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Quick Drive: 2014 Volvo S60 T5

Kamil Kaluski November 8, 2013 Featured, Volvo Reviews 19 Comments

2014 Volvo S60 (4)

Volvo is in midst of undergoing a slow revolution after being sold by Ford. Company spokesperson used Jaguar and Land Rover as examples of companies (now one company) that have undergone a similar revolution with great results. Volvo’s first step in this revolution was to mildly refresh their existing line of cars, which will be followed by new engines, and new models in form of the V60 sport wagon and XC90 SUV.

The updated 2014 S60 features a new hood and fenders, headlights with obligatory LED light bars, and new wheel designs round up the exterior changes. Inside is a new gauge cluster which is now a TFT display and the seats received minor improvements, possibly going from really comfortable to really really comfortable. It wouldn’t be Volvo if there weren’t new safety devices, such as cyclist and pedestrian detection.

2014 Volvo S60 front rear

The 2.5-liter turbocharged 250hp five cylinder engine in the T5 version of the S60 (T6 comes with a 300hp 3.0 in-line six) is matched up to a six-speed automatic transmission, the only choice. The engine feels very torque-y with minimal turbo lag but it does not like to rev high high. The transmission is smooth in normal mode, but not always in the most desirable gear. When in sport mode, the transmission shifts can be jerky but it goes like it should.

The S60 is fun to drive; chassis of this Sport Package-equipped vehicle feels stiff and the suspension is just right allowing for a comfortable ride and fun when the road gets twisty, too. However, the car feels under-tired, for the lack of better professional/industry terms. Even with its great suspension, the S60 does not give a very high limits when driven a little harder; it understeers easily and has a lot of torque-steer under power making hard driving frustrating. Get better tires.

2014 Volvo S60 (9)

Volvo has always done great job on the interiors, and the S60 is no exception, if feeling a little dated. The center stack screen could be bigger, faster, and the buttons bigger and arranged more functionally, rather than fashionably. The interior materials look much better than they feel, but overall everything is nicely executed. Seats for all are comfortable for all occupants, but the headrests are pushing against the back of the head a bit too much which some may find annoying, especially on longer drives.

Seeing how Volvo has always been associated with safety, it was surprising to find that not all of its safety features were standard. Yes, all S60s are equipped with industry standard airbags, stability and traction controls, and other devices. Optional features are things that are relatively new to the industry; pedestrian detection, active headlights, blind spot detection, collision warning, and auto-brake systems. If Volvo wants to be safety leader they should make all safety-related features standard on all of their models, like Subaru did with the AWD.

2014 Volvo S60 (10)

While being very nice overall, the Volvo S60, even with its minor updates, is showing its age. Being in a very competitive class, its as-tested price of $38,000 does not help things. While the base car starts at around $33,000, Volvo is asking over $46,000 for a fully loaded S60 T6 R-Design. That price, while high, is in line with its competition: BMW 3-series, Lexus IS, Audi A4, or Infiniti Q50. The difference is that all of those vehicles are significantly more modern than the S60. Volvo knows this and they have a planned revolution for the brand, and I for one am looking for more sporty longroofs.

2014 Volvo S60 (6)

[Images: Copyright 2013 Redusernab/Kamil Kaluski]

  • Sjalabais

    Just one thing that makes me smile still: Orange seats! Cool that Volvo doesn't abandon this oddity.

    • Agreed. I am so discouraged about how a black interior is the only choice in so many cars these days.

  • GTXcellent

    " Inside is a new gauge cluster which is now a TFT display…" I had to read this 5 times before I realized it wasn't a WTF display.

    It is clearly Friday afternoon.

    • HSA❄

      Are you sure it actually isn't? TFT displays quite often show WTF content.

      • So much so, that Jeep is recalling theirs.

        • Sjalabais

          I got caught up in this sentence instead:

          "Seeing how Volvo has always been associated with safety, it was surprising to find that all of its safety features were not standard."

          Meaning no safety features are standard?


          • I wrote this on a Friday.

          • MVEilenstein

            A Volvo with no safety features as standard is just a Yugo.

            • Sjalabais

              I gave you a green thumb and I don't even know why.

              • MVEilenstein

                I thank you all the same.

  • wunno sev

    i liked the four-eye S60! this just looks like an undersized maxima….

  • Van_Sarockin

    Those optional safety items seem all to be there to correct for driver inattention. That is pernicious. Volvo's safety cred was based on occupant protection, and these items don't assist that. They are also expensive, complicated, and prone to expensive breakage and failure. Better protection could be provided less expensively if Volvo provided vouchers to send drivers to driving education courses.

  • craigsu

    "The center stack screen could be bigger, faster, and the buttons bigger and arranged more functionally, rather than fashionably." I know you wrote this on a Friday, but what do you mean by "faster"? I can't say I've ever heard of a center stack being described this way.

    Segue, I'm trying to steer my daughter toward a used S60 instead of an Accord or Camry for a couple of reasons:

    1. The S60 is considerably cheaper as a used option and generally has a higher level of interior appointments by comparison.
    2. Our indie Volvo specialist is fantastic and there's a lot to be said for a good owner/mechanic relationship.

    If, however, my 90-year-old mother-in-law's 2007 Accord "suddenly" becomes available it might be gifted to her which I certainly wouldn't argue with. It has very low miles on it and, apart from some minor paint scraping on the front bumper valance, it's pristine. The daughter's driving our Saab 9-3 hatch at the moment which we'll be looking to get rid of in favor of a Volvo V70 when she gets her own car. That will go to the wife and I will DD our other car which is a '91 240 wagon.

    • Press a button, wait a second.
      Press another button, wait another second.
      Press a third button, wait two seconds.
      It's far from its competition.

      • craigsu

        OK, that makes sense. Upon further review, the center vent looks to be larger than the screen.

        <img src="; width="600">
        Image from Car & Driver

        • I do my best to be honest and fair when I write these up, and factual!

    • Sjalabais

      The S60 is cheaper than a Camry or Accord? Wow…what a blow to "premium" self-consciousness in Gothenburg!

      • duurtlang_

        The American car market is a curious place to an outsider like myself.

    • FuzzyPlushroom

      Funny… the woman I got my NG900 hatch from didn't need it anymore because her mother was hanging up the keys to her '07ish Accord, and gave her the car.

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