By on May 23, 2011

Quite a few of you balked at the idea of a $47,610 not-quite-midsize Volvo sedan. Well, for 2012 a T5 joins the S60 range. While the T6 might venture a bit deep into Audi and BMW territory, with a $31,850 base price the T5 is within striking distance of the similarly semi-premium front-drive Acura TSX and Buick Regal. But how much of the T6’s self-proclaimed naughtiness must one do without? Is the more affordable T5 a match for the Acura and Buick, much less the Germans?

Silver is not the new S60’s best color, and the standard 17-inch wheels also don’t do the long-nosed, high-belted exterior any favors. With “ember black metallic” paint and more delicate 18-inch alloys, the previously tested T6 was considerably more attractive. As tested, the T5 appears less upscale than some decidedly non-premium compacts. Not that a 240 looked upscale, either. But Volvo loyalists won’t recognize the object of their devotion in the S60’s coupe-like sweeping roofline. Which leaves the new S60…where?

The T5 has the same oh-so-Scandinavian interior as the T6, though without the $1,900 Premium Package (on both photographed T5s) the former’s seats are upholstered in T-Tec (think soft-sided luggage). The optional leather has an attractively heavy grain, and looks especially warm in “Beechwood.” Add the $800 Climate Package and the seats will also feel warm. Heated or not, these seats are among the most comfortable and properly supportive you’ll find. The Acura’s front buckets aren’t far behind, but the Buick’s are. The Regal wins back points for materials and workmanship. An especially sore point within the Volvo: the oversized shifter feels clunky and literally rings hollow. Though none of the cars in this class are especially foursome-friendly, the Volvo’s aft cabin is especially tight.

Unlike GM, Volvo realizes that 220-or-so horsepower is no longer enough for street cred. So ye olde boosted five kicks out 250 horsepower at 5,500 rpm in its latest iteration. While this is only ten more than the naturally-aspirated inline six offered in other Volvos, the T5’s peak torque of 266 pound-feet at 1,800 rpm outgrunts the six by 30. On paper it’s the superior engine. Drop a half-liter of displacement and AWD, and the EPA ratings improve from the T6’s 18/26 to the T5’s more respectable 20/30. This is better than the TSX V6 (18/27), Regal 2.0T (18/28), or the slightly larger Volvo S80 when fitted with the naturally-aspirated six (19/27), but not quite as good as an Audi A4 2.0T (22/30).

Problem is, the boosted five doesn’t deliver its numbers with the smooth feel and lusty sounds expected from a premium sport sedan. Despite the early torque peak, at low rpm the engine feels soft and responds sluggishly. Even the turbocharged four in the Buick sounds and feels better. The responsive, sweet-sounding six in the TSX is beyond comparison.

Handling similarly takes a hit. When I drove the T6 the salesperson said that Volvo was concerned that the car’s ride was too firm. The tires were a touch thumpy, but that car felt alive in a way no Volvo sedan had in recent memory. With the standard suspension, the S60 T5’s body motions are less well controlled. There’s more lean in turns and more bobbling over bumps. The Acura does a little better here, the Buick much better. The T5’s steering, though still satisfyingly quick, feels less direct and less precise than the T6’s. Partly because the Michelin Primacy tires lack grip, the stability control cuts in far too early. There’s no convenient button to dial it back; instead, this must be done through menus (think iDrive, but with the controls high up and to the right on the center stack). The Dynamic Package, with the T6’s 18-inch wheels, selectable effort steering, and firmer suspension, would close the handling gap with the Buick. It’s a must for anyone who cares about driving. But it also swells the price by $900. Even with this package, the T5 lacks the additional handling flexibility provided by the T6’s all-wheel-drive.

Even with the base suspension, the S60 T5 doesn’t ride as smoothly or as quietly as the Acura or the Buick. Compared to those cars it seems slightly raw, and not in a good way. The ears report a lesser car.

“Naughty” posturing notwithstanding, Volvo continues to push safety. “City Safety,” which can totally prevent hitting objects in front of the car up to 9 mph and minimize damage up to 18 mph, is standard on all S60s. I again lacked the nerve to test it. A full array of more commonly found safety features is also standard, of course.

Equip an S60 T5 to match the features of a $32,000 Buick Regal 2.0T or a $36,000 Acura TSX V6, and the MSRP ends up at $37,300. So not far off the latter, and very close to a similarly equipped $37,100 Audi A4 2.0T. Discounts should be larger on the Volvo, though.

Most notably, the Volvo S60 T5 starts a considerable $7,725 lower than the T6, but how much are you really saving? Equip both with heated leather, sunroof, adaptive xenon headlights, and the Dynamic Package, and the difference shrinks to $4,625, $36,250 vs. $40,875. (Add another $2,700 to either for nav plus a 650-watt surround sound audio system.) Volvo charges $2,000 for all-wheel-drive in the XC60 crossover, so figure $2,625 for the T6’s engine. A little steep for just one additional cylinder, but in this case it’s a must. Even if the inline six’s additional performance isn’t needed, the larger engine sounds and feels so much better than the cobby five—it adds ten grand to the perceived value of the car. The Germans have certainly charged much more for less.

Dwyer and Sons Volvo in Commerce Twp, MI, provided the car for this review. They can be reached at (866) 759-0593.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data.

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73 Comments on “Review: 2012 Volvo S60 T5...”

  • avatar

    I would pay $31k for a brand-new 245 Turbo. This? Not so much.

    • 0 avatar

      +1. I miss Volvos that look like Volvos.

    • 0 avatar

      760 was nice too. I still remember the print ad touting its crumple zone with its front and rear completely crushed.

      Volvo and Saab were an inexpensive way to buy big German luxury safety without big German luxury price. But with CAD and computers and global sourcing of safety devices, just about anybody can make safe cars.

      The only way Volvo and Saab will regain its customers is if they make cars that are exceedingly more safe than other cars… maybe their tagline could be:

      “We protect our occupants, even at the expense of occupants in other car”

    • 0 avatar

      Wow… does the author of this review work for Acura?

      I just came out of a lease on a 2008 Infiniti G37 Coupe lease… after doing a ton or research settled on the 2012 Volvo S60 T5, with premium package… if anyone should notice a problem with steering, performance, or anything of that nature, it would be me…

      I couldnt be happier with this car. Poor handling? BS. It goes where I steer, period. You want lean, try the new Sonata…

      The acceleration off the line actually SEEMS better than the Infiniti and is light years smoother. It can’t go from 60 to 90 in a nano-second like the Infiniti could, but thats just a magnet for the cops anyway… Moreover, throw the Volvo into sport mode, and it accelerates and handles even better. It has all the torque anyone could want.

      Road noise? ZERO. Comfort? To die for. Fuel economy? Granted I do a lot of pseudo-highway driving, but I’m seeing 550 kilometres per tank. I was lucky to get 400 in the Infiniti. Oh yeah, and my car gets by on regular gas – good luck with that in the Audi gas-pigs you seem to prefer.

      My mother has a 2005 Lexus ES300. In regular mode the Volvo is only slightly less comfortable and quiet than the Lexus. In sport mode the Volvo is only slightly less sporty than the Infiniti unless you are truly trying to drag race down the highway…

      Bottom line this is a huge step forward for Volvo, and a bargain relative to the idiotic premiums you pay for many other luxury brands – I’m talking to you, BMW and Mercedes.

      If you’re going to dump all over such an obviously good car, at least be honest enough to say what it is you have against the company. Frankly, the review here is rubbish…

      And no, I dont work for Volvo… they take $600 dollars of my money every month…

  • avatar

    Long-nosed is right. I want to like this car but between the 1.5x snout and the fact that it looks like a Swedish Civic from the back, I’m just not feeling it.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Agree, the proportions just aren’t right on this car. Now that you mentioned Civic, I can’t think anything else for the rear of the car. Probably not what Volvo was hoping.

      But looking at it, it just doesn’t seem special. It’s very, very bland. Very cheap-looking.

      I’d bet that the Sonata absolutely crushes this car 1-on-1, dollar for dollar.

      • 0 avatar

        I wouldn’t say it looks cheap. The Civic has (or at least had) a premium look to it, and I personally found it attractive. The Volvo is much nicer than a Civic inside, but needs to be nicer still to further distance itself from less expensive cars.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie


        Please take a look at a 2011 Civic from the same rear quarter view.


        Same taillights, fastback greenhouse, rising upsweep over the rockers, and proportionally small & plain wheels.

        And no, I’m not kidding here. They really are a match.

        As for “cheap”, that angle makes the Volvo looks *exactly* like a $20k mid-compact. That is not good for a car that supposedly costs nearly $40k. At least Buick doesn’t make that mistake with the Regal. OTOH, good on Honda for having their compact look so premium.

      • 0 avatar

        I wasn’t disagreeing with you about the similarity to the Civic, only splitting a hair on looking cheap vs. not looking expensive!

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        Ahh, OK, thanks. I understand.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr. K

        I think the Volvo is more comfortable then the Sonata and will hold up better when they both have 150k on them. OTOH the KIA gives much more with turbo and every option for less then 30K and i kinda like the KIA more then the Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep, another car ruined by a FWD layout paired to an already bulbous snout and in this case compounded by the quite short rear overhang.

  • avatar


    Great review! Personally I never, ever, saw the point of a Volvo (or a Saab for that matter) and after reading this, I still don’t.

    #1 Does this car have options for COOLED seats?

    #2 Do you think the new Dodge Charger/300 would be a better choice than this car?

    That interior makes me SICK on a gut level when I look at it. I hate the center stack and that leather color makes me feel like throwing up.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. The center stack and dash on the V70/XC70/S80 is so much better.

      As a former S60 owner, this car does not interest me in the slightest.

    • 0 avatar

      The Dodge Charger / 300 is a much larger car than the S60, and feels like one as well. Because of this difference, I don’t think many people will cross-shop them.

    • 0 avatar

      The only reason to by a SAAB or Volvo is the seats. I wonder why no one else puts in those extremely comfortable seats. For hour long commutes they are awesome.

      I agree that the center stack sucks and the color of the leather is hideous although I did not have a physical reaction to them.

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t think it is the center stack itself as much as it is the top end of the dashboard that makes the overall look not that great.

      That diminutive NAV screen and those swoopy lines running from the gauges to the side vents scream 5 y/o Hyundai instead of clean Swedish design like the V70’s does.

      If you look at the pictures the center stack itself is pretty similar on both cars, but just like the outside, the complete picture doesn’t work for this S60.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s ok to admit you’ve never realized why one owns a Volvo or Saab.
      Not everyone sees things the same way.

      Personally, I’ve had many happy years of driving both.

      Unfortunately, both are at a crossroads, and time will tell where from here.

      I also dislike the new S60, XC60, S40 and V50(both really a Mazda 3).
      At the moment, I drive an ’05 V70 and a ’10 XC90 and am very pleased.

      That said, I will likely look elsewhere when these vehicles need replacing. (Audi is a top contender)

  • avatar

    It’s hard to say how reliable the new Volvos will turn out to be. The Volvos in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey have been doing fairly well during their first few years, then taking a big turn for the worse. But it’s possible that the new cars will age better.

  • avatar

    Ford knew they were dumping Volvo midway through the development of this car. So I’m not surprised that the new owners launched this thing half-baked. Surprisingly, I really like the style of the S60s that I’ve seen on the road. Unfortunately though, the cheapness throughout this car suggests that it’s way too Chinese and not enough Swede.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    The new S60 looks like it was designed by a committee of people who had gotten laid off from other automakers. The grill and badging seem to be done by the ex-Escalade designer. The snout seems to have come from someone who got fired by Audi. The interior is from an Ikea design wannabe and looks better than the exterior … but aren’t new Volvo buyers well beyond their Ikea days? All in all, there isn’t a single angle from which the car looks good, and visibility appears to have been sacrificed horribly. What other functionality compromises have been made in the name of fashion?

    Once upon a time, Volvo stood for something unique in the marketplace. A Volvo was designed from function first, styling second. Now with that distinctiveness gone and every auto maker putting real effort into safety engineering, what is left? A company like Volvo needs to appeal viscerally to a large enough subset of the marketplace for it to find its own place and thrive. But these days, Volvo doesn’t do that. The designs try to chase fashion just like everyone else. In trying to appeal to everyone, they are not distinctive enough to appeal to a select few would be Volvo fans.

  • avatar

    It’s too bad to hear that the T5 loses so much in comparison to the T6, as I like the S60 in general quite a lot. I don’t know if I’d pick it over a 3-series or a CTS (which I have quite a soft spot for), but ignoring those two I’d have a hard time choosing between this and the A4. The Audi looks great and everything but it seems so obvious – a Volvo is a bit more offbeat, plus they all have FANTASTIC seats, and barring an overwrought lower air dam I love how the S60 looks.

  • avatar

    From the side, rear and rear 3/4 views it looks like a lot of less expensive Asian cars. Although silver is a popular color, not many cars look their best in it. Owners of silver cars often defend their choice in terms of “not showing dirt.”

    Might be a good buy coming off lease in a few years.

    Or maybe not if reliability takes a nose dive when the warranty’s x-date comes up.

    I know the price of gas is high, but small mpg differences aren’t important to a household budget.

    I’m not sure why a buyer wouldn’t pass on the Volvo, pick the Hyundai with its warranty and keep the change. If you’re going to buy something that looks Asian, then why not . . .

    I get kidded for hanging on to my 10-year-old Saab and 6-year-old Honda, but my distaste for car payments plus aversion to new designs equals standing pat. Maybe they’ll wise up in a few years. The Honda will still be running fine. So will the Saab even if it will be an orphan.

  • avatar

    It’s a mistake for Volvo to be swoopy and egg-shaped like everyone else. Go back to its proud boxy past. Safety and utility were its USP.

  • avatar

    Partly because the Michelin Primacy tires lack grip, the stability control cuts in far too early. There’s no convenient button to dial it back; instead, this must be done through menus (think iDrive, but with the controls high up and to the right on the center stack).

    To me, that’s unimportant compared to this: can it be turned all the way off, and does it ever turn itself back on again? I don’t care how many menus I have to go through as long as I only have to adjust it once!

    I think it’s a decent looking car; very restrained compared to most new vehicles. I’m a fan of that sort of styling.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    So the American-market T5 gets a 5-cylinder?
    Europe gets a “T5” with a 2.0L 4-cylinder (Ford’s Ecoboost). If you think that’s not logical: They also have a version with a 1.6L Ecoboost, which they call “T3”. Don’t even try to guess what a “D3” is.

  • avatar

    I’m another former S60 owner who wouldn’t touch one of these with a 10-foot pole. Our S60 was our 4th and last Volvo–it’s what drove us from the fold of loyal owners.

    The S60 is a dangerous car to drive and park because the visibility absolutely, totally sucks. The A-pillars are fat, the B-pillar is in a tall driver’s line of site with the seat far back, the C-pillars leave huge blind spots that hamper lane changing and parking. The vertically challenged rear view made it necessary to get-out-and-look when backing out into our cul-de-sac.

    The S60 is not coupe-like, it IS a coupe with two extra doors stuck in the sides. While the aesthetic of a coupe-like sedan makes no sense to me at all, I maybe could stomach it if these were hatchbacks. The S60 offers no utility at all. Neighbors bought one for a safe car as the parents of two toddlers. They literally could not fit the kids in standard baby seats behind a tall driver. They left the S60 in the street and drove the kids around in an 8-year old Camry instead.

    I am unimpressed by Volvo’s new suite of “safety” features: it seems they mostly compensate for poor design in an effort to bring the car up to average rather than positioning it way ahead of the competition.

    Definitely a pass.

    • 0 avatar

      I disagree with every last thing you say here, as I own a prev-gen S60 and have a 1 year old to cart around in her baby seat and base, which fits in the back perfectly fine even as my driver’s seat is nearly all the way back. Visibility is perfectly fine and akin to most other new cars on the road today; I can only think you were staring directly at the A Pillars the entire time you owned the car. I have never once had a problem parking the car.

      And I have never once had to get out to see where I was backing up, since I had the basic common sense to both put down the rear headrests and use those wacky things called “rear view mirrors.”

      I can’t imagine anyone calling the car “dangerous to drive.” Ridiculous hyperbole.

    • 0 avatar


      I can understand some people complaining about reliability, because there is no way of knowing how often a car will need repair. You can refer to CR, but you can’t find it out yourself without buying.

      However, you are complaining about visibility. Come on, you didn’t find that out during test drive?

    • 0 avatar

      The idea that the visibility in the S60 is bad is totally wrong. I am over 6′ and see out pretty well in most cars. My wife is 5’2″ and this was one of the few cars she could actually drive because most new cars have such a fat rear that there is no visibility to the rear and they have such high bumps on the dash that any other new car with the navigations package meant she would have to drive by putting video cameras in the grill and driving by video.
      Don’t tell me this car has poor visibility unless you find one with better visibility.

  • avatar

    “‘City Safety,’ which can totally prevent hitting objects in front of the car up to 9 mph and minimize damage up to 18 mph, is standard on all S60s. I again lacked the nerve to test it.”

    Aw, c’mon Michael! Lee Iacocca was willing to test an airbag, but they wouldn’t let him! True Delta, indeed!

    Truth be told, I wouldn’t either!

    • 0 avatar

      I tried it. It was a little scary at first but this thing really works. I do not know where the 9 MPH comes from because it works great at 20 MPH. It is a funny feeling to put on the responsive cruise control and not have to touch the gas or break – ever. The Volvo even breaks to a dead stop with the car in front stops. And, when the car in front starts up again it goes right with it.

  • avatar

    what a piece of crap. Bumper – non-existent. That wavy concoction is gonna be scratched up, beat up. What are those stupid fake front brake vents? Why contrast? Why so huge? Are they really channeling air to the disks or are just a place to add accessory fog lights?

    Pregnant, overweight and ugly is just no way to go through life, Vulva.

  • avatar

    I think I’ll keep maintaining my ’04 S60R. The new roofline looks too much like the S40, yet doesn’t seem to do much for headroom in the back seat. There is a touch more legroom in the rear, but still not really enough. The fuel mileage stats are hard to interpret — my 300 hp 5-cylinder with AWD gets a consistent 27 mpg cruising the western Interstates at 80 with the A/C running, a bit above the EPA numbers (which are based on lower speeds, too).

  • avatar
    John R

    How much for this? $37k? No thanks. I’m pretty sure I can twist an Infiniti dealer’s arm for that much.

  • avatar

    Just got my copy of the July Hemmings Sports & Exotic Cars which includes an interview with Volvo’s chief designer Peter Horbury. Some snips: “That’s Scandinavian — not piling details on top of details like the Japanese …” “[German cars look] hewn from a solid [block] they’re very serious.” “[MB] used to have that Germanic quality, but I feel Mercedes and BMWs are much more Latin-inspired now [does he mean Asian?], with their creases, swirls and swoops; that decoration is the antithesis of Swedish design.”

  • avatar

    Five-cylinder engines should be outlawed. The T6 is the only way to go.

    And that hideous silver makes the S60 look like an Elantra.

    • 0 avatar

      The older turbo 5 from the prev-gen S60 is actually a pretty cool thing, as the turbo is low-pressure so there’s no lag at all, and the highway mileage is very good because it’s not being worked to death at 75-80 MPH. I get around 33 MPG on the highway on my daily commute.

      I agree that it’s not as refined as a good 6, and that if I was buying a new s60 or xc70 today I’d go with the T6 option.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Outlawed? Psshht. The look people give you when you answer the question “is that a 4 cylinder or V6?” is reason enough to keep them around.

      I also like the previous gen S60’s turbo 5. Torque right now. But then I also don’t mind the 5 in my Jetta. It’s not a rock star but it is better than the abuse people like to heap on it in these blogs.

    • 0 avatar

      The one in my buddy’s Vigor still seems very nice after almost twenty years.

  • avatar

    Sad to hear about the engine.

    I do think it will be tough to sell this vs the Hyundai Sonata/Optima monster. Is there an option for a stick?

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Not sure why the Sonata and Optima keep popping out as competitors for this car. Enough gushing. These are not premium cars. They are mainstream family sedans with a few available premium features and good powertrains. So is a Camry V6.

  • avatar

    Volvo lost me about a decade ago when they traded their austere, safety-first image for that of an overly fashion-conscious wannabe luxury brand. It just doesn’t work. The cars are a lousy value that don’t do anything particularly well. And cribbing the rear of the outgoing Civic sedan isn’t exactly trend-setting style (although I guess it’s more up-to-date than the old S60, which could easily be mistaken for a 1994 Accord).

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      “Volvo lost me about a decade ago when they traded their austere, safety-first image for that of an overly fashion-conscious wannabe luxury brand.”

      European wages couldn’t compete with Japanese labor. Still can’t. Hence, having to go upmarket a la BMW / Benz.

      • 0 avatar

        That should read European productivity can’t compete with Japanese labor. The Japanese are paid plenty, but they actually work and aren’t on vacation for months each year.

  • avatar

    Michael, as this is a european four-door coupe thing, I’m surprised you didn’t ccompare this to a VW CC 2.0T, as well as the Regal and the TSX. Someone looking at a european “near-luxury” car is going to look more at a CC if they are going to look at the other two, even accounting for the Buick’s slight German accent. You are aware of course that C/D did a comparo of those two plus the CC.

    As for the CC comparison,the T5 is not on trudelta yet, but from what you say a T5 with the “near-luxry” goodies like heated seats, upscale stereo, 18-inch wheels is trenching on 38K. This is getting into the territory of the CC VR6 “executive” and the most expensive 2.0T/DSG CC if not more, not to mention the purposely more premium VW product from Audi. I don’t think the BHP difference puts the 2.0T CC out of the running. The CC 2.0T compares favorably in performance to the two cars you used as benchmarks.

    And I have to agree that this thing looks horrible frumpy without the T6’s accessories. It looks bloated and undefined, totally lacking in the grace and menace of a proper sports sedan

    • 0 avatar

      The T5 isn’t on TrueDelta yet because I have to finalize the 2011 data before moving on to the 2012s, and the T5 is a 2012.

      It’s been a while since I last drove a CC. The last time I drove one the car was very unimpressive. The interior seemed very plasticky (at least in comparison to the Genesis I’d just driven) and the ride and handling were both subpar. But the dealer had fitted the car with the largest VW accessory wheels, and these might have been to blame. The suspension tuning seemed a poor match for them.

      The first time I drove the CC the suspension made an awful noise every time the car was turned in one direction, I cannot recall if it was right or left. I checked the suspension for any obvious problems, and could find none, but something was clearly wrong with the brand new car.

      Bottom line is I haven’t had a decent drive in a CC, so no comparison.

  • avatar

    As a ’08 C30 owner I’m not happy with the direction Volvo went with the “facelift” design. The smoothed everything out too much. The T5 is a great engine in the C30 and S40, not sure it works in a bigger, more luxury oriented car. The engine is smooth with plenty of torque. Oddly it does not feel fast, yet my C30 runs to 60 as quickly as an Eclipse, Golf or Mini. The suspension seems to be the perfect compromise between stiff enough to corner well without beating you up constantly.

    While the center stack doesn’t look as nice as the older model if it functions as good as the one in my C30 its a brilliant design – I’ve never used a HVAC and audio control system so perfectly integrated and easy to adjust. Some people laugh at the black pixel art on the green-ish grey background but I’m telling ya it “just works” in that Apple kind of way. The A/C fan is especially impressive in that it offers micro level tweaks and still gives hurricane like speeds at full blast. A prime example of the nice touches in this system: when you turn on the defrosters they come on at full speed to clear the window of fog instantly. As mentioned before the seats in my C30 are joy to occupy. They are the same T-Tech fabric which shows some small tears but provides excellent grip while staying very soft. Its almost like a thin wetsuit type material. So nice to find a company offering something other black or tan leather, or plain dark grey cloth. My C30 has the two-tone dark brown with light beige inserts on the seats, which perfectly matches the cars Comsic White / Java Brown exterior.

    As someone mentioned above this car becomes a much better deal on the slightly used / off lease market. Volvos are too pricy new, but since they are not popular they quickly fall into affordable territory. Reliable has been good so that is why I grabbed a C30 for the wife.

  • avatar

    I would wait and buy one used certified! Hot looking car!

  • avatar

    This car looks more like a Pontiac G6 than any Saab ever did. It is a pretty quantum step down from the original Volvo S60, although I guess that just means its in keeping with various Europeans styling trends.

  • avatar

    “The Regal wins back points for materials and workmanship. An especially sore point within the Volvo: the oversized shifter feels clunky and literally rings hollow.”

    This goes against virtually every review I’ve read about the S60, as well as my own impressions from sitting in it at numerous car shows, and driving it (in T6 form). Seemed to me the materials and build quality of the Volvo were competitive in its lux/near lux class, somewhere in the middle of BMW/Mercedes/Audi/Infiniti/Lexus territory. Certainly didn’t feel cheap. You really felt that the materials and build quality of the Regal were better?

    “The Dynamic Package, with the T6’s 18-inch wheels, selectable effort steering, and firmer suspension, would close the handling gap with the Buick.”

    Having driven both (again, the S60 I drove was T6 trim), I really have a hard time believing this. The Buick was a decent/good handling car (and probably better than the TSX, which I haven’t driven in it’s latest guise).

    But I would say the Volvo was a much better handling car than the Regal. The only difference between the T6 and the T5 with the Dynamic Package would be the Haldex AWD. I can’t see where the T5 with Dynamic Package would be that much different than the T6, vis-a-vis the Regal.

    I’m not a Volvo fan (in fact the S60 T6 was the first Volvo I’ve ever driven). But I’ve been considering the S60 T6 as my next car.

    Do others who’ve actually sat in/driven the car have the same impressions as in this review?

    • 0 avatar

      I was myself much more impressed by the T6. You’ll find the link to that review in the introduction to this one. Substitute the five for the six, FWD for AWD, and the standard suspension for the sport suspension, and the S60 doesn’t drive nearly as well.

      For the most part the interior materials are competitive, but this time around a few pieces, most notably the shifter, struck me as subpar.

    • 0 avatar

      Not even remotely…

  • avatar
    Dan R

    It looks like a Volvo by Pontiac.

  • avatar

    Wow you folks are harsh on this car. I test drove the T5 and the car is pretty attractive in person in the right color. I cross-shopped with an A4 and C300. I don’t think people are cross-shopping this with a Hyundai.

    Ultimately I decided against the car because the rear seats are a little snug but I love the seats as well as the five year all maintenance included. If I got one, I would get the Dynamic package. I think the car is priced competitively and overall Volvo did a nice job on this.

  • avatar

    Sorry this car does not look like the CIVIC in anyway. The tail lights on the Volvo are L-shaped led lights. As per the Acura, I’ve tested the Acura TSX and the Volvo T5 and found the Volvo handles much better. The torque and switching to sport mode also gives you a lot more kick. I’ve tested so many cars in the past few months and this does stand out. Note that s60, unlike its peers, does not require premium fuel. Here’s some better pics.

  • avatar

    Sorry this car does not look like the CIVIC in anyway. The tail lights on the Volvo are L-shaped led lights. As per the Acura, I’ve tested the Acura TSX and the Volvo T5 and found the Volvo handles much better. The torque and switching to sport mode also gives you a lot more kick. I’ve tested so many cars in the past few months and this does stand out. Note that s60, unlike its peers, does not require premium fuel. Here are some better pics

  • avatar

    Wow….I am BLOWN away at the lack of love this car gets….its pretty and stunning inside. Sorry but that buckskin interior looks maserati to me not make me sick looking….I think the car strikes a PERFECT balance between BMW common (every corner in toronto has a bimmer on it now) and audi rich looking…the new look is fresh and well thought out….civic??? are you nuts??now, the powertrain is simply perfect…anyone know anything about these 5 cylinders?? they wear like an anvil….modular construction with huge history at volvo and tons of strong reliability data. The motor is absolutely without fault. Unleaded gas, good power and torque(more than bimmer 6 cyl in its class and more than a4 2.0l0 and very competitive mileage. the car just got a TOP pick in ILHS insurance crash test ….and the interior is beautiful and the seats are aboslutely the best in the industry. MB and BMW and Audi need to go back to Volvo seat school. what about the quality of the steel being delivered by the swedes….my 11 yr old s60 has survived 11 winters and just over 200,000kms and burns not a DROP of oil between 10,000kms oil changes…. and still feels tight and not a single pin sized speck of rust….not even in the wheel wells….
    I also happen to think there is a market for a competent lower volume premium car that comes from Sweden and is NOT just another German status symbol. Sorry the writer writes that the buick and Acura are nicer in many ways….the TSXis OLD looking and completely due for a fresh new look and the Buick is slow and wont drive the same in 10 years. comes down to how long do you keep the car? my new 2012 T5 being picked up this august will be kept 10 years minimum. Volvos have poor resale value? been to the auction recently? the selling models are rare , hard to find and are keeping their money quite nicely…and if you compare a 10 year old a4,# series or S60 in 10 years…I would be surprised if you get 2K more for the Bimmer or Audi…at the most. so I rather have the better value, better balanced powertrain, FWD (Driven to Colorado recently in a foot or 2 of snow??? you wont enjoy that rear wheel drive Bimmer), fresh looks, fab seats and built like a brick safe.
    lastly, anyone looked into European delivery?? save thousands and get a free plane ride to europe and back and hotel room in goteborg to have your new car in europe insured by volvo(2 weeks insurance) for as long as you want and no freight and delivery charge….best program in NA….do the math on that one over an A4 or a 328i. the savings are over 10,000 dollars + taxes….
    I will laugh at this review when I am cruising at 100mph in my stunning new S60 T5 in Germany in perfect comfort this August.
    Sorry, aint gettin it.

    • 0 avatar

      I read most of the reviews and yours made the most sense. I don’t own the car-yet. I just settled with the insurer on my 2002 E430 which I wrecked. Loved it but must move on and the s60 looks great. If you wouldn’t mind, please tell me about picking the car up in Sweden. Sounds like fun. Thanks.

    • 0 avatar

      These cars do burn oil but the issue doesn’t show up until the miles go up. Many are getting engines replaced completely. Doesn’t take much Googling to find the issue.

      These have a major defect. Check your VIN. It’s for engine code 62, chassis range (last 6 of the VIN) between 0017819-0170117 and a structure week between 201046-201219. Others have also had oil burning issues with the breather as well as vaccum leaks coming off the exhaust.

  • avatar

    I’ll preface by saying I recently bought a T5.

    I can’t believe this review or the comments. The most ridiculous parts are about the engine and the interior quality. I have to ask the reviewer: WTF were you smoking? The interior didn’t win Ward’s 10 Best interiors because of poor materials or design. The interior quality and design, at the price I paid, is what is ridiculous. It’s far nicer than BMW or MB, and on par with Audi (known for their great interiors). The seats are extremely comfortable! Everyone single person that has sat in my new T5 has been wowed by it and the Beechwood interior. I’m talking Infinity, BMW, MB, Acura, etc… owners.

    As for the engine; it’s a GEM. Virtually no turbo lag to speak and nice power throughout the RPM range (it has a 10 sec. overboost function to the tune of 295 ft. lbs tq). I’ve had my share of turbo cars and this one is pretty impressive and sounds nice in the upper RPM range. It’s also VERY smooth. Gas mileage is pretty good.

    I think this review is a joke and the commenters here have never driven let alone sat in the new S60. If you did, I think you’d be singing a different tune.

  • avatar
    George B

    The side view does look like a Civic with a long nose grafted on the front. I don’t think this car is ugly like the Acura TL, but it absolutely fails the luxury car valet test. When the valet drives this car up to the stand in front of an upscale restaurant or nightclub, are any onlookers going to be impressed? For the same money, there are entry level models from BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus, and Infiniti that look much more expensive. The Hyundai Genesis sedan also looks more expensive.

  • avatar

    I would like to suggest that future articles mention that the Buick being compared is actually an Opel, which GM also used for the latest Saab 9-5. Otherwise, readers might think Buick has accomplished something.

  • avatar

    I just dropped my XC90 off at the dealer for its 30k service and came home with one of these. I think you would like it if you are already a Volvo owner but not so much if you are comparing it to a G37, etc. (I have a G35x in my garage next to the XC).

    The interior is really nice, love the comfy Beechwood seats and everything falls nicely to hand. It drives like a compact/mid-size FWD sedan, there’s nothing really distinctive about it.

    In all, I see no compelling reason to trade my 7-year old G35 for one of these, nice as it is.

  • avatar

    I just inherited a 2001 S602.4T. I owned a 1976 242DL 4 sp manual, no AC, and a 1980 240DL auto but sadly without overdrive (a 3 speed auto!!!) so this is, respectively, my third Volvo. You know what? I think this is one of the better looking cars on the road and it has aged very well. I think the proportions are far better than the new one. My car just turned 147,000 today. It has no rattles, gets decent mileage and everything on the car looks as new except for the notoriously cheap leather they use. The car has a smooth 5cyl turbo that has very little turbo lag for such an older turbo. It is small and the back seat is tiny but as an alternative to a 3 series Bimmer or a Mercedes C class, I think this is a better looking car for a lot less money. It is front wheel drive so it will never handle as well as a Bimmer or Merc but for 5k it is a damn fine car for a bargain basement price (was 37k new). It is safe, drives nicely, is fast enough and still looks like a new car 10 years later. There were some electical gremlins on this model and the Throttle Position Sensor was the center of a huge push that resulted in Volvo extending the warranty for this part to 10 years and 200k miles. go to for more info, it saved me a thousand bucks for repairs and effects a wide variety of models. If you know anyone who owns a 1998-2003 Volvo, share that site with them!

  • avatar

    The S60 t5 is in a class of it’s own. It is not as mechanically great as the 335D and it is far superior to the Jetta or CC. The only car that may be similar class is the 250h but it is smaller and is more of a luxury S40. The t6 is decidedly more responsive and faster and has three handling options. If one wants to spend the extra $6000 for this then get a T6. It is far superior to C and A4 or any of the Korean or Japanese cars. It compares only to the 3 series. In looking for a car that is not one of the new fat rear end, cockpit center stack, and either parchment or black interior then there is only the Volvo t5. The color of the beachwood looks awful in the photo of this article. It does not look like that at all. It looks more like natural cow hide without all the dye.

  • avatar

    I have seen and driven the s60 T5 in the base trim–and liked it alot. As for the appearance, those standard Balder 17″ wheels are terrible in my opinion–not very refined in their execution–and not befitting what I think is a fine looking car. The car needs 18″ wheels and the Sleipner 18″ wheels that are part of the Dynamic package are the better choice, along with whatever else is in that package. Wheels can make or destroy the appearance of any car.

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