By Jack R. Nerad, Executive Editorial Director, KBB.com - Updated Date: 8/24/2012
For the 2013 model year Volvo has endowed its S60 luxury sedan with even more features in the quest to compete in one of the best – if not the best – segments in all of autodom. Facing off against the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and other terrific sedans is no easy task, but the Volvo S60 brings eye-catching exterior styling, a well-tailored interior and a wealth of innovative safety equipment into the fray. Volvo engineers have also outfitted the car with a bevy of performance-enhancing features like the 3.0-liter 325-horsepower engine offered in the R-Design variant accompanied by significant tuning of its standard Sport Chassis. The less-aggressive S60 versions also offer a higher degree of sportiness than you might expect from a Volvo.
If you want an attractive European sports sedan, but you don't want to be a slave to the status quo, you'll find the 2013 Volvo S60 offers both driving excitement and unmatched safety features.You May Not Like This Car If...
If the leading-edge of performance is in your blood and you want the world to know it, others cars in the category might make a clearer statement of your lifestyle choice.
The big news for 2013 is the fact that Volvo All-Wheel Drive with Instant Traction is available for the first time on the value-priced S60 T5. The 2.5-liter T5 5-cylinder engine also receives internal tweaks that allow it to pull stronger, though peak horsepower and torque remain the same.
Although our one and – up-to-now – only driving experience in the 2013 S60 T5 with all-wheel drive (AWD) was a lengthy one, it did not include rain, snow, hail or sleet. Despite this bad (good?) luck, we can report that the S60 with all-wheel drive offers road poise and confidence that surpass the already high levels of the front-wheel-drive (FWD) version. Volvo offers drivers a variety of choices to match their styles. The base T5 offers a Touring Chassis that is slanted toward comfort, but still feels sporty compared to many offerings. Next up the scale is the more performance-tuned Dynamic Chassis on the T6 AWD, which also benefits from the higher-horsepower 6-cylinder engine and the available FOUR-C active chassis that offers three driving modes. And finally there is the tuner-style R-Design with its Sports chassis. We feel most Volvo buyers will be pleased with the Touring Chassis.
PEDESTRIAN DETECTION WITH FULL AUTO BRAKE
Saying the name takes longer than the feature takes to save a life. The technology alerts the driver to a potential collision with a pedestrian and stops the car as quickly as possible if the driver doesn't immediately react.
CORNER TRACTION CONTROL BY TORQUE VECTORING
Operating on the front wheels of the T5 and the front and rear wheels of all S60 variants equipped with all-wheel drive, torque vectoring channels power to the outer wheel(s) in a corner to help push the car around the corner quicker and more effectively.
Volvos have always won praise for their comfortably supportive seats, and the 2013 S60 continues in that tradition. Sports-inspired seats are standard on the T5 and T6 models, while the R-Design is equipped with even more elaborate off-black leather seats emblazoned with the R-Design logo. Heated rear seats are available across the board, warming the hearts (and buns) of Volvo passengers. The S60's instruments are properly straightforward, and Volvo has made its information/entertainment systems easier to operate while at the same time sounding better. The use of Audyssey Laboratories' MultEQ technology, rare in the automotive world, aids the premium audio in achieving clear, crisp sound.Exterior
Gone are the days when Volvos looked like the crates other cars were shipped in. In a segment populated with great-looking models the S60 is one of the best. Designed in the current idiom of the "4-door coupe," the S60 manages to retain longtime Volvo styling themes like the signature Volvo grille and "double wave" shoulders, while looking not just contemporary but, dare we say it, leading edge. The exterior is dotted quite literally with LEDs, including the front positioning lights, side markers, turn signal indicators and taillights. Trunk space is in keeping with the luxury compacts as a whole – on the small side.Notable Standard Equipment
Standard equipment on the base S60 T5 has been upgraded for 2013 to include rain-sensing windshield wipers, headlight washers and dual polished exhaust pipes. For those spelunking enthusiasts in the audience, Volvo has added Tunnel Detection to the headlight system. The Geartronic automatic transmission shift knob is new this year (yes, really) but more to the point the gear selection is illuminated. Heading the list of standard safety equipment is Volvo's Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, which uses electronic means to sense and respond to oversteer (plowing) and understeer (fishtailing).Notable Optional Equipment
Each S60 trim level is broken down by equipment levels to which you can add option packages. In ascending order, the trim levels are S60 T5, T6 AWD and R-Design. T5 buyers who choose the Premier level get a power glass moonroof, leather seating and keyless drive. The Premier Plus level brings active dual xenon headlights, front and rear parking assist, and a Homelink remote garage door opener. The Platinum level offers a premium 12-speaker, 650-watt sound system plus navigation with real-time traffic. Key features of the Technology package are Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, and Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake. The list of standalone options includes heated rear seats.
The Volvo S60 offers its buyers the choice of a 2.5-liter inline-5-cylinder engine or a 3.0-liter inline-6. Both engines are turbocharged, and the 3.0-liter is offered in a higher state of tune in the performance-oriented R-Design version of the car. While the 300- and 325-horsepower 3.0-liter engines offer substantially more power than the 250-horsepower 5-cylinder, we never felt the S60 was underpowered with the smaller engine, and those who opt for the 5-cylinder will be rewarded with somewhat better fuel economy. Both engines are backed by the 6-speed Geartronic automatic transmission that includes a manual shift mode.
2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5
250 hp @ 5,400 rpm
266 lb-ft @ 1,800-4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg (FWD), 20/28 mpg (AWD)
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
300 hp @ 5,600 rpm
325 lb-ft @ 2,100-4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
325 hp @ 5,400 rpm
354 lb-ft @ 3,000-3,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg
With a base price of about $32,500, the 2013 Volvo S60 is significantly less expensive than its European competitors from BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. The gap narrows somewhat as one climbs to more well-equipped versions of the S60 versus its competitors with pricing for all in the mid-$40K range, but we expect that incentives and discounting will keep the S60 at a very affordable price level in comparison to the German luxury cars. On a 5-Year Cost-to-Own basis, the Volvo S60 is a stellar buy. Low initial purchase price plus low maintenance and repair costs make the Volvo S60 a good choice, and its safety story is, of course, unsurpassed.