2015 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E
Safety isn't usually this exciting.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: May 1st, 2014
The biggest change for the refreshed Volvo S60 lies under the hood. There's a new family of engines powering the S60, dubbed Drive-E despite having no hybridization. Right now, there are two different versions of Drive-E engines, both of which are four-cylinder motors replacing five-and-six-cylinder options. All-wheel drive is not available for either of these engines yet, so if you want to get to the front of the four-pot line, you're going to have to live with front-wheel drive.
In conjunction with its new eight-speed automatic, the S60 T6 Drive-E will hit 60 mph in about five and a half seconds, making it one quick front-driver. Yet somehow, the car also gets 35 mpg on the highway and 24 in the city. Now the shift to inline-fours is beginning to make sense. Push the Eco+ button on the dashboard, and things get even more efficient as the Volvo puts the car into neutral when coasting. Fun and frugality in one car? The Swedes are doing something right, evidently.
Everything is laid out in a quirky fashion, but it all makes sense once you sit down and get used to it. The dashboard buttons for controlling the infotainment are replicated on the steering wheel, reducing the need to take your hands off the wheel. The infotainment screen itself is a little on the small side, requiring a couple squints to discern the smaller bits of text. The climate-control buttons are probably the coolest out of any other car on the market. The seats are sportier than anything else in its segments, and that's judging by looks alone.
The dashboard is where the tech goodies go into overdrive. The three innermost gauges are all screens, and they're configurable based on a preference for either efficiency or fun. And it's always nice having the speed limit displayed right next the speed, because it's quite easy to exceed that number.
It's sharp, and certainly aggressive enough to warrant attention. While the flatness of the rear end coupled with the wrapped-over taillights is vaguely reminiscent of a 2004 Honda Civic, the whole package is far more exciting to look at than an Audi A4. The optional 19-inch wheels fill the wells nicely, giving it an aggressive stance without needing to be an inch and a half from the ground. To steal a line from Face/Off, "I hate to see you go, but I love to watch you leave."
On the Road
Front-wheel drive confers a few benefits, alongside the drawbacks that most everybody will point out. Extra weight (i.e. the engine) over the driven wheels can increase traction in slippery situations. It's also far easier to maintain control, as understeer is infinitely more manageable to your average driver than oversteer is. That said, front-drivers tend to understeer at the first hint of a corner, and too much power can result in some nasty torque steer (where the car pulls hard to one side during straight-line acceleration).
Sadly, the Volvo has lots of torque steer, thanks to its front wheels receiving 300 twin-charged horsepower. If your acceleration is more moderate, though, it goes away and you're left with nothing but an engine ready to supply thrust, no matter the rev count, and plenty of it at that. You'll find yourself putting the transmission into Sport mode more often than you'd think. At least that was the case at Web2Carz HQ.
There's more on-road safety equipment in this car, at this price point, than most of the competition can deliver. As equipped, our tester came with front and rear parking sensors, a backup camera, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection with automatic braking, driver-attentiveness alerts, and more. It's enough to make you feel like you're rolling down the street in an M1 Abrams tank. You're invincible. Far more invincible than, say, your average piece of Swedish furniture.
As for the infotainment, the navigation system worked swimmingly. Even with just the one dial to control inputs, adding an address went relatively quickly. The premium audio system kept up with most everything we threw at it, but its wattage is still on the low side compared to other premium audio systems. With all the controls on the steering wheel, the infotainment was easy to use without moving a hand.
If you're shopping Volvos, clearly you've got safety in mind. And for the equipment you get at the price the automaker is asking, it stands out amongst the competition. Of course, most every other car in its class (e.g. BMW 3-Series, Audi A4) utilizes either rear-wheel or all-wheel drivetrain layouts, which makes for a slightly more fun experience. That said, there's still plenty of fun to be had in the Volvo, and you feel just a bit safer while you're having it.
Specs & Price
Engine: 2.0-liter, direct-injected, supercharged and turbocharged inline-four
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel drive
Power Output: 302 hp / 295 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (mpg): 24 city / 35 highway
Base Price: $38,150
As Tested: $47,925 (incl. $925 destination)
Premier Plus Trim: Integrated garage-door opener, power-retractable side mirrors, grocery bag holder, backup camera
Platinum Trim: Premier Plus Trim, plus accent lighting, premium sound system, navigation, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors
Technology Package: Adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection with automatic braking, distance alert, driver-attentiveness alert, lane-departure warning, automatic high beam control
Active Dual Xenon Headlight Package: Adaptive xenon headlights with headlight washers
Climate Package: Heated front and rear seats, heated windshield-washer nozzles, automatic air-recirculation control, heated steering wheel, heated windshield
Blind Spot Information System with Park Assist Package: Blind-spot monitors, parking sensors
Blind Spot Information System with Park Pilot Package: Blind-spot monitors, parking sensors, automatic parallel parking
Additional Options: Remote start, backup camera, grill-mounted camera, touchscreen navigation, heated front seats
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2015 Volvo S60, click here: 2015 Volvo S60.