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Even in cheaper form, the 2021 Volvo S60 delights, mostly

Scott Sturgis, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Automotive News

2021 Volvo S60 T5 Momentum FWD: Is the less expensive Volvo worth trying?

Price: $46,240 as tested. Premium Package added cross traffic alert with auto brake, blind-spot monitoring, and more for $2,050; the Advanced Package added 360 camera, active bending LED headlights, and more for $2,500; heated front seats and steering wheel, $750; 19-inch wheels, $800; metallic paint, $645. More noted below.

Conventional wisdom: Car and Driver likes the "exquisite cabin experience, plentiful standard features, surprisingly engaging to drive," but not that the "front-drive S60 is too mild, frustrating infotainment interaction, lacks tactility."

Marketer's pitch: "For the road. For the planet."

Reality: Definitely nice to drive and comfortable, but a not-so-funny thing happened on the way to this review.

What's new: Volvo granted the S60 a redesign for the 2019 model year, with a high-performance engine in the T6 model (not tested), with available all-wheel drive. The sedan now is built on the company's scalable architecture platform, and it's the first Volvo built in the States. The company also offers a hybrid version known as the S60 Recharge as well.

 

Up to speed: But here in the "cheap" seats, the T5′s 2.0-liter turbo creates just 250 horsepower for the front-wheel-drive T5 tested, not an astounding number for a sedan. (The all-wheel-drive T6 gets a boost to 316 horses.) Still, even the tamer S60 left a strong impression, blasting from standing starts and up to high speeds in a hurry, with just a touch of turbo hesitation here and there. MotorWeek reports 60 mph comes in 6.2 seconds, which is not slouch material; Car and Driver puts the T6 at 5.1, so pay more for that trim level when every second counts.

Shifty: Either version comes with a shiftable 8-speed automatic. The gearbox functions well in both shift and automatic modes.

On the curves: We had the chance to take the S60 up north, as Grandma Sturgis 1.0 marked 86 revolutions on the planet. The S60 provided a delightful ride on highways and country roads, up hills and on curves. The tires did not provide a tremendous grip on rain-slicked roads, though, so slow it down.

The drive was fast and fine in comfort mode, and individual and dynamic didn't make things feel that much better, just rougher.

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