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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
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 74 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Best compromise among entry level luxury cars!

By on Tuesday, July 26, 2016

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

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Safety features, Comfortable seats, Economy,"

Cons: "Front seat chair rails too visible,"

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

"After selling my beloved 2006 Acura TSX and studying cars for about 2 years, I decided on the 2016 S-60 Inscription. Did not need the extra leg room in the back but is was the only vehicle with the platinum series that I wanted. Test drove the MB C class, Audi 4, BMW 328, Mazda 6 and all of these vehicles had their pluses. Volvo was a good blend of all of them, especially since it uses regular gas, saving 60-80 cents a gallon. Have been averaging 32 mpg on mixed driving. Handling is fine, brakes great, quiet and smooth. Appreciate the safety features. Too soon to discuss reliability but it seems rock solid at this point. My only quibbles are that the front seat rails are too visible; owner's manual is on line or in the infotainment portion of the vehicle and not as a booklet; the passenger side wiper blade is too visible and not hidden as is the driver's side; the start stop feature can be annoying (this can be disconnected during any given trip but not permanently). Gotta love the electronics!"

The winner

By on Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Seats, durable materials, safety"

Cons: "Fuel economy, minor quibbles"

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

"Test drove this plus a bunch of other cars, and this was the winner in my budget. My must have list was all wheel drive, comfortable interior including good sound quality, and reliability. The pros: This car has the nicest looking interior, period bar none. Most comfortable seats by a mile. Great visibility even better with the button that collapses the rear seat headrests. The steering is great, the acceleration is smooth when not in sport mode, pretty fast when you are in sport mode. Handles great in the rain, have yet to drive in the snow since I just got this a few weeks ago. Came with the best CPO warranty short of, what, Mercedes Benz? And this car with all the miles it has on it and despite the fact that it's traveled to more than one dealer cross country in its life is in way better condition than newer cars I test drove. That gave me a ton of confidence that the materials inside are very durable and this car won't look trashed in 10 years. And it's low maintenance with only needing an oil change every 10k miles. It provided decent insulation from wind noise and bumps in the road. The cons: Not the best fuel economy. I'm not getting a drop better than EPA city estimates of 20 MPG - ouch! But this car was so nice I overlooked that. Not the best sound quality from the speakers but not horrible. Not the sexiest coolest car, but ok. Strange how the windshield wiper arm scrapes against the hood when you need to lift it to change the wiper blade. Also, the keyless entry thing is slow so I always try opening the door and it's still locked which is annoying. Also, the sport mode is a little unrefined. Other than the fuel economy, minor quibbles and I signed up for this knowing the fuel economy (but ignoring it since the car is so nice!)."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Picked a winner !

By on Sunday, March 27, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,500

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: "Solid , great ride , 36 MPG, HIGH QUAILTY"

Cons: "more storage for the driver"

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

"S60 2016 Premier 2.0 4 with E Drive I will not go on and on but we tested every car out there from 32000 to 45000 and we are a car salespersons nightmare. Test drive after test drive we kept going back to the new 2016 S 60 . We love how solid the whole car is , safe , the best seats out there, tech is nice , great paint job. I am glad somethings never change and Volvo is still a Volvo . Plan on keeping this beauty for a long time so over all this was a real nice value compared to the Caddy ATS . Volvos hold their value . There are not many cars you can drive for 600 miles without back issues , this is one you can . Oh the base sound system is more than one needs , great crisp sound with awesome bass . The E Drive is tops , 36 MPG average and this cars moves out . Take one for a ride you will be hooked ."

14 people out of 32 found this review helpful

The Sure-footed Swede

By on Thursday, March 24, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,100

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Beautiful, value, efficient, fast, agile"

Cons: "Ride, rear seat, trunk"

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

"I have owned this car, certified pre-owned, since 8,800 miles (approx.). I've put a little over 5,000 miles on it since, and I can't say much of anything negative about it. Ember Black Pearl metallic paint is a WONDERFUL color. If there is anything I would improve, it would be the dashboard. There is an area around the central air vent that's missing an aluminum ring around it (compare it to the outer air vents), and I wouldn't mind having the dashboard wrapped in stitched leather. (It's soft-touch plastic.) Mercs, Jags, Lexuses and Audis probably have marginally-better attention to the finer details. That being said, short of a few niggles on the interior, there is absolutely NO shortage of comfort. The leather and seats are soft, sumptuous and supportive enough for the average sport driver, though those dedicated to the art would likely prefer a REAR-wheel drive car. The rear seat room is a little tight so I wouldn't recommend it for VERY long hauls. You better not mind frequent trips to the grocery store because of its small trunk. And if you get the Sport Package, be prepared to feel the imperfections in the road. On the flip side, with the sport suspension, it corners every bit like a BMW or a Cadillac. It's a beautiful, stylish and unique car that's a fantastic alternative to the more common German choices. It feels put together like a drum, and projected reliability (and experienced, in my case, so far) is excellent. Fuel economy is terrific (I only fill up about once a month AND it takes Regular gas), and it's a wonderful value if you're buying CPO. For the same price as a mid-range Camry or Accord, you can buy this beautiful, efficient and stylish full-on luxury car, fully-loaded, fast and fun. And its base engine is equal or superior to the competitors' offerings in both power and efficiency. Highly, HIGHLY recommended."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Love this car!

By on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great interior/exterior design, Smooth drive"

Cons: "Bad Navi system, only one USB port!"

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

"I've had my Volvo since 2012. Loved the 50K miles all included service and unhappy the freebie ran out! Love the car, had very few issues with it during the almost 4 years and dealership was quick to fix anything that came up. Got outstanding service from them here in Texas. Car drives well, and the safety features are outstanding. I've fortunately avoided a few collisions due to the safety features. Love my Volvo and have no complaints at all! Beautiful car inside and out. My only gripe would be the design of the navigation system which I think is especially hard-to-use. The user interface is from optimal and I just stopped using it and use Google maps on my phone instead. Definitely wasn't a worthwhile investment to get the navigation package but I believe it comes bundled with a few other things that are very useful."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

This is the perfect car

By on Wednesday, March 9, 2016

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
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Seats , ride , quailty , well built auto"

Cons: "Driving my other car ! Hate to drive anything else"

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

"Very picky shopper and love my cars , This car foes it all and is the most comfortable car I have every owned ( I owned 35 cars ). Plan on keeping this for a long time I know anything else would be down hill . Great seats , engine, noise level , safety , we give this S 60 E turbo E drive a perfect score"

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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