210 lb-ft / 3571-3646 lbs / 0-60 mph 7.6 sec.
1998-2000 Volvo S70 AWD / V70 AWD
2,435 cc / 190 hp / 199 lb-ft / 3642-3754 lbs / 0-60 mph 8.0 sec.