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2011 Volvo S60

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2011 Volvo S60 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

In summing up the 2011 Volvo S60 it is tempting to play the safety card early. After all, the Volvo brand has become synonymous with safety, and the S60 offers one of the most innovative safety systems ever introduced. Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake won't win many "catchiest name" contests, but it will save lives. Simply to dwell on the car's considerable safety initiatives, though, wouldn't do it justice. "Dynamic' and "emotional" are the key words Volvo engineers and designers use to describe their newest creation, and after driving it we can certainly understand why. Not only is the S60 the most attractive Volvo sedan ever, it is also much more fun to drive that the brand's safety reputation might suggest.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're not a slave to vehicle stereotypes we think you'll like the Volvo S60 for its combination of unprecedented safety, substantial fun-to-drive and crisp interior and exterior design.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If all you have on your mind is performance from your expensive European-built sedan, then you will find other choices that better fill your bill of fare.

What's New for 2011

Volvo would like its S60 to become its bestselling nameplate, and to aid that effort the company has filled it with innovative safety features and dressed it in un-Volvo-like styling.

Driving the S60

Driving Impressions Seeking to increase the S60's visceral appeal, Volvo engineers created a chassis, suspension and steering system designed to give cars like the 3 Series and Audi A4 some competition. The...

front suspension is McPherson strut and the rear a multi-link, but it is the tuning that sets the S60 apart from other Volvo sedans in the handling department. The front struts have thicker piston rods than the larger S80 sedan, the bushings are stiffer and the springs are both shorter and stiffer, resulting in more ability to handle lateral loads. These efforts are most notable in the standard version of the three chassis setups available, which Volvo calls "Dynamic." Those seeking a gentler, boulevard ride might well opt for the no-extra-cost "Touring" suspension, while those seeking leading-edge tech might prefer the three-setting-adjustable FOUR-C. (There has been no explanation on why a three-way suspension is called FOUR-C.) All S60 models available in the United States for 2011 offer Haldex all-wheel-drive. The result of the engineering efforts is a level of fun-to-drive that exceeds any Volvo sedan we've driven. We had the opportunity to drive it on dry pavement, wet pavement, rain-slick gravel roads and even a racetrack, and in all situations the S60 was predictable, stable and unflappable. Braking is sure, traction is never an issue, and the steering is precise.

Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake
Collisions with pedestrians often result in a fatality, so we cheer this innovative system. The radar's job is to detect objects in front of the car; the camera's job is to determine if the object is human. Once the object is determined to be human, the S60 gives a warning and then stops the car if the warning isn't heeded.

Front Camera System
The front-grille-mounted camera that offers a 180-degree field of view is especially effective in helping prevent accidents when emerging from limited-vision areas like a parking garage.

2011 Volvo S60 Details
2011 Volvo S60 photo Interior

As has been our habit with recent Volvo models, we are impressed with the interior's clean, contemporary design. Volvo stresses the Scandinavian ideal of simplicity, and that is expressed well throughout the cabin. The instrumentation is straightforward and legible, and the "waterfall" center dash area provides an array of controls for navigation, climate control and entertainment. In the all-new infotainment unit, navigation and other functions are presented on a seven-inch color monitor in the upper part of the center dashboard. Volvo has eschewed touchscreen operation, choosing instead to provide a fully functional set of steering wheel-mounted controls plus redundant controls under the display. All five passengers will find comfortable seating, and the rear seat offers substantial bolsters for side support. Due to the 2.4-inch increase in wheelbase versus the previous generation, leg- and knee-room in the rear seat area are both much improved.

Exterior
2011 Volvo S60 photo

Volvo exterior designer Orjan Sterner told us his task was to design the sportiest and most dynamic Volvo ever, a tall order since Volvo has a convertible coupe in its arsenal. To accomplish his task he and his team conceived "a coupe with four doors." While previous Volvos have had strong vertical lines, the overall look of the S60 is close to the pavement with the wheels moved to the corners and a double beltline that gives the impression that the car is even lower than it is. At the rear Sterner's team moved away from the giant vertical taillights that typified recent Volvos toward a more refined – if not more anonymous – design. But the overall look is anything but anonymous, because it is one good-looking Volvo.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

All 2011 model S60s feature City Safety, which helps prevent low-speed rear-end collisions, and an anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA), Optimized Hydraulic Brakes (OHB), Ready Alert Brakes (RAB) and Fading Brake Support (FBS.) Of course, as a luxury vehicle the S60 is fitted with a wide variety of comfort and convenience features.

Optional Equipment

The headline-grabber in the S60 is "Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake." The camera- and radar-enabled system goes beyond Volvo's City Safety system that was introduced on the XC60 crossover to identify pedestrians in front of the car and, if necessary, apply the car's full braking power to avoid a potentially fatal collision. Pedestrian Detection isn't the only high-tech safety feature the new S60 offers either. Driver Alert Control helps determine if the driver is too tired or too distracted to control the car properly, and Blind Spot Information System helps you avoid colliding with vehicles that are beside you but in your blind spots. The S60 also offers niceties like adaptive cruise control, parking sensors and a rear park-assist camera. The top-of-the-line 12-speaker audio system features a digital 5x130-watt amplifier with circuits from Sweden's Anaview, Dolby Digital in combination with Dolby Pro Logic II Surround and MultEQ from Audyssey Laboratories. Integrated features such as Bluetooth, USB port and auxiliary input are also included.

Under the Hood

The 2011 Volvo S60 handles so well, we can't help wishing it offered more horsepower. But the S60 walks on the tightrope between green responsibility and pure driving hedonism. The in-line six-cylinder engine offers less than 3,000 cc of displacement, but with turbocharging, it whirs out 300 horsepower at a relatively steep 5,600 rpm. Happily, the 325 pound-feet of peak torque are available from 2,100 rpm all the way to 4,200 rpm. That means the S60 has sufficient low-end torque to accelerate briskly. A bonus is that the engine requires only "regular" grade gasoline, and the fuel economy (18 mpg city/26 mpg highway) is laudable in the luxury class.

3.0-liter in-line 6
300 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
325 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2100-4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26

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2011 Volvo S60 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 68 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Absolutely Love This Car

By on Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,750

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Sporty, blast to drive, luxury interior"

Cons: "No change holder"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Bought this car CPO used 39k miles, white with black/camel interior, back-up camera and blis. This is the second S60 in our family now. My partner bought his 2 years ago and when I decided on a new car, this was the perfect choice. Most comfortable seats I have ever sat in. Interior with the black/camel is stunning and provides a sporty appearance. What I ultimately love about this car is how it drives. Smooth and sporty with a very peppy engine that will push you back in your seat. Responsive handling zips me through rush hour while the interior comfort and technology has me singing out to my favorite songs. If you have not driven one you must. Don't buy until you have!"

11 people out of 22 found this review helpful

Love my S60

By on Friday, October 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Performance, design, quality, safety"

Cons: "Some quirks, engine can sound rough, braking feel"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I've liked the S60 since I checked it out a few years ago at the LA Auto Show. Striking looks (not your father's Volvo), top notch comfort, and great performance. I have the 2015 T5 AWD and so far it has lived up to my expectations. Overall it's well done, with great styling, comfort, and performance. Performance-wise, it handles well, especially on the open road. However the ride is a bit rough on bumpier streets. And it's quick and responsive, especially in sport mode. The ride and engine is quiet. Driving the freeway at 80mph and you can hear a pin drop. Feels solid as a rock. Interior comfort is top notch, design is tasteful and minimalist. Once you get behind the wheel, you know you're in a Swedish car. The design turns heads, with an aggressive look from the front and rear. You know this is a performance car. Quality- Not surprisingly, this car feels solid as a rock. It's a Volvo. Great quality. Value: This car is an incredible value, especially when compared against other European sport sedans. Because Volvo hasn't been doing well (unfortunate because they make amazing cars), great deals can be had. Overall cost of ownership is low: great warranty, covered service, and costs MUCH less to insure than other European models. My complaints: - It has some quirks, not unlike other Volvos I've driven - The instrument panel is a bit weird, not a fan of the digital option. - Sometimes the AC is a bit too loud - Braking can feel a bit squishy, but stops on a dime when needed. (Love the City Assist safety feature). -Engine can feel a bit rough during intense start-stop city driving."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

I don't like it. I love it.

By on Sunday, August 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "stunning good look,competent handling, comfy seats"

Cons: "gear knob is prone to scratches"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is surprisingly fun to drive. It does not handle as well as the 3 series but it's definitely handles better than the A4 that I test drove. The sport suspension and the 19"inch wheels make the ride a bit stiff for my taste but the seats are phenomenally comfortable. I was not care too much about the adaptive cruise control until I drove from L.A. to Las Cruses (12 hours drive) and it made the long distance driving so much easier that I do not think I can live without it anymore. I have the 2015 model so the lumbar support are manual and hard to reach. The translucid gear knob is easily scratched. The infotainment system does not have the connected app features. I probably should have waited for the 2015.5 model."

20 people out of 32 found this review helpful

Volvo safety and dependability are very improtant.

By on Saturday, May 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,900

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The S60 is a wonderful car for a small family. Excellent with 4 people and safety is always there to give me peace of mind."

42 people out of 78 found this review helpful

Chinese copy of a Volvo

By on Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fantastic ride quality, power, good looks"

Cons: "computer, brakes, info system, cheap buttons"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Quality has gone down big. Many things are cheapened and if you care about cars you will see them. We own more than one Volvo and our 2008 S40 is superior as far as quality, reliability, brakes, finishes and materials, lighting. The computer and infotainment systems are too slow to start and the park assist will be no good if it takes it 30 seconds to start. The S60 is burning through coolant starting at 4000 miles... What is going on guys? Ford and Kia are becoming superior to your quality! Could have been a great car if it did not come with so low key of important components like brakes!!! Not a great value for the money and some poor engineering aspects. Disapointed"

23 people out of 56 found this review helpful

YES! Best vehicle ever.

By on Saturday, April 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "An adrenaline rush in every drive."

Cons: "HMmmmm....nothing."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Been buying and driving cars since 1970. Most were of a high performance type. My R-Design Volvo is the best of them all. I thoroughly enjoy driving this car. And...best of all the only maintenance required is oil changes. The look, fit, finish, interior, acceleration and ride are second to no other 50K car."

12 people out of 17 found this review helpful

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