The Volvo S60 is a thinking man's car, writes car reviewer Tim Barnes-Clay, who is impressed with the Swedish motor's revamped design and fuel efficiency.
Volvo has never had the same appeal as its German executive cousins.
It has never looked as aggressive as an Audi, nor as brutal as a BMW or as mean as a Mercedes-Benz.
But this is a good thing. You see, the Swedish marque does things its own way.
It goes to the heart of why motorists opt for Volvo - even though they could, for the same money, afford something a little sexier.
Volvo S60: A thinking man's car
Take the Volvo S60 - it's very much a thinking man's car.
It offers some of the most restful, supportive and sumptuous seats on the automotive market.
These are seats you can imagine a university professor sinking into before lighting his pipe and mulling over the day's events.
It's the kind of car said professor will then cruise back home in while listening to Classic FM. Do you see where I'm going here?
Scandinavian design pleasing
The S60 is by no means boring though: it can still satisfy your pleasure sensors.
Let's face it, Scandinavian design is generally pleasing. This is evident in the redesigned interior and exterior of the latest S60.
Step inside and materials such as wood and leather and the easy-to-use controls contribute to an overall warm and cosy effect, like being in a Swedish house on a cold night.
The car's colour themes correspond beautifully with the backlit white controls in the dash and elsewhere in the vehicle.
New design increases road presence
On the outside, the road presence of the Volvo S60 has been increased by a new front design.
The more focused and determined-looking headlamps help create an expressive face. And the car's horizontal lines at both the front and rear have been emphasised.
Together with details such as a wider grille, daylight running lights and LED tail lamps, they give the S60 a handsome, road-hugging presence.
The Volvo saloon has a beauty that appears rooted in the natural world. The clean surfaces and contours give it a very classy feel.
Enhancements for the Volvo S60 include "Sensus" - the name Volvo uses for all its HMI (Human Machine Interface) functionality, and the all-new Sensus Connected Touch accessory is the latest addition.
It enables connectivity and internet in the car, and turns the seven-inch display into a state-of-the-art touchscreen that can be used even when wearing gloves - a world first in cars and handy in winter.
Connection is made either via a car-mounted 3G/4G dongle or your mobile phone.
It allows you access to full internet browsing (except when driving), internet streaming of music, Google Map and Search, weather information, an app store for new functions and updates as well as a Volvo service locator.
It is also possible to share a WiFi network with everyone in the car.
Volvo is certainly pushing at the technological boundaries now and that's including one very important area of motoring: fuel efficiency.
The fuel consumption of the S60 D2 diesel, on test here with a manual gearbox, has been improved to a class-leading 72.4 mpg, translating into CO2 emissions of only 103 g/km.
With environmental credentials like these, any self-respecting, Volvo-driving university professor will have to put his pipe out now.
Volvo S60: Pros & cons
- Comfort √
- Emissions √
- Economy √
- Cabin √
- Image X
Volvo S60: Fast facts
- Max speed: 121 mph
- 0-62 mph: 10.9 secs
- Combined mpg: 72.4
- Engine: 1560 cc 4 cylinder 8 valve turbo diesel
- Max. power (bhp): 113 at 3600 rpm
- Max. torque (lb/ft): 199 at 1750 rpm
- CO2: 103 g/km
- Price: £26,545 on the road
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