It's about time that Volvo has started taking India rather seriously as a potential market for luxury cars. And in-line with launching vehicles to rival BMWs, Mercs and Audis, Volvo has recently updated the S60 sedan for the Indian markets. It goes without saying that the R-design D4 S60, the model which we test drove startled and impressed the onlookers at the same time. To top it all, we got our hands on the S60 painted in a Blue shade, as borrowed from the much sportier Polestar sibling.
But is the Volvo all about looks and safety or does it pack some performance too, we find in our 2015 Volvo S60 review.
The cars from the Scandinavia were traditionally boxy and squarish and all about safety. But over the couple of years, Volvo did a Hyundai and changed their design language too, a language that reflects how far Volvo is willing to go in terms of the looks. The updated S60 R-Design is a living proof of it. The sedan can beat any of the German's design hands-down when it comes to the look.
The updated car gets a new front grille, a redesigned bumper, and a well sculpted hood, in addition with new headlights that now comes with LED running lights. The R-design is wider than the standard S60 and gets bigger alloys. Volvo has also decreased the ground clearance to give a sporty look as well as added performance to the R-Design S60. But a description of the exteriors will go incomplete without mentioning the color of the S60. Glazed in a "Rebel Blue" shade, as Volvo likes to call it and borrowed from the Polestar version, the S60 can be spotted from miles standing between the flock of cars.
Although the interiors still lack the panache of some of the German rivals, the seats makes it even- steven. This is by-far one of the most promising set of seats we have sat and tested. The thoughtful bolstering and ample support make you fall in for the seats alone, forget the looks and safety. Volvo cars are still untouched from the changing cabin designs. Volvo cars still reflect a no-nonsense clutter free language and the S60 is no different.
The cabin is done mostly in black with a touch of satin chrome here and there. The quiet and luxurious cabin helps you focus on driving and there are no MMIs or touchscreens. All you get is a cabin with brilliant seats that let you experience the 'Thrill of Driving' as they say. All-in-all, Volvo has made a pragmatic approach towards designing the cabin rather than following nay trend and all emphasis is made towards making the ride comfortable and easy.
Engine, Transmission and Performance
As contrary to the Euro-spec S60, Volvo only offers diesel engine in India. The Volvo S60 comes in two engine trims - a D4 and a D5. The R-design Volvo S60 we tested only comes with a D4 engine that is powered by a 1969cc four-cylinder turbocharged diesel unit that produces 181hp @ 4250rpm and 400Nm @ 1750-2500rpm. The power is sent to the front wheels via an eight speed automatic gearbox.
The engine feels peppy to drive, but kicks in only after 1500-2000rpm. The engine is not as grunty as the BMW 3-series 328i we tested a couple of weeks ago, and especially in the 'Sports' mode, but it surely compels you to push the throttle and get more out of the engine.
Ride and Handling
Volvo S60 is no BMW 3-series, but it has got a charm of its own. As soon as one associates the R-Design with a Volvo S60, a sense of performance kicks in. Even though, on the papers, the Volvo S60 is quicker than the 3-series, the overall ride is not as sporty as the 3-series, though it's dynamic enough to keep you engaged. What really reflects from the S60 R-Design is the fact that it is made for ridiculously long journeys. No matter how long the journey you are taking - the precise steering response, the cornering ability and the accommodating seats will ensure that you get the best of the car.
Safety and Features
Nothing beats a Volvo car when it comes to the safety aspects. It will be foolish of us to explain the safety equipments Volvo S60 houses, yet there are a couple of things discuss. As opposed to the European model, the India-spec S60 doesn't come with a Pedestrian Detection system, which depends on a radar, and our government norms don't allow radars on the cars. Apart from this, the S60 is fully loaded with the necessary safety features.
In terms of the equipment, Volvo S60 gets a multimedia screen that comes equipped with a navigation system and can also be used as an entertainment system. The instrument cluster is loaded with a color changing function that helps you choose between various color schemes, according to the mood and performance of the car.
Volvo S60 is a competent machine that is frugal, fast and composed. It's nothing extraordinary, but it's nothing dull. The engine is world-class, the safety is world-class and so are the looks world-class. The S60 is, infact, a right combination of everything - a machine that will dwell you into driving the car for long hours without even pounding on your back.