THE GÖTEBORG-TO-GEELY EXPRESS
2016 Volvo S60 T5 Drive-E Inscription Platinum 2.0 Turbo
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Mon, Feb 29, 2016
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By Harvey Schwartz
When Ford sold Volvo car brand (the Swedes still build heavy trucks) to Zhejiang Geely Holding Company for $1.5 billion, the automotive world held its collective breath wondering what will come out of it. The new, 2016 Volvo S60 T5 Drive-E Inscription Platinum is the latest arrival to our shores from the new manufacturing facility in China. Geely watches the purse and machines, Göteborg handles design. The overall result? Impressive.
The S60 Inscription rides on a longer wheelbase. Exterior panels from the A-pillars forward including the hood, front fenders and fascia are new. So is a new (wider) grille with a larger ironmark, redesigned headlamps, a larger front air intake, and horizontally mounted LED daytime running lights. Under the rubric “wider is better when competing in the luxury sedan category” rear LED taillights, chrome strip, rectangular dual exhaust pipes create powerful road presence. A-pillars are steeply raked, there is full-perimeter chrome strip, pull-out door handles match the color, and sideview mirrors can be folded, heated, dimmed and sautéed (Okay, skip the last one.) Wheelbase has been extended only three inches but this Swede bursting with performance, luxury, comfort, connectivity and safety features is not only a pleasure to drive, but the car itself can compete with sedans costing thousands of dollars more.
The S60 is pulled around by a 2.0 liter, turbocharged/intercooled, DOHC, inline 4-cylinder aluminum block and head engine. This powerplant reaches its maximum 240 horsepower output at 5,600 rpm but provides 90 percent of its 258 pound-feet of torque from 1,500 to 4,800 rpm. Once transferred to the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic ‘Geartronic’ transmission with a sport mode, the collective oomph will propel the car from 0-60mph in 6.0 seconds. Direct Injection, and VVT are there to assist.
Corner Traction Control and Volvo’s Torque Vectoring system will keep the sedan planted on the pavement when pushing the limit on curving roads. But the S60 is a Volvo after all, and proudly carries a planet-saving imprimatur through its Nordic origins. Volvo-developed Drive-E ECO+ fuel-saving technology is designed to optimize shift points, engine control and throttle response. A push on a center console button brings the ECO+ which can improve fuel economy by up to five percent. The ECO+ includes Start/Stop which shuts down the engine at 4mph as the car coasts to a stop. There is ECO-coast which is enabling the vehicle to coast - the engine ‘brake’ is disengaged and engine speed drops to idle when pressure on the throttle is released. If one does not mind heat, ECO-climate disconnects the AC compressor to reduce auxiliary loads. For those sensitive to the effects of global warming, however, pressing the AC button will restart cooling, or the driver can deactivate ECO+. These innovations, together with the 2.0 liter engine and eight-speed automatic helped me get 42mpg on the highway and 32mpg in the city, according to the trip computer. I did drive moderately, but traveled at 75mph on the highway when traffic permitted.
The S60’s legs are fully independent. The suspension system will smooth out poorly paved roads when the S60 is pushed to its speed limits. A MacPherson front strut setup with asymmetrically mounted coil springs, hydraulic shocks and a thick stabilizer bar keeps order up front. Multi-links, coil springs, hydraulic shocks and stabilizer bar take care of the rear. At no time did I feel an iota of anxiety be it at high speeds on the highway, maneuvering around crawling city traffic, or challenging steep curves.
Volvo’s electrical power assist rack and pinion steering can be set to Comfort or Sport. This allows me to set the weight and reaction time to my current mood and driving conditions (which brings an interesting quandary: what happens if my current mood is not suitable for the driving conditions?) Lest I get endangered by my not-so theoretical internal conflict, Volvo shod the S60 with 4-wheel, power-assisted 11.8 inch steel vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers in the front, and 11.9 inch solid discs single-piston calipers in the rear. When driving on wet or slick pavement, or braking hard and often, Ready Alert Brakes, Fading Brake Support, ABS, and BA further protect me from meeting my Waterloo (ABBA, however, is not included.) Between the driver Mother Earth are large, 18 X 8 inch, diamond-cut ‘Titania’ alloy wheels wrapped with Pirelli P7 235/40 R 18 performance tires.
The interior is pure luxury and comfort and the extra three inches help. Power front bucket seats are leather and deeply cut. With eight-way adjustments anybody in the front will be snug and comfortable whatever the length of the trip or the level of lateral force. More leather resides on the doors and the dashboard. Inlays on the doors and center console are real linear walnut. All buttons, dials and switches are backed with metal. Center display and air vents are trimmed in aluminum. The steering wheel is thick, wrapped in leather, and has both tilt and telescopic control.
The list of standard features is so long it would require Jack Kerouac’s approach to writing. (Before writing his autobiographical work “On the Road,” Kerouac cut sheets of paper into long strips, wide enough for a typewriter, and taped them together into a 120-foot long roll which he then fed into the machine. We now use computers, but still…). More notable items include Volvo On-Cal, 10-year Emergency Crash Notification, rain-sensing wipers/washers/headlight washers, power rear sunshade with manual side rear sunshades. In the safety department (this is Volvo after all) one can find collision warning including pedestrian/cyclist detection with auto brake, distance alert, driver alert control, lane keeping aid, road sign information and active high beams. Once this Swede returns to base the driver can utilize HomeLink garage door opener, and grocery bag holder.
Taking delivery of the test 2016 Volvo S60 T5 Inscription and learning it was ‘Made in China’ would leave any reviewer with a sense of foreboding. But after a week-long test drive I can confirm that this is one of the best-looking, and best- performing mid-size sedan on the market, with all of the comfort, luxury, connectivity and safety of any of her (its?) competitors. One test drive and the term “origin” on the sticker gets more and more blurry. You’d swear you saw the glimpse of the word ‘Germany’ inscribed somewhere.
Zoran Segina contributed to this article. © Photographs by Harvey Schwartz For more information about Volvo cars, go to volvocars.com. SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2016 Volvo S60 T5 Drive-E Incription Platinum 2.0 Turbo Price: $45,925.00 Platinum including Destination EPA mileage estimates (miles per gallon): 25 city/37 highway/30 combined Engine type: 2.0 liter, turbocharged/intercooled, DOHC, inline 4-cylinder aluminum block and head gasoline engine. Horsepower: 240 at 5,600 rpm Torque: 258 pound-feet at 4,800 rpm Drive configuration: Front-wheel drive Brakes Front: 4-wheel, power-assisted 11.8 inch steel vented discs with dual-piston calipers Rear: 11.9 inch solid discs single-piston calipers. Dimensions Height: 58.4 inches Length: 182.5 inches Width: 73.4 inches Curb weight: 3433 pounds