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Review – 2021 Volvo S60

Although the third-generation Volvo S60 is a little late to the party, that doesn’t dampen the excitement of its launch in India. The pandemic was partly one of the reasons this car is behind its scheduled launch, and then, there’s the fact that SUVs are all the rage these days. Now while there may be some very tough contenders in ring from Germany, the Swedish S60 might just stand a chance. Well, let’s not write it off right away; instead, let’s take for a spin to see if it has what luxury sedan buyers are looking for?

Swede looker

We’re already big fans of its design, for it looks like a scaled-down version of the S90. The previous-generation looked good too, but these new models have a simplicity to them that lure a lot of buyers. The new S60 is based on Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture platform that underpins all the new Volvo cars on the market today. The brand’s design philosophy is evident in those LED headlights with Thor’s hammer-shaped DRLs, a classy looking grille, giving it an identical face to the S90’s. Along the sides, is where you’ll find the difference. The car is shorter, so the roof slopes down earlier. The tail looks edgier and sportier, even. It also gets those lovely C-shaped LED tail lights. The S60 is elegant and sporty, both. And it’s genuinely the nicest looking in its segment.

Swede interior

You get three interior colour options to choose from. The car we’re driving has an all-black cabin trim. The dashboard design isn’t particularly fresh to the eye; so are other elements around. And right in the middle of the dashboard, lies the vertically stacked 9.0-inch Sensus touchscreen. It works extremely well, and touch response and user-friendliness make the experience great. The screen includes lots of controls, that includes the aircon settings. And this gives the dashboard a very clutter-free look. However, it takes a lot of learning to get accustomed to the screen’s many functions. It also features a Harman Kardon sound system and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

The fit and finish levels are great, particularly with the top of the dashboard stitched in leather. But there are some hard plastics around. The front seats are comfortable and provide great support. The rear seats too offer fantastic comfort, with lots of legroom on offer. However, headroom is limited due to the sloping roofline. You’re seated quite low at the rear, the transmission hump in the middle means only two occupants can sit in comfort. You also get four-zone air-conditioning.

Swede power

The new will be sold solely with a petrol engine: the familiar 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol engine that also does duty in the XC40 SUV. It produces 188bhp and 300Nm of torque, with power being transmitted to the front wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Coming to performance, the S60 is a quick car and power is delivered in a linear manner. The motor pulls strongly, and refinement levels are impressive. And while the gear shifts are smooth, it tends to feel a bit sluggish. Three driving modes feature here: Eco, Comfort and Dynamic.

There are no adaptive dampers on offer, but the double-wishbones at the front and integrally liked rear axle are a perfect setup. The ride is a bit firm, but not to the extent of making occupants uneasy. And the ride quality isn’t all that bad either, thanks to the high-profile tyres. The cabin is beautifully insulated, meaning you have a quiet ride to the office. Around corners, the car stays glued, and the steering is nice and direct. Safety tech includes lane keeping aid, City Safety systems and the lot.

A Swede deal?

The lack of a diesel option is a bit unnerving to know, but we’re sure the new S60 will find many homes, because of its understated design, good ride and handling dynamics and a comfortable back seat. But all of this also boils down to the pricing of the S60. We’ll have to wait till March 2021 for the prices to be announced though. Also, read the latest car comparisons in India, only at autoX.

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