2017 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Premier Road Test

Volvo has been very busy remaking its entire brand over the past few years. It started with a focus on powertrains, which saw
2017 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Premier
Still a very handsome sport-luxury sedan, the 2017 S60 also delivers a lot of value. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
its various five-cylinders and V6s gradually replaced by a lineup of efficient direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinders. Pricier trims went a step further by integrating both turbocharging and supercharging into the same 2.0-litre four, while the all-new award-winning XC90 SUV even has a plug-in hybrid version of the latter that’s good for a soul-stirring 400 horsepower.

That XC90 ushered in the second phase of Volvo’s metamorphosis, a wholesale brand-wide redesign that included an entirely new level of opulent luxury and future-tech feature sets. The XC90 was quickly followed by an entirely new mid-size luxury sedan dubbed S90 (replacing the S80), this model including a wagon variant named V90 (replacing the V70), plus an immediately more popular raised crossover model that-in Volvo tradition-goes by the name of V90 Cross Country (replacing the V70 Cross Country/XC70).

2017 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Premier
The S60 benefits from an aerodynamic four-door coupe-like profile. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
all of this is thoroughly exciting to anyone working for Volvo or supportive of the storied Swedish marque, the new 2018 XC60, which looks like a smaller interpretation of the XC90, will be most impactful to the entire industry when it goes on sale later this year, as it most certainly will become Volvo’s new sales leader.

This leaves the D-segment S60 being reviewed here, as well as its V60 and V60 Cross Country siblings, which I’ve reviewed previously, as the lone Volvo line yet to receive chief designer Thomas Ingenlath and company’s makeover (while the German-born ex-VW/Skoda/Audi designer simultaneously takes on the job of CEO for Volvo’s newly formed Polestar unit-with exciting future announcements, no doubt), plus of course an entire line of subcompact cars and SUVs that have yet to surface.

2017 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Premier
HID headlamps with LED signatures, narrow LED fog lamps, and beautiful 18-inch alloy wheels add to the S60 T6 AWD’s allure. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
not as new in styling or features as the updated models mentioned, the S60 is still very worthy of attention, especially for those who tend to hold onto their cars longer and therefore wouldn’t suffer from as much depreciation when the updated model arrives next year. It will ride on a new modular chassis architecture that Volvo will use exclusively. This current S60 reaches back seven years to when Ford sold the brand to China’s Geely, while the Volvo V3/Ford EUCD chassis it rides upon is 11 years old-coming into use with the S80-and has been shared with many Ford and Land Rover models since.

While I’m a big fan of Volvo’s new look, I must admit to still liking the current S60’s clean, uncluttered and especially aerodynamic design. It’s still elegantly sporty,
2017 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Premier
Volvo carries some of the S60’s taillight styling into its latest designs. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
if not the newest kid on the block. Unfortunately it sells into a premium sector that thrives on latest and greatest, hence why newer Volvo designs have mostly seen big boosts in sales (especially the XC90) and why this one has seen its once strong market share slowly and steadily erode from a high of 3,227 units in 2002 to an initial bump of 1,519 in 2011 and then a slightly higher blip to 1,525 in 2012, both after the redesigned version hit the road, to just 657 examples last year. There’s a silver lining in all of this downward dreariness, however. The previous low before this second-gen car arrived in 2010 was 208 units, meaning they’ve got a lot more to build upon this time around.
While most should agree the exterior sheetmetal is still plenty attractive, the cabin is particularly high in quality and designed with one part minimalism and another button-overkill,
2017 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Premier
The beautifully finished, high-quality S60 T6 AWD interior will impress. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
but being a fan of classic high-end audio equipment this works well for me. The majority of these buttons and knobs are clustered atop a unique floating centre stack, the latter still a lovely design element, and they’re positioned to make a lot of sense once acclimatized, especially the HVAC interface that’s basically a body pictograph (you don’t even need to speak Swedish to figure it out-or English for that matter).

Above that is a fully featured infotainment system with nice graphics and strong contrast for good depth of colour, and while not as impressive as the best-in-class tablet-style touchscreen interface found in the new XC90 and S90/V90 series, it’s quite serviceable and includes an available as-tested backup camera with active guidelines as well as accurate standard navigation with detailed mapping.

2017 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Premier
The S60 T6 balances luxury and performance ideally. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
more impressive is the S60’s fully configurable primary gauge cluster. Volvo was early to adopt this feature, which is now becoming more prevalent in competitors’ higher trims, and they did a very good job on this one. Its resolution quality is extremely good and the layout is both attractive and highly legible.

No matter the trim level the S60 delivers an upscale environment with superb attention to detail, very high quality padded soft synthetic surface treatments, tastefully applied satin-finished and brushed metals, and some of the best seats in the car industry. They’re upgraded to sport seats in T6 trim, and covered in high-grade leather with attractive contrast stitching around their edges, as are the door inserts and armrests.

Choosing the $47,350 T6 ($8,550 pricier than the base T5 FWD) means that Premier trim comes standard, its finery including proximity-sensing keyless access, stainless treadplates with embossed “VOLVO” branding, pushbutton ignition, an electromechanical parking brake, a tilt and telescopic leather-wrapped multifunction
2017 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Premier
Volvo was early in adopting configurable TFT instrument cluster technology, this attractive design an interior highlight. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
steering wheel, a leather and metal shift knob, rain-sensing wipers, a heatable windshield, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, Sensus infotainment, voice-recognition, navigation, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, satellite radio, power-adjustable heated front seats with three-way memory, “Sport” leather upholstery in no-cost optional “Off-Black”, “Beechwood” or “Soft Beige”, a powered glass sunroof, emergency “SOS” telematics, plus 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks and a centre pass-through for expanding the 340-litre (12 cubic-foot) trunk.

Additionally, the S60 T6’s exterior gets auto on/off HID headlamps, LED daytime running lights, LED fog lamps, LED turn signals integrated into the side mirror housings, attractive machine-finish 18-inch alloys on 235/40 all-seasons, Volvo City Safety pedestrian and/or cyclist detection with autonomous emergency braking, loads of additional active and passive safety features, and more.

2017 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Premier
The infotainment system’s navigation system worked flawlessly. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Bright Silver Metallic paint is an extra $900, while the dual HID headlamps with active cornering and headlight washers (which go towards earning the S60 a best-possible IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus rating) add $1,100 to the bottom line. My tester also included a $1,200 Convenience package with power retractable auto-dimming side mirrors, accent lighting, a rearview camera with guidelines, a HomeLink universal garage door opener, a digital compass, and a useful grocery bag holder that flips up from the cargo floor; while a $1,000 Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) package with blindspot monitoring plus front and rear parking sensors adds to its comprehensive safety suite.

Available options not featured on my loaner include a $1,000 set of “Portia” alloys;
2017 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Premier
With plenty of high-quality buttons and knobs, the S60’s floating centre stack is paradise for classic hi-fi fans. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
$425 worth of Piano Black Wood or Urbane Wood Inlays replacing the standard Charcoal décor; a $1,600 Technology package with Distance Alert (DA) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Queue Assist; a $1,350 Climate Package with a heatable steering wheel, an interior air quality system (IAQS) designed to automatically shut exterior vents upon detecting excess carbon monoxide, ozone, and other noxious gasses, a heated windshield, heated windshield washer nozzles, and heatable rear seats; plus a $1,500 Harman/Kardon audio system with Dirac Live sound staging, a 5×130-watt digital amplifier, Wi-Fi, and more (I’ve experienced this in other S60/V60s and it’s impressive).

Lastly, available accessories include a $2,160 rear seat entertainment system featuring dual eight-inch LCD touchscreens integrated in the backsides of the front head
2017 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Premier
The S60’s sculpted leather-covered sport seats are amongst the most comfortable in the biz. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
restraints, a DVD player, wireless headphones, a remote, and separate USB, SD and AUX ports; $140 rear side window sunshades; a $940 front blind-view camera; $700 aluminum side rocker scuff plates (these look really nice); a $540 rear deck lid spoiler; a $315 Protection package with rubber floor mats throughout; $1,400 Polestar Performance Software that “allows you to enjoy a faster, more precise and intuitive driving experience,” says Volvo;  and more.

I should probably also mention that a sportier $52,300 T6 AWD R-Design model is available, adding unique styling details, a different set of 18-inch alloys (with 19s available), plus a performance-tuned suspension with stiffer springs and dampers. Special sport seats, more contrast stitching throughout the cabin, additional aluminum trim, and a unique instrument cluster design go further to set the R-Design
2017 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Premier
Rear seat roominess is good and comfort is great. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
apart from the rest of the S60 line, although those wanting ultimate Volvo performance had better move up to the 367 horsepower $67,050 Polestar.

That’s another car for another time (finger’s crossed), but I must say my T6 model’s turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder made for a very energetic sport sedan thanks to 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of near immediate torque, plus standard AWD fed through a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic with manual mode and an engaging set of steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The combination makes for effortless highway passing performance too, while the standard Touring chassis provides one of the nicest rides in the industry that can easily double as a canyon carver when called upon. Again, turn to the Polestar if you want something more suitable to the track, but the off-the-rack T6 AWD would certainly fit my evenly balanced performance and luxury priorities more than adequately.

That it’s
2017 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Premier
The trunk can be upgraded with this handy flip-up grocery bag holder. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
also a wonderfully fuel-efficient powertrain is more than just a bonus, its five-cycle Transport Canada rating an impressive 10.9 L/100km in the city and 7.7 on the highway, which incidentally is only slightly thirstier than the 240 horsepower base T5 AWD engine’s 10.7 L/100km city rating and a notch better than its 7.8 highway number. Of note, the T5 FWD achieves a claimed 9.6 L/100km city and 7.0 highway.

Despite the S60’s age it’s hard not to like it. It’s still a great looking four-door sedan with the sporty, aerodynamic profile of a four-door coupe; it’s beautifully finished inside with electronic interfaces that are better than many of its peers; its standard and optional feature set is easily up to snuff; its performance is superb; comfort sublime; roominess about average for the class; overall quality above average; safety rating high; and value for money excellent. You should certainly take a closer look.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)