By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.6
The 2012 S60 adds dose of style and pizzazz to Volvo's reputation for class-leading safety. While it competes with some formidable opponents such as the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the 2012 Volvo S60 offers a score of performance and safety features at an attractive price. With athletic driving characteristics, standard 6-speed transmissions and the choice of an efficient 5-cylinder engine or powerful turbocharged inline-6, the S60 proves that safety and dynamic performance are not mutually exclusive.
If you are looking for a premium midsize sedan with exceptional safety, athleticism and a sleek design that refuses to blend in with the crowd, the Volvo S60 is a smart choice.
Following a major redesign in 2011, the Volvo S60 adds two new model grades to the lineup for 2012, including an entry-level T5 trim with a turbocharged 5-cylinder engine and an R-Design variant boasting a 325-horsepower turbocharged engine and a sportier design. The 2012 S60 also adds a rear-seat entertainment system with headrest-integrated LCD displays to the list of options.
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 A4 a run for their...money. 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 should opt for the no-extra-cost "Touring" suspension, while those seeking a more custom-tailored driving dynamic will prefer the T6 model's available 3-mode FOUR-C variable chassis system. The road-hugging Haldex all-wheel drive system is standard-issue on the T6 and R-Design trims while the entry-level T5 gets front-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.
Whether you're aiming to entertain younger passengers or sufficiently distract a backseat driver, the available rear-seat entertainment system's dual DVD players, 7-inch displays and wireless headphones will do the trick.
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.
The beauty of the S60's interior design is in its simplicity. Discernible controls combined with a contemporary layout make for an upscale, user-friendly cockpit. Materials are top-notch and comparable to the offerings from the category's heavy-hitters. Steering-wheel-mounted switches plus redundant controls located on the center stack put you in charge of the infotainment system and its Sensus connectivity interface, which includes a 7-inch high-resolution display. The comfortable, ergonomic front seats provide excellent support while the rear seats feature an uncommonly supportive design with aggressive side bolstering along with ample leg room for rear-seat passengersExterior
Arguably the best-looking Volvo sedan ever built, the S60's charismatic style blends modern automotive architecture with a hint of Volvo's unmistakable, classic design. The T5 model rides on standard 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels while the T6 and R-Design wear18-inch alloys. In addition to 10 exterior color choices, the 2012 Volvo S60 offers a variety of distinguishing style add-ons, highlights of which include a Sport Appearance Package with unique front and rear bumper accents and door sills, a pair of stainless steel exhaust tips and a performance-based rear spoiler.
On the safety front, all 2012 Volvo S60 trims feature "City Safety," which helps prevent low-speed rear-end collisions, Ready Alert Brakes that prepare for panic braking situations by moving the brake pads closer to the rotors, Fading Brake Support to help diminish the risk of brake fade caused by excessive heat, and power-folding rear headrests for optimal visibility when backing up. Of course, as a luxury vehicle the S60 is fitted with a wide variety of convenience and comfort features, these include a USB port with iPod connectivity, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming capability, a 7-inch "Sensus" infotainment screen and a power driver's seat with 3-position memory.
The headline-grabber in S60 safety options is "Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake." The camera- and radar-enabled system identifies pedestrians in front of the car and, if necessary, applies 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 you're too tired or too distracted to pilot the car properly, and Blind Spot Information System helps you avoid colliding with vehicles that are beside you in your blind spots. The S60 also offers niceties like parking sensors, a rear backup camera and adaptive cruise control that can detect the distance and speed of the vehicle ahead and adjust the S60's speed accordingly. 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.
The 2012 Volvo S60 offers a variety of power plants to suit your performance and budget requirements. The available inline 6-cylinder engine offers less than 3,000 cc of displacement, but with turbocharging, it whirs out 300 horsepower in T6 form while the high-performance R-Design model pumps out 325 horsepower. All three S60 engines possess sufficient low-end torque for brisk acceleration. A bonus is that both the 5- and 6-cylinder engines require only "regular" grade gasoline, and the base T5's fuel economy (20 mpg city/30 mpg highway) is laudable in the luxury class.
2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5 cylinder
250 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
266 lb-ft of torque at 1,800-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/30 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 cylinder
300 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,100-4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 cylinder
325 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
354 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000-3,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg
By TiggerEsq on Tuesday, February 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,800overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Beautiful car, comfortable."
Cons: "Horrible controls for phone, radio, trip control"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I have owned this car for 7 months, it has about 7800 miles on it. The car is gorgeous, I have Caspian Blue with the light tan interior. It is also very comfortable. I was also seriously considering an Audi A4 and BMW 328i. I've owned a few Audi's. The handling of the Volvo S60 is not nearly as good as an A4 or 3Series BMW. Comfort was more important so I bought the Volvo. However because of the "info-tainment" limitations I am re-thinking my choice. This car takes 3 steps where another car would take one to say change the radio station. I just assumed I could press a button and be connected to my phone. Nope. I can't even hang up the phone from the steering wheel. I have seen Chevy's and Hyundai's with more intuitive and useful controls. I have also been without my car for a total of 8 days because of faulty parts."
By DD on Tuesday, February 03, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Exterior looks, comfy seats, pickup"
Cons: "Ancient technology, stability, lack of convenience"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I love the way my S60 looks. It's a sexy, yet elegant car. The seats are very comfy and no big mechanical problems in the first three years. I owned a BMW x3 (in the shop too many times) before this and they are miles apart on handling. The bmw held the road, but the Volvo feels like it could spin out. No fun. It feels like a lightweight compared to other cars I have owned. It does have very good pickup. It lags tremendously in the technology front. I've had numerous issues (too many too mention)with the Bluetooth that the service guys say is the limits of the car. My daughters Passat has a better system. Lots of issues with the heat and keyless entry too. I've owned a P1800 and a Volvo wagon. I wanted to love this car. She's a pretty girl, goes fast, but there's not much under the hood and she's just not modern. Also, if you have an issue with the dealership, Volvo will not help you at all."
27 people out of 53 found this review helpful
By volvoagain on Monday, February 02, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Engine, gas mileage, safety, fit and finish"
Cons: "Nav and radio controls to die for"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Forget the pointed stars and the over-hyped Japanese imports, bask in the knowledge that you have the best value on the road with one of the finest four cylinder engines in production. One that sips gas and pulls off the line like a 6. The seats are among the most comfortable in the category and unless you plan on driving like Mario, forget the sports bucket option. The display is cool and the electronics work. Downside is the positively clunky UI on the nav and radio controls...but heck, if I wanted to change the channel that often I'd stay home in the den! Think no more, friends, let your neighbors show off their Teutonic crests while you take comfort in the fact you saved thousands...in gas alone! Make sure this car is on your consideration list and test drive one. What's the worst that can happen...you'll fall in love with a beautiful Swede :)"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Tom on Sunday, December 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,600overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive & great styling"
Cons: "small trunk & no spare"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Only complaint is small trunk, no spare tire & depreciation. Drives great & very comfortable for driver & front passenger."
25 people out of 54 found this review helpful
By John on Friday, September 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Excellent power and comfort balance"
Cons: "Average cornering, front wheel spin on take off"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Really a great car. Wish the AWD system was weighted more to the rear than the front in normal driving. I have Polestar tuning as well, great add on. Interior is great. Back seat is not as cramped as described in some reviews and I am 6'2"."
36 people out of 70 found this review helpful
By P Canuck on Friday, September 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,900overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Acceleration, safety features, ride comfort"
Cons: "Bluetooth/iPod software conflicts with Volvo OS."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Love my S60! This is the second one that I've owned, and with the amount of driving that I do (>25k/year), I spend a lot of time in the car. The reliability has been great and the sluggish ride that Volvo's were known for were are a thing of the past. This car is fast! Haven't had any significant problems after 98k miles. Swedish design is simple without sacrificing features, and the safety features were (as usual) years ahead of the rest of the industry."
18 people out of 30 found this review helpful