By on February 16, 2011

Judge me if you must, but when I think of “naughty Swede,” NSFW images of a blonde au pair in a slutty French maid outfit flash in my head. It therefore struck me as a bit odd that Volvo, long known for being the Birkenstock of the auto, would start running TV and internet ads calling the new S60 “naughty.” What exactly is a naughty Volvo? As the former owner of a V70R, I had to hit Volvo up for one to find out.

Now that Volvo belongs to the Chinese, it would seem that a new corporate direction is working its way through Gothenburg. It’s not some crazy new idea but an old one: profitability. Apparently Volvo’s new Asian masters want Volvo to actually make some cash, and to that end a drastic reduction in the brand’s US lineup is already underway. With an automotive austerity campaign underway, expect to see only a few Volvo models on showroom floors, with the S60 occupying the volume sales leader position. This of course places the new Swede in some serious competition with the likes of the Audi A4/S4, BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class. Does Sweden’s most popular sedan have what it takes?

Though the new S60 has grown compared to the outgoing 2009 model, the competition has grown as well, meaning the safe cars from the land of ABBA are no longer a “half-step” between the vehicles from the German competition. With an overall length of 182-inches and a wheelbase of 109.3-inches, the S60 could even be said to be a “middle of the pack” contender. Similarly, the 300HP twin-scroll turbocharged 3-liter inline 6-cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic lands the new S60 solidly at the upper end of the Euro competition (at least on paper). But does that make the S60 “naughty”? Not quite.

The 2011 S60 carries a $37,700 base MSRP in T6 AWD trim ($30,975 for the newly announced T5 FWD model), which represents an increase of approximately $1000 over the previous top-end S60. Luckily, that’s still a relative bargain in the Euro segment where competition in the form of the BMW 335xi starts at $43,100 and Mercedes C350 starts at $39,990 (especially when you consider standard equipment). Volvo forum-fan boys are all aflutter over Volvo’s continuing price hikes. Sorry cheap Swede fans, the truth of the matter is Volvo needs to remain a premium brand in the USA to be profitable. Until we are all buying Chinese built Volvos, labor rates in the EU will keep Volvo’s premium cost structure and premium brand position.

From the outside, the new S60’s sheet metal is a departure from Volvo’s traditional past, but still retains the strong shoulders of the outgoing S60 and something of the iconic Volvo two-box style . If it were not for the over-sized proboscis, the design might rival the original S80’s form for the most elegant Volvo ever penned, but as it is, passengers and observers were mostly undecided whether they likes the new schnoz. Light pipes in the tail lamp modules, subtle swoops over the wheel arches, and a coupé-like C-pillar conspire to add a touch of modernity to the new S60, but taken as a whole the new S60 is still more conservative than mischievous. Naughty? I’m not so sure, especially without the bright orange paint our tester came with. I’m also not sure naughty sells cars; Audi’s latest cars wear sheet metal that is the “Midwest farm girl” of the auto industry, and their sales are on fire.

While the exterior might be a departure for Volvo, the interior is typical of the Nordic brand: high quality parts, logically-placed controls and subtle Scandinavian style. Volvo entered the 21st century with interiors that were class leading in design and materials, but in the past decade the competition has evolved and improved. While Audi may have little to fear, and I’m sure the next generation 3-series will continue to build on BMW’s interior renaissance, the S60 delivers materials an interior build quality on par with the best in the Euro luxury market. How about the rest of the competition? Mercedes’ C-class interior feels cheaper than the new S60 and the Acura TSX is cute but the fake wood and plastics are only a mild step above the Honda line.

Anyone familiar with Volvo’s product portfolio will feel right at home in the S60, as interior appointments are mainly borrowed from, or are subtly tweaked versions of those in the S80. From the seated-Swede shaped climate control buttons, to the large easy to use dials, the interior continues Volvo’s tradition of function and form being equally important. All the controls are easily within reach and fairly logically laid out. The only fly in the ointment is the key-fob slot to the right of the steering wheel. If you decide not to opt for the $550 “PCC” key-less go option, your fob will need to be inserted in this hole while driving, meaning the rest of the keys are free to bang on the dash ad nauseum. I understand the need to have a low MSRP, but really, given this design, the PCC key should be standard.

Our tester is proof that Volvo still loves the less pedestrian interior color combinations. In a world where even Subarus are suddenly becoming mainstream beige, we can only hope Gothenburg keeps the quirks and odd colors inside and out. In a world gone bland world, they make Volvos all the more interesting. Sadly the “Creamcicle” white/orange interior in some of the press photos is not an option in the USA. Pity. Still, the orangeish-brown leather interior is striking when accompanied by the shiny copper metallic paint job our tester had. Naughty? Bring me that Creamsicle interior or something in lime green and then we’ll talk.

If there is one area where the old S60 was severely lacking it was the electronic gizmo department. The 2011 S60 may not be revolutionary, but it is thoroughly modern. In addition to offering optional radar cruise control, lane departure warning, and monitoring your alertness, it also finally offers basic luxury features such as Bluetooth, iPod/USB integration, Satellite and HD radio as standard features. Speaking of audio, the base and up-level sound systems both deliver excellent sound with the 12-speaker Audyssey system easily matching the high-end systems from the competition in terms of clarity and beat-for-the-buck. The heart of the system is the all-new high resolution 7-inch screen (standard in the USA, other markets may get a standard 5-inch screen) is bright and clear with well-designed graphics and intuitive, logical menus. The new system combines audio, vehicle and navigation settings together and is controlled by a knob and button in the center console, or via a scrolling wheel/button on the steering wheel.

The interface proves to be fairly responsive and delivers high quality graphics, however with self-proclaimed competition being the BMW 3-Series, I have to ask why Volvo didn’t pop a BMW-like wide screen display in there? Opportunities lost. Still, the only thing I found myself missing was a broader range of voice commands for controlling audio devices, alá Ford Sync. The Swedish rumor mill indicates we should expect this same infotainment system to trickle down to the XC60 in a mid-cycle refresh and the S80/XC70 sometime later. Meanwhile, the system offers a nice twist to Volvo’s safety conscious reputation in that it allows quite a bit of leeway to fiddle with the infotainment system while in motion. Naghty? Perhaps.

Speaking of gadgets, rounding out the list on the new S60 is Volvo’s revised radar cruise control. The new system will now bring you to a complete stop and keep the vehicle stopped until traffic moves again. I have tested systems from Lexus, Jaguar, Land Rover, BMW, Ford and Infiniti and oddly enough the system in the new S60 is quite simply the best I have ever tested. Systems in cars costing three times more than the S60 don’t work this smoothly. Who knows what programming wizardry has been done under the electronic hood, but this system reacts quickly and without drama when a car cuts in front of you, it works well on fairly windy roads and doesn’t have the same strange “lag” that some systems do where they drop far behind the traffic when accelerating. Included with the radar cruise is a collision warning system that lets know you if you are tailgating and if a doom is impending. The system works we’ll and unlike similar systems from Ford we never experienced a “false alarm” caused by windy mountain roads. A Volvo that lets you drive feet-free, now that’s naughty.

One cannot review a Volvo without discussing safety. From collapsible steering columns, anti-whiplash seats and “anti-submarineing” guards to Volvo’s latest active safety systems that will intervene when you fail to, we can easily say the safety box is well and duly ticked. The biggest improvement in the new S60 is City Safety with pedestrian detection and full-auto-brake. Personally I think this system should be standard on all Volvo models, even if it means a higher base price. If you recall, the previous generation City Safety system saved my bacon in the XC60 I reviewed last year, so I’m confident it will do the same here. The S60 takes this system to the next level by detecting pedestrians as long as they are over 31-inches tall. While Volvo may have some egg on their corporate face for the failure of the system to act in some recent demonstrations, if the system keeps at least one person from plowing down little Jimmy running after a ball, then it’s worth it in my book. Oddly enough I was unable to find a volunteer to stand in front of the system so we could test it. Is a safer Volvo naughty? No, but I’ll take the safer car any day.

Heading out to the coast for some Highway 1 time I was hoping to find the S60’s inner daemon. Volvos in the past decade have been far from slow but lacked the engagement you find in a BMW or Audi. When the road gets twisty the new S60 delivers more than I expected but less than forum fanboys would hope for. The S60 chassis is very stable, surprisingly well balanced and delivers very confidant handling. The available adjustable electric power steering allows you to tune some heft into your steering, but regardless of mode it remains fairly isolated. While the S60 will never be a 335xi, it actually does manage to put the likes of the Audi A4 on notice. The 3-liter turbo engine our tester was equipped with is an eager and willing companion, as long as you put your foot in it. Tallish throttle mapping and a transmission programed for efficiency take a toll on the fun factor unless you are willing to romp on the go pedal often. Fortunately the car responds well to being flogged and easily delivered a 5.67 second run to 60 every time it was asked. Top speed? 130. Naughty? Not bad at all.

Speaking of those options, let’s talk pricing. The base MSRP of $37,700 for the T6 AWD trim, gets you the base city safety system that detects cars only (it will just plow Jimmy right over), dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, and more safety acronyms than I have ever seen in my life. Our tester was equipped with: the $2,100 “Technology Package” which included Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Warning with Auto Brake, Pedestrian, Distance Alert, Driver Alert Control and Lane Departure Warning. We also had the $2,700 multimedia package: up-level audio with 650 watts, 12 speakers, Dolby pro logic, the voice command navigation system and a backup camera; $1,500 premium package including the moonroof, power passenger seat and steering Xenon headlights; $800 Climate package which included heated seats, heated washer nozzles, headlight washers, rain sense wipers and an air quality system. The above packages bumped our tester to $45,675 including a $875 destination fee.

While the BMW 335xi is faster and more fun to drive, similarly configured it tips the scales at $56,375. The slower RWD only C350 from Mercedes doesn’t offer the range of features as the S60 so it’s difficult to compare but the S60 ends up being cheaper when similarly configured. The most natural competition for Volvo appears to be the Audi A4/S4, while the S4 is faster and more powerful than the S60, similarly configured the S60 is almost $6,000 cheaper and the A4 2.0T lacks the zip for a similar price point.

At the end of a week with the S60 I can honestly say this new Volvo isn’t naughty at all, but that’s OK because this car is designed for real people. It’s not brash, nor loud, and it doesn’t scream ego. Instead the S60 T6 AWD is an extremely competent sedan that is well priced and offers compelling safety features. If an AWD Euro sedan is what you seek, the S60 should be at or near the top of your list. The newly announced S60 T5 model may yet be a better deal, as, priced at just over $30,000 starting, it delivers all the style, many of the same features without the AWD and 300HP. Volvo’s new S60 looks ready to do battle with the competition for another 8-9 years, let’s hope it doesn’t have to fight single-handedly for that long.

Volvo provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for the review.

Performance statistics as tested:

0-60MPH: 5.67 seconds

30-60MPH: 3.5 seconds

Average economy: 24.5MPG


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51 Comments on “Review: 2011 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Take Two...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    The G37x, CTS-4, and TL SH-AWD could all work in a comparison too.
     
    Yea, they wouldn’t give you a European badge, but the S60 doesn’t give a German one either.

  • avatar
    aspade

    One cannot review a Volvo without discussing safety.
     
    That’s exactly where Volvo lost its way.  There’s no reason to discuss safety when every $16,000 crapbox has eleventeen airbags and a perfect IIHS score.  A selling point requires a differentiation.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      You are deeply and sadly mistaken.

      But, sure – you get in a Fit and I’ll get in an S 550 and we’ll see who wins.

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      Stop being intentionally obtuse and stay within size class.  Collision wise this doesn’t – and can’t – offer a thing over a Kia Optima.
       

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      What the Volvo does offer is vastly inferior reliability compared to Asian brands like Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura (and safety scores are pretty much equal across the entry level luxury sedan segment in 2011 when comparing new cars, so Volvo’s old core competency of the 1980s and 1990s has been eroded). I surmise that’s why Volvo’s US sales are tanking.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Collision wise this doesn’t – and can’t – offer a thing over a Kia Optima.

      Well obviously you’ve thoroughly researched this and can provide a link to the data supporting your assertion.

      But, then again, with the S60 having a curb weight of 3900lbs vs. 3260 for the Kia, I’m certain the Koreans have found a way to violate the laws of physics.
       

      • 0 avatar
        drdjb123

        I traded a 2010 Hyundai I45 ( NZ name for the Sonata) on a 2011 Volvo S 60. The Volvo is far more comfortable, refined, powerful and is far better handling than the Hyundai which is just a more attractive Asian copy of what a proper car should be. The Hyundai, Honda, Toyota, Nissan offerings are not comparable to Volvo. Kia is admittedly a bit more sportyu and clssier that Hyundai but they are still passionless peers ina copy world.Hyundai finish and reliabilty is also questionable, the tiptronic box in mine gave out, with only 20000km on the clock ( 13500 miles)

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      But, sure – you get in a Fit and I’ll get in an S 550 and we’ll see who wins.

      Flashpoint, is that you?

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      “eleventeen airbags and a perfect IIHS score”

      First, all cars *don’t* have perfect IIHS scores. Second, a perfect IIHS score is meaningless – for one thing, that crapbox will be designed to the test. Get hit exactly like the IIHS car? Dandy. Get hit at a different angle? Not so much… Volvos, Saabs, etc, are designed for real-world safety, not ‘tick-the-box’ IIHS scores. And IIHS scores require truly horrifying design to get low numbers; they’re largely out of date. If you compare to things built in 1993? Sure, they’re all five stars. But if you’re buying a new car, you’re NOT comparing to things built in 1993 – your argument is like saying that all new computers are blazing fast because they’re so much faster than computers made ten years ago. Maybe so, but that doesn’t mean you want the cheapest walmart piece of crap out there.

      Last time I checked, reliability and performance were both vastly better than they were 20 years ago, but I don’t see anyone saying, “Everything is a ton more reliable than it was in 1980, so it really doesn’t matter.”

      Second, the quantity of airbags is utterly meaningless. Airbags can, and do, fire at the wrong time, or in the wrong order – even with new cars. Bad airbag timing is incredibly dangerous.

      Third, passenger ‘control’ is vital. The crush structure has to collapse in a manner that keeps the occupants within the area for airbags to work. If you look at NCAP videos of new cars, you’ll see big differences in the way passengers’ heads move around, even in similar class, modern cars. The side airbag doesn’t do you much good if your head is in the middle of the car when it goes off, and arrives at the b-pillar after it’s deflated again. And (as in the Town Car / Crown Vic) a mis-timed front airbag can send your noggin back into said b-pillar at a high enough rate of speed to make your head wobble like a water balloon.

      It’s also worth noting that a large chunk (possibly a majority) of passenger car fatalities are from single-car accidents, where the big car has no advantage over the crapbox. But side impact pole-test ratings (I’m sure you researched that and know what they are, right? The tests that slide a car sideways into a stationary pole? NCAP does them; IIHS doesn’t) in particular are massively different. Are you really telling me you don’t care whether you’re in an S60 or a Kia Amanti when you hit black ice and slide into a telephone pole sideways at 45mph? Hell, they’ve both got side airbags and five-star ratings, right? Oh – hang on – but the side impact ratings are at less than half the speed as your slide… and impact energy rises with the cube of the speed…. so that 10% difference? It’s not a 10% difference anymore. It’s a “Bruised and battered” vs “Killed instantly” difference. Differentiation enough?
      But, obviously, you haven’t watched any videos, or done any reading, or bothered to find out anything at all, except for, “They have a lot of airbags so they’re all safe”. I hope for your sake you’re not a scientist.

    • 0 avatar
      dswilly

      JMO

      I don’t think curb weight trumps sound engineering

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      And IIHS scores require truly horrifying design to get low numbers; they’re largely out of date.
       
      Which is why the last gen S60 tested in 2005 didn’t even rate a side impact “Good” from them, what with the dummy’s pelvis breaking.
       
      There’s nothing magic about collision engineering.  Just like everywhere else, pushing the limit resuls in vastly diminishing returns.  And every manufacturer has already pushed it.  There’s nothing affordable left to add.
       
      What is your basis for the idea that Volvo “gets it” while the monkeys at Kia are designing to the test and can’t even time their airbags correctly?  5 product generations ago Volvo pushed where nobody else even looked.  Today engineers at every automaker come from the same schools and use the same tools.  They – as opposed to product planners – come up with the same answers.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      I don’t buy the law of diminishing returns. First, as I said above, an extra few percent may well make the difference between a concussion and a coffin; not all accidents take place in the types and ranges of the testing area.
       
      And while Kia’s engineers may not be monkeys, they likely do not have the budget or management backing that engineers at Saab and Volvo do. Like I said, they’ll have been told to get the test numbers. Their audience, like you, says “Airbags + ***** = safe” and stops thinking.
       
      People were making the same “There’s nothing left to do” arguments years ago. And it’s continual. In the 1950s people said that you might eventually make a computer weigh three tons instead of six, but that was the limit. And there’s the guy in the late 1800s who said, “Everything that can be invented, has been invented.”
       
      Tell you what – if you think that all cars are created equal now, with ‘diminishing returns’, and everyone using the same engineering, check out the Jaguar XF vs. the Saab 9-5 – both in roughly the same weight class, both well regarded engineering teams, both expensive.
       
      The Jag…
       
      …and the Saab.
       
      You can watch the whole thing (which is useful – as it checking the results, where the Jag gets 74% and the Saab 94%), or you can skip straight to the pole test: about 0:58 in the Saab video and 1:45 in the Jag video.
       
      If you can watch those, and tell me with a straight face that if someone held a gun to your head and told you to get in and be the pole test dummy, you’d pick the Jag or the Saab equally, then you’re either crazy or a really good liar.
       
      Safety matters – particularly when there’s a pole approaching from the left – and there are huge differences in performance.
       
      Oh, check the side impact test, too – it’s pretty nasty on the Jag as well.
       
      PS: One other thing – as to your quote that “Today engineers at every automaker come from the same schools and use the same tools.  They – as opposed to product planners – come up with the same answers” – take a look at this nice shiny new Suzuki. Skip to 0:54 and see how cushy that side airbag is. Damn – that’s gonna hurt in the morning.
       
      They’re all equal, are they?
       
       PS: The Hyundai is five stars. Go figure.

    • 0 avatar
      drivebywire

      aspade – Do some homework. If you don’t understand the safety features that Volvo has developed and continues to develop, then investigate. Not every company has the same commitment to safety. Most are just implementing minimum features.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Volvo S60 design inspiration revealed. Let me introduce the Chrysler (UK) Avenger:

    http://www.aronline.co.uk/bcarstoryf.htm

  • avatar
    JMII

    Love the interior on this car, orange and black plus some (tasteful) chrome trim and minimalist design. Best seats I’ve ever experienced outside the ones in my Prelude Si were in a Volvo. 0-60 in under 6 seconds is “naughty” enough for me, that’s what a Nissan 350Z runs for crying out loud! Sure this ain’t a BMW M3 but it is plenty quick. Agreed that Volvo’s pricing is their main problem these days, my wife wants a C30 but the darn thing is priced in the Infiniti G35 range once you check all the boxes. The base $37K for this car seems about right but “as tested” is $45K? Ummm no thanks.

  • avatar

    This is a surprisingly satisfying car to drive. The steering and handling are much better than those of the previous S60, including the R. Since Alex actually owned an R I do wish he’d compared the new car to the old one in the review.
    Problem is, many people refuse to consider a Volvo. When a friend of mine was shopping for a car recently I couldn’t even get him to drive the new S60.
    Partly this is because people feel that Volvo’s future is uncertain. And part of it is that Volvos from 5-10 years ago were among the least reliable cars. (My friend was burned by one.)
    I’m hoping to have reliability stats for the new S60 before too much longer. To help with the car reliability survey, with just about any car:
    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

    • 0 avatar
      IGB

      Many on TTAC will disagree but Volvo has completely fallen off the radar now that it’s under Chinese ownership. The author mentions Goteborg in the article but it seems almost disingenuous.
       
      After Ford and now under the Chinese, Volvo is as Swedish as Mitsubishi is American. Not for me thanks.
       
      Looks great though.

    • 0 avatar
      Acubra

      There is more to it. The amount of gadgetry and electronic crap that can only be reset/fixed by a dealer puts more educated choosers off. swapping an indicator relay with a dealer’s diagnostic tool to “merge” it to the system (experienced in a friend’s XC-90) – is an insult really.
      Sorry, Volvo… Off the list you go…

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s not so much the Chinese ownership  For one, wasn’t the S60 essentially the last Ford-designed Volvo anyway?  Two, Volvos have been costly and unreliable for at least a decade.  If you’re intent on selling conservative, safe and luxurious but without the German marques’ prestige, making glitchboxes isn’t the way to go.
       
      If Volvo wants to succeed, they need a raison d’etre, or they’ll end up the Swedish Acura**: a brand without purpose.  Safety is a nice touch, and aggressive implementation cutting-age safety systems across the line is a good start.  Better would be warranty and maintenance coverage that shames the Germans.
       
      ** which is funny, because I’d called Acura the Japanese Volvo for a few years now

    • 0 avatar

      i’m surprised by the reliability ratings. my ’02 xc70 and my mother’s ’04 s40 have both been fine. it’s nice to read that volvo is now price competitive with its class. i can live with chinese ownership as long as design and construction remain swedish. let the chinese build their domestic market versions and send us the euro ones. however, the growing front overhang is an issue for me. any chance of getting a review of the t5 version?

    • 0 avatar
      salhany

      I can’t personally agree with the sentiment that 5 year old Volvos are unreliable cars. I own an ’04 S60, with 118K on it and I’ve flogged it to an from all the potholed roads in Maine and it’s been incredibly reliable. No breakdowns, no unusual problems, no electronic glitches…nothing.  I’ve participated in the TrueDelta forums to show it as well.

    • 0 avatar

      One thing that has become clear in our results is that even when a car has a poor average repair frequency there are still plenty of owners who’ve had few or even no repairs. With the worst about one out of three cars will still require no repair in a given year. Volvos did get better around 2004 (with the exception of the R), but many people still remember the earlier cars.
      And when a Volvo goes bad, it can go really bad.

    • 0 avatar

      MK,
       
      I did contemplate an S60R comparison, but in the end I felt it was a useless match-up since few shoppers knew the R existed and even fewer purchased one. In my humble opinion, the new S60 is a better performance vehicle than the S60R, despite the loss of the manual transmission. The brakes are not as good, but the handling and feel is greatly improved and reliability should be better based on the components in the R that were prone to fail not being used any longer. The new S60 is however not as unique as the R was, but again, it wasn’t a very well known model…

  • avatar
    Crosley

    I really like the lines on this new Volvo, their previous efforts were unbelievably bland since they ditched the “boxy” look in the late 90’s.
    My last Volvo was a 240, I loved it, incredibly reliable and simple.  I haven’t looked in Volvo’s direction in  while, but this model has definitely caught my eye.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    Are those reflectors on either side of the schnoz (near the headlights)?  Or are they active lamps?  Can’t be fog lights because they are placed to high.  It’s an interesting look.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s likely they’re DRLs, but high-mount fogs are not new.  The first-gen Mazda6 had them in the headlamp cluster: the trick is being able to aim them without the bumper getting in the way.

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    Is it just me or do the backrests in the back seats look tiny?

  • avatar
    spyked

    Love the interior and 300hp.  But the front end is bad.  And while not ugly, the profile and rear, especially rear quarter shapes, are copies of the current Honda Civic sedan.  Is that an Asian influence already?  Surely this was designed well before China got involved. 

    I would love to see Volvo succeed, but I don’t see it happening in the U.S.  The U.S. buyers that want a Swedish car have Saab again.  An independent company with cars designed and built in Sweden/Northern Europe (aside from Mexican built 9-4X with the Caddy SRX).  At $45k for this S60, you could have a new Saab 9-5 from a company that is still truly European. 

    As someone else said, the C30 is an awesome little car, but it shouldn’t cost more than a GTI.  Both built in Europe…..labor shouldn’t be that different.  But what can Volvo offer other than the S60?  S80 is far outclassed by A8.  They stopped selling the V70.  I repeat, Volvo STOPPED selling Volvo wagons in the U.S.  Driving sales to Saab again.  They are left with the SUV and S60.  Oh, and that hardtop convertible and the S40 (how long will they be around?).

    Nice effort on this S60, but too late I fear.

  • avatar

    I’m bias, but SAAB being run by Spyker CEO Victor Muller seems to be “more Swedish” in the long run than Volvo being owned by the Chinese. Give it 2-4 more years when the new 9-3 (900, hopefully) is released to see where our Swedish counterparts are headed.

    • 0 avatar
      Robbie

      I understood SAAB under Victor Muller is only headed for bankruptcy..? Do you think SAAB is viable?

    • 0 avatar
      Acubra

      I have a huge soft spot in my heart for griffons – to the tune of 6 owned, but I would not hold my breath for their long-term survival. Besides everything that made their cars unique is gone. For me the brand ended with M2005 9-5.
      New ones are not unattractive, but have no individuality in mechanical design, prices are insane and knowing well SAAB reliability record I am  really suspicious about how these machines, developed and built in the time of complete uncertainty, lay-offs, etc, will hold in a longer run.

    • 0 avatar
      dswilly

      My conspiracy guess is BMW buys SAAB in 3-5 especially since they are already doing drivetrains and could put SAAB between BMW and Mini.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I like these cars, but that giant protruding nose is horrible… almost as bad as Mazda’s smiley face…

  • avatar
    Jan Andersson

    Swedish blondes with French maid outfits? Only French maids and Akihabara teenagers wear French maid outfits. Swedish blondes wear nothing. Haven’t you seen any Zorn paintings?
    And for electronic gadgets, the only gadgets I need is a tachometer and an oil temperature gauge. And they mustn’t be electronic at all.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    “There is more to it. The amount of gadgetry and electronic crap that can only be reset/fixed by a dealer puts more educated choosers off. swapping an indicator relay with a dealer’s diagnostic tool to “merge” it to the system (experienced in a friend’s XC-90) – is an insult really.
    Sorry, Volvo… Off the list you go…”
     
    Is this unique for Volvo?
    I don´t think so.

  • avatar
    Thinx

    How much of this car’s content is Chinese made?  Especially the electronics.  And by extension, how reliable are the “safety” features?
     
    At this price-point, shouldn’t this car be compared with the G37 / TL / IS sedans as well?  Excluding these just because they aren’t “european” seems a little archaic and out-of-touch with how this car is actually cross-shopped.
     
    And aside from a picture of the Angelo Mozilo colored upholstery, there wasn’t any information about the rear seating?  Or anything about roominess, leg/hip/shoulder-room in the front and back.  Is the back seat roomy enough to accomodate the swedish-lass in (or out of) the french-maid outfit?  Maybe that is what they mean by ‘naughty’… or maybe not… you forgot to say anything about that.
     
    When Volvo was actually a successful car-maker, their selling points were that they were safe in a crash, really sturdy, extremely comfortable and well-sorted seating for long drives and sensible about not having unnecessary gadgetry.  None of these seem to be differentiating traits any more, and a Volvo was ALL about being different.   In today’s world, taking into account a run-of-the-mill safety record, average (at best) build quality, a poor reliability record, electronic gizmos and Chinese ownership – it is difficult to see what sets this apart from other cars in this segment.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I got a chance in this car yesterday on the way back from amount of town meeting.  It really is very well done.  It drives and rides very nicely, has great seats and the content levels are worth it for the price.
     
    I do find the front awkward and I have to disagree with the author in that HVAC and ICE ergonomics are not good at all: the buttons are too small, poorly arranged and too similar to be easily picked out at speed—very form-over-function.  The Germans and Acura are worse, mind you, but Jaguar is better and Lexus absolutely whips them all.

  • avatar
    salhany

    I’m loving the unusual interior color choices. I’m thoroughly sick of all the tan, gray and black interiors out there. Give me more orange like here, or red, or blue, or some of those gorgeous Jaguar caramel/truffle colors.
     
    I’ve noticed that Hyundai offers a red interior on the new Sonata, but I’ve yet to see a single example with it on the roads.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Wow, red, really?  I saw a metallic purple new Sonata last night and thought; “Dang a gray interior, how much prettier would it be with say a “dark chocolate” interior?  Maybe some contrasting lighter shades of brown on the door panels?

  • avatar
    blowfish

    Partly this is because people feel that Volvo’s future is uncertain. And part of it is that Volvos from 5-10 years ago were among the least reliable cars. (My friend was burned by one.)

    Is going to take some while before people will forget about being burnt.
    Or this time the Chinese need to ask Mr Tata of how to make this Piggy pretty again, Jag/LR is not doing badly either. I dont know how they make this turn around.
    According to one Middle Kingdom blog, they were trying to paint some parallel of this new Volvo owner to Henry Ford. Time will tell if it can truely flies or Icarus II.
    Failing the Western Market Volvo could be the one eyed man in the land of the blind, as they can re-level the playing field rules there : all govt has to drive a car wholly owned by Middle Kingdom.  So Volvo can be bestowed the King.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Not a bad looking or performing car but IMO overpriced at $45k. While it may cut the named competition pricewise I don’t think Volvo has the panache to command that much money. Myself I would opt for spending another $5k for a Jaguar XF in this price range (RWD not withstanding).
     
    Now the $30k version, that should sell as it’s not much more than any of the mid sized sedans on the market with upper level optioning.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Too bad it look almost just like a 20K Honda Civic from the side and has lost a lot of it’s Volvoness! Wonder if it comes with China sourced lead paint and toxic lead fumes to paint the interior.

    • 0 avatar
      drivebywire

      > Wonder if it comes with China sourced lead paint and toxic lead fumes to paint the interior.
      Then you wouldn’t be familiar with Volvo’s commitment to non-toxic materials.
      Inform youself and drop the China-bashing.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    I don´t understand why so many of you thinks that Chinese ownership is such a big negative thing?
    The only models that are made in China are some Volvo S40 and Volvo S80L, and you won´t get those in the USA.
     

  • avatar
    hansel

    I have owned several Volvo’s in but have not considered buying a Volvo lately and that will probably not change. I have owned turbocharged Volvo’s but I do not think that the current engines deserve a lot of respect in HP and  fuel consumption. Volvo needs to come up with fuel efficient powerful and smooth  engines like Toyota’s 3.5l engine. No need for premium as well.
    My concern is that under Chinese ownership the path to profitability will also include cutting corners,it is a proven Chinese concept.

  • avatar
    drivebywire

    I’m sure the reliability statistics don’t lie, but I’ve owned 4 Volvos and have had zero problems beyond normal maintenance. (1989 740, 1994 940, 2005 V70, 2010 XC90)

    As for safety, I’d just add that as an engineer I know first-hand that although companies have the latest tools and systems available, that doesn’t mean that they’re making the business decisions to use them. The name of the game is $, and often the bean counters override the engineers when it comes to issues like safety.

    As a Volvo owner, I’ve done the research to be confident that there are intentional business decisions being made which make safety a priority when designing a vehicle. As a past Saab owner, I also felt the same there. For me it’s about a company’s priorities and focus. You can be a me-too company that makes sure they hit the 5star minimum for marketing purposes, or you can push the envelope on safety by developing new mechanisms.

    For example, the new Ford Explorer will have an airbag integrated into the 3-point-seatbelt. This system was designed by Volvo. It’s also worth noting that the 3-point-belt was developed by Volvo.

    It’s about the leaders, not the followers, when it comes to safety for me.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    How many mfrs produce an inline-6 that is transversely mounted, not to mention turbocharged and AWD?  That’s an amazing feat of packaging.  It must be ultra-smooth to drive.

  • avatar

    yes its fact that Volvo’s seats are qualitative and durable for longer period of time.
    and Volvo’s every product have quality and durability.


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