From £20,520
Most affordable, entry-level model is appealing, but other engines are a better drive

Our Verdict

Volvo S60
The Volvo S60 is offered with an impressive new D4 diesel engine

An all-new diesel engine aims to give the S60 saloon class-leading stats

16 February 2011

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

Join the debate

Comments
8

22 February 2011

I understand that R-Design Volvos look good in pictures (much better than most "sport" versions), but perhaps Volvo should supply an "ES" or an "SE" for testing? That way you miss out on the "what? £30k for a volvo?" comments of the SE Lux, whilst also maintaining some of the ride quality before you stick 29" R-design alloy penis extensions on. The ES and SE models are also surprisingly well equipped and look almost identical inside (which is a good thing).

23 February 2011

Was the car tested an auto box or was that just the car used for the photo shoot? Come to that, is it available as a manual or is this another car that has been designed for auto only?

It strikes me, that whilst it wouldn't be much quicker in manual form, it may be a lot more interesting to drive and avoid the "relaxed performance" feeling described in the test.

Also, nothing about the ride and handling?

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

23 February 2011

This is a great design inside and out and Volvo deserve success with it.Like many other cars i would worry about the ride and handling with too large alloys.

23 February 2011

Over £26k for a 1.6litre car which isn't very fast nor delivers great fuel consumption?

I bought an S60 in 2003 - 2.0T SE which at that time came equiped with full leather, cruise, dolby surround-sound hi-fi etc. The list price was around £22k, I picked mine up from a main Volvo dealer, ex-volvo management car with 2k miles on it, 6 months old for £14,000. The S60 was always a high depreciating car.

If Volvo don't provide equally massive discounts on this car, I reckon the new S60 in petrol form at least, could be one of the worst financial decisions you make.

23 February 2011

[quote ronmcdonald]Over £26k for a 1.6litre car which isn't very fast nor delivers great fuel consumption?[/quote]

A 1.6 litre that produces more than the 2.4 litre used to in the S80 etc (140bhp version) - as well as a huge whack of torque. 9 seconds 0-60 isn't too shabby.

Regarding price - the S60 T3 150 ES is £22.5k, which really isn't too bad. With 5 seconds of internet checking you can get that for over £4k off, at a little over £18k. Indeed this R-Design model is around £20.5k. 18k for a fast enough, very attractive and different car isn't too bad at all.

Over 40mpg from a car this size with a 150bhp doesn't strike me as particularly bad either. Just 10 years ago you'd have been looking at 30-35 mpg for a 150hp petrol saloon, now you're looking at 40-45.

23 February 2011

[quote theonlydt]

[quote ronmcdonald]Over £26k for a 1.6litre car which isn't very fast nor delivers great fuel consumption?[/quote]

A 1.6 litre that produces more than the 2.4 litre used to in the S80 etc (140bhp version) - as well as a huge whack of torque. 9 seconds 0-60 isn't too shabby.

Regarding price - the S60 T3 150 ES is £22.5k, which really isn't too bad. With 5 seconds of internet checking you can get that for over £4k off, at a little over £18k. Indeed this R-Design model is around £20.5k. 18k for a fast enough, very attractive and different car isn't too bad at all.

Over 40mpg from a car this size with a 150bhp doesn't strike me as particularly bad either. Just 10 years ago you'd have been looking at 30-35 mpg for a 150hp petrol saloon, now you're looking at 40-45.

[/quote] In our experience Volvo fuel figures are utterly unrealistic, maybe this is the best S60 - I like the colour, the performance seems adequate, the boot looks better than our BMW 320's and I'm sure the Mrs would like it. Maybe we should have a look our 170bhp 320i has been thirsty and frustratingly never wants to change into a high gear like most BMW autos.

24 February 2011

[quote Autocar]Sports saloons powered by 150bhp petrol engines used to sell in bucketloads.[/quote]

Yes, but they didn't weigh 1.5 tonnes.

25 February 2011

It will be a great day when Volvo no longer use any Ford components.

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