By undercutting the T4 by £1550, the T3 does make a case as the cheapest route into Volvo’s R-Design
Quiet, refined and a smooth revver, the T3 provides modest progress in the S60
It’s a tasty alternative to the ubiquitous ‘Sport’ favoured by the opposition
Respectable load space, which competes with rivals
1.6-litre engine will propell it to 60mph in 9.0 seconds
R-Design Premium includes sat-nav, DAB radio and a very stylish interior
Has flourishes of brightwork and seat trim that mixes leather and technical materials
What is it?
Sports saloons powered by 150bhp petrol engines used to sell in bucketloads. But the harsh reality of rising fuel prices and CO2-based taxes has sidelined them in favour of diesel engines as the powerplants of choice and the entry point into a range.
Such is the life of the new 148bhp Volvo S60 T3, now the entrée into Volvo’s handsome 3-series chaser at £22,495 in basic-spec ES trim.
What’s it like?
Powered by Ford’s 1.6-litre turbo Ecoboost, just launched in the new C-Max, Volvo carries over the bulk of the engine with minor changes. This is limited to a redesigned induction system to free up clearance under the bonnet to improve pedestrian impact protection and a retuned engine management system to suit the S60.
Quiet, refined and a smooth revver, the T3 provides modest progress in the S60; there’s no escaping the fact that the extra 30 horses generated by the higher-boost T4 version make the latter the more enjoyable drive.
However, by undercutting the T4 by £1550, the T3 does make a case as the cheapest route into Volvo’s R-Design trim, it’s a tasty alternative to the ubiquitous ‘Sport’ favoured by the opposition.
R-Design Premium includes sat-nav, DAB radio and a very stylish interior, with flourishes of brightwork and seat trim that mixes leather, technical materials and contrasting stitching.
Also standard on the R-Design are 18in wheels and a heavier-feeling power steering tune, and they do add a beefier feel to the experience. But the effect is mostly psychological; the standard steering on SEs feels more direct and better matched to the T3’s relaxed performance.
Should I buy one?
So there are real financial reasons to plump for a T3, and in these harsh financial times that may be sufficiently persuasive, but if budget allows, we prefer the punchier T4.
Volvo S60 1.6 T3
Price: £26,380; Top speed: 130mph; 0-60mph: 9.0sec; Economy: 42.8mpg; CO2: 152g/km; Kerb weight; 1497kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1595cc, turbo, petrol; Power: 148bhp at 5700rpm; Torque: 177lb ft at 1600rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual