Volvo S60
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Overall

One of the nicer-looking premium sedans on the road now looks even better with subtle updates outside and in; Volvo has fiddled with the base and optional equipment somewhat.

Drivetrain

Front-wheel-drive T5 models use a 250-horsepower five-cylinder; AWD T6 versions are treated to a 300-horsepower six-cylinder and the sporty AWD T6 R Design’s six-cylinder is topped up with 25 additional horses.

Already one of the real beauties in its class, Volvo isn’t letting up on the mid-sized S60 luxury sedan. The 2014 model year sees all the bits forward of the A-pillar replaced, including the fenders and hood, a sharper grille and different headlights with LED running lights. The back end only receives new integrated exhaust pipes, but regardless, the S60 has one of the nicest rears around. Every model also gets new wheel designs ranging from 17-19 inches in diamer, depending on trims. The cabin sees a new instrument cluster, new cloth-and-metal trim, and an illuminated shift-knob. Under the new hood is the same engine choices as before, meaning a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder with 250 horsepower in front-wheel-drive models, and a 300-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six in all-wheel-drive versions. Every S60 gets a six-speed automatic transmission, including the AWD R-Design. With a goosed-up T6 engine rated at 325 horsepower, it can hit 60 mph from a standing start in less than six seconds. This model comes with lots of sport-sedan goodies, from more supportive seats and unique wheels to a lowered ride height and firmer suspension. The T5 and T6 AWD can be ordered with one of two distinct chassis setups. The “Touring” has been tuned for maximum ride comfort, especially on rough roads, while the firmer “Dynamic” suspension is designed to quickly respond to a more aggressive driving style. A third “Four-C” active-chassis option — only for the T6 AWD — continuously monitors road conditions and adjusts the suspension according to a trio of driver-selectable settings. Stability control includes a roll-angle sensor that reacts more quickly than conventional programs. Corner Traction Control applies light braking to the inside driven wheels in a turn, while sending more power to the outer wheels at the same moment. The car more easily follows the arc of a turn and therefore gives the driver more control in slippery conditions. The S60 comes with various electronic-collision warning and prevention devices featured on other premium automobiles (active cruise control, blind-spot and drowsy-driver alerts), including the first-ever use of pedestrian detection. The system uses a combination high-resolution camera and radar unit to detect people in front of the car. The S60 can actually avoid contact at speeds up to 22 mph by applying the brakes (or lessen the impact over that limit).

Base price (incl. destination): $33,300
Type: Four-door sedan
Base engine (hp): 2.5-liter DOHC I5, turbocharged (250)
Optional engine (hp): 3.0-liter DOHC I6, turbocharged (300/325)
Layout: Front- /all-wheel-drive
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
MPG (city/hwy): 21/30 (T5)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 3,530