Volvo S60 T5 Inscription Plus

“Given the chance I’d have happily driven it the 400 or miles back to my place”.     

   That’s what I wrote, on the train home, after having sampled Volvo’s new S60 during its launch earlier this year in Glencoe, Scotland. I returned mightily impressed, but I’ll admit, it’s all too easy to be seduced by something when the weather, the scenery, the company, and the food (Oh, the food… Have you been to Fonab Castle?) all align in your favour. Rattling back southwards courtesy of Virgin Train’s aged rolling stock was a bind, nevertheless a very enjoyable 24 hours had been spent a long way north of the border.

      “I report back with good things to say about the S60”…  I continued… “As way of swiftly and effortlessly covering big distances when up against short time it proves incredibly effective”.

    Like I said, a good breakfast, some smooth Scottish Tarmac, and a right good natter with trusted driving companion of old, can sometimes affect how one sees things. Had I been a little too complimentary? Was I subconsciously comparing the S60 to that tired old train? Time then perhaps to sample the S60 in more familiar surroundings; to live with it a little more – for a week instead of a day, time to test it properly. And what more of test of anything can you think of, man or machine, than that which is Christmas shopping?

   “What was the traffic like?” Asked the weary department store sales assistant.

 “Surprisingly light”. I replied. And it was. Then I suspect most sane people shop on-line these days.

   Still, certain things need to be seen first, to be felt, to be tried on, to be compared…  Or so I’m reliably informed.

    And yet none of that seemed to bother me. As it’s a near seventy mile trip from here out in the Far Unlit Unknown to anywhere that doesn’t shut or switch the lights off at 5pm on-the-dot, my day out began as usual: with the driving duties.

   Which of course brings us back to my opening line. After clearing the overnight frost from S60’s windscreen with no more effort than having to press a button (“My” S60 came with the optional winter pack; heated windscreen, steering wheel and even wiper-blades) and setting the heated seat to its just-right medium setting, I pointed the S60’s auto-dipping Thor Hammer headlights north, and headed swiftly and near silently towards town. With the Harmon Kardon DAB on in the background, the 8 speed automatic gearbox choosing its own ratios, and the 12.3 inch TFT screen on its map setting – I know the roads well, but not always the traffic conditions – all that was really left for me to do, for the first few miles at least, was accelerate, brake, and steer in smooth a way as possible.

      And in an S60, that’s almost all too-easy. Despite being what Volvo call “the most dynamic handling car we’ve ever made”, the S60, like many a Volvo that’s gone before, feels more set-up for comfort than it does for really attacking your favourite roads with any particular vigour. There are no paddle-shifters for instance, and the gear-selector’s forward to change up, backwards to change down action, feels counter intuitive. There’s no manual gearbox option either.   

      That’s not to say the S60’s a slouch, or just another executive luxo-barge. Not by any stretch of the imagination. 246bhp and 258lbft or torque allows for effortless overtaking, and if required, a 0-62mph dash in just 6.5 seconds – handy that, when you’re joining the ring-road. And so too are Volvo’s raft of safety systems including Lane Keep Assist, pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection, and fully automatic emergency braking. The optional £1625 Intellisafe Pro pack, which Volvo also kindly fitted, adds adaptive cruise control, Pilot Assist, cross traffic alert, rear collision mitigation and a blindspot detection system too, all of which add extra reassurance when those around you seem to have lost all notion of lane discipline as a result of the promise of that last minute bargain.

    Sat low and snug in the S60’s scandi-chic near button-less interior, once you’ve pulled the door’s shut it’s as if you’re cocooned from the hustle (hassle?) of the outside world. There’s even a self-parking system and a 360 degree camera to help ease you into that last empty parking space – when you finally find it that is.  And for a 2litre petrol turbo with such ample performance, mid 30’s mpg is nothing to get hot under the collar about either.

    Second time around I still found a lot to like about Volvo’s new S60. It might not be the last word in sporting saloons, nevertheless its mix of build quality and sophistication allow it to make up for that in other areas; you arrive at your destination unflustered. But better still, the promise of the drive home means you leave – even after a day’s shopping that takes longer than the train does to get Edinburgh – in a similarly relaxed state of mind.



Volvo S60 T5 Inscription Plus

Engine: 1,969 cc Inline 4-cylinder, turbo-charged, petrol

Transmission: 8-Speed Auto. Front-wheel drive

Power: 246 bhp @ 5,550 rpm

Torque: 258 lbft @ 1,800 – 4,800 rpm

0-62mph: 6.5 sec

Max Speed: 145 mph

Mpg: 35.3 – 39.8 (WLTP combined)

CO2: 149 g/km

Price: from £37,935 (car driven £45,535)


Many thanks to Natasha at Volvo’s UK press department.




Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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