2013 Volvo S60 T5 AWD Review
Spending a week with a turbocharged Swede.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: May 21st, 2013
What's white and Swedish and semi-swift? Give up? Answer: the Volvo S60 T5 AWD.
Volvo positions the T5 as the base trim on its S60 sedan, forcing enthusiast buyers to shell out for T6 and T6 R-Design models. That said, base is relative in cars that cost over $30K or so.
We spent a week with a T5 AWD version of the S60, trying very hard not to make jokes about ABBA, Ikea, and Swedish Fish. We failed.
As noted above, the T5 is not the high-zoot performance trim for the S60. No matter, as acceleration is acceptable enough for most urban situations (although the AWD model could stand to lose some weight, just like the rest of us), and the steering feel is nicely weighted with a sense of accuracy that isn't perfectly precise but is acceptably above average.
Ride isn't sacrificed, either, although it defaults to sport over soft.
The downside here is while the Volvo is exceedingly competent, it's not particularly engaging. And while our base model checked in at just over $31K without options, it came close to $39K as-tested, which means there might be other performance values in this class.
Conservative is always the name of the Volvo styling game, and the S60 is no exception. Our Ice White test car blends into traffic anonymously, with hardly anyone glancing up from their texting duties to take notice.
Bland doesn't equal ugly, of course, and we had no negative reaction to the Swede's unadventurous design. Really, we had no reaction at all.
Inside the cabin is where Volvo tries to get funky, and the end result is a mixed bag. The telephone keypad that makes up the bulk of the infotainment system controls is bound to confound, although, with some practice, diving into various menus and submenus becomes sort of intuitive. Other controls are ambiguous as well.
Room and comfort are class acceptable, as are materials, but while we're not opposed to funky design, it needs to work as well as it looks. That isn't quite the case here.
We were also surprised at the lack of certain features at this price point, such as a navigation system.
The S60 is just what Volvo wants it to be -- a safe, smart choice in the lower end of the luxury segment. It's roomy enough, comfortable enough, quick enough, handles well enough. That's just the problem, though -- in a class with the Cadillac CTS, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Infiniti G, a car needs to be special to stand out.
The S60 is like that guy in high school who never piped up in class, got good grades, and now works as an accountant. You don't give him much thought, but that's because he never gave you a reason to. He's living a happy life in the suburbs, quietly working hard and blending in.
That's what the S60 is. Slightly boring, with just a touch of panache. It's the Swedish car for those with stable lives. Too bad Saab passed on, since we'd like more automotive Scandinavian quirkiness in our lives.
Specs, Features, Prices
Engine: 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Drive Wheels: All-wheel-drive
Fuel Economy: 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway
Base Price: $31,750
As-tested Price: $38,170 (includes $895 delivery charge)
Available Features: Bluetooth, USB port, City Safety collision avoidance system, dual-zone climate control, satellite radio, push button start, tilt/telescope steering wheel, moonroof, keyless entry, heated front seats, spoiler, 17-inch wheels.
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2013 Volvo S60, click here: 2013 Volvo S60.