Exterior view of the 2015 Volvo S60.
The Volvo S60 is the entry-level sedan in the Volvo family, and it got a complete makeover for the 2014 model year. Now, halfway through 2015, it gets some additional features as well as that cool little decimal mark, writes our automotive editor Sally Miller Wyatt.
Yup. It’s not a mistake. This review is for a 2015.5 Volvo. That’s not a typo; it means this is a mid-year release.
And, before I go on, I must ask: What else could Volvo possibly add to its fortress-like cars?
Well, trust me, Volvo will find something to make us even safer aboard these vehicles. These features are on top of Volvo’s previously existing cutting-edge technology, introduced years ago, that included such things as an Uni-body high strength steel safety cage, whiplash-reducing head rests, special seat cushions that move forward to prevent “submarining” (or slipping under a seatbelt in a rear collision), among many, many other enhancements. Volvo has always been a safety leader in this respect, and others have followed, thankfully.
Our test drive this month is on the S60 T6 Drive-E version. There is an All-Wheel-Drive version for those who know they’ll be tackling dicey roads on a regular basis.
Ours had a Technology Package that included many desirable safety features, such as Electrical Power Assist Steering, with three levels of steering: low, which makes maneuvering easier; medium to offer more response at higher speeds; and high for a dynamic driving experience. Electrical Power Assist also includes a Lane Keeping Aid. This is a very interesting piece of technology. If you are drifting out of your lane – or not using your signal when you change a lane – the steering wheel shudders just enough to get your attention. If your movement is more determined, the wheel almost fights you back into the straight and narrow. In addition to warning you that you’re drifting, the feature has the side benefit of encouraging you to be a more courteous driver by using your signal more often, if only avoid the shuddering sensation.
Volvo also offers Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection technology. New advanced software and sensors help detect these obstacles and, if a collision between a cyclist or pedestrian is imminent, a warning is sounded and full braking power is applied.
The Volvo S60 also has a Park Assist camera, which makes it easier to spot items you might bump into while backing up, as well as an Enhanced Blind Spot Information System, Cross Traffic Alert, and even Speed Alert to let you know if you’re going over the limit. This was part of a Blind Spot Information System Package, an additional $900.
So, all those safety features aside, what’s under the hood? The S60 T6 Drive E model has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that features 240-horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, new for 2015.5. It has been paired with a new, eight-speed “Geartronic” automatic transmission. The turbo engine is a great thing to have when you find yourself pinched in tight traffic situations and you need to accelerate quickly to avoid potential problems. There is absolutely no hesitation here at hard acceleration, offering you plenty of peace of mind.
For the driver, visibility is excellent in all positions, and the seats are firm and very supportive. There are a lot of dials and buttons on the dashboard, which I think looks a little cluttered, but at least it’s all contained in the center area.
As for the interior, parents will like that there is a good amount of leg and headroom for your growing brood in the rear. The trunk’s cargo area is good-sized for a mid-sized sedan.
There’s no getting around it. The 2015.5 Volvo S60 is, like its predecessor, a fortress. You’ll feel protected from front to end, from top to bottom. That can be very reassuring, not only to parents, but to all who drive on our crazy roadways, where almost anything can happen.