I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up the keys to the Volvo S60 T5 R-Design sedan. This was the first Volvo sedan I’d driven for a very long time, and while the XC60 T6 R-Design had given me my first taste of a new Volvo I was very keen to see how the S60 shaped up.
From the moment I saw it I could feel the excitement raise a little, I mean this is one good looking car.
The S60 has a very sleek look to it, the addition of the R-Design package takes it to another level.
The R-Design frontend features larger air intakes, the addition of DRL’s and wide mouthed black grille combine with the wonderfully shaped dual Xenon lights give the S60 an aggressive I mean business look.
The sloping roof line and beautiful curvy rear quarter lead to the back end with R-Design rear diffuser and twin tail pipes.
Riding on the optional 19inch IXION R-Design diamond cut dark
grey alloy wheels wrapped in sticky Bridgestone Potenza tyres the S60 T5 R-Design is extremely attractive from every angle.
I mean it attracted attention everywhere I went and that just wasn’t because of the bright red paint work.
While on previous models of the S60 T5 badge stood for a ford sourced 5 cylinder engine. 2014 saw the release of the first new Volvo designed Drive-E 4 cyl engines since ford sold Volvo in 2010.
The T5 features a turbo 2.0L 4cyl co developed by Volvo and Polestar featuring direct injection it puts out 180kW and a healthy 350Nm of torque. Not only does it have improved power and torque over the previous 5 cyl but it offers a great improvement in fuel economy as well.
The exhaust note is the only thing that’s not impressive about this engine as it can sound very similar to a diesel at low revs.
Performance wise though its might impressive it will more than keep up with traffic without breaking a sweat.
Should you put your foot down then it responds with excellent acceleration and it’s responsive at any speed thanks partly to the wonderful 8 speed auto.
One feature of the new Drive-E engine is the stop start feature which switches the engine off when you stop to save fuel, the economy is rather good indeed.
During the week I had the car I averaged between 12.3L/100km and 16L/100km which was just plan city driving as I didn’t get a chance to take it onto the open road. I know you can definitely do a lot better than did but I wasn’t trying to maximize economy.
The wonderful 8 speed auto I mentioned before shifts extremely quick and smooth, move it into sports mode and you can take advantage of the engines torque band.
Using the paddle shifts to explore the transmission more can be rewarding although it won’t let you rev past 6000rpm.
On the road the R-Design sports chassis is stiff but unfortunately I found it a little jiggly over some bumps especially on some of Sydney’s typical crappy B roads.
On the smoother roads though the S60 T5 R-Design is extremely well sorted and rewarding to drive the steering is a touch heavy but is responsive and decently weighted and I liked its feel.
On the inside you are met with luxury the R-Designed leather front seats not only offer great support while cornering but a comfortable as well I got the feeling they would be great on a long distance drive.
The fit and finish and quality of the interior surfaces and materials just scream premium opulence.
The leather R-Design sports steering wheel is extremely comfortable to hold and was the perfect thickness for me.
It contains controls for the audio system, adaptive cruise control and hands free blue tooth.
The instrument panel is Volvo’s Adapted Digital Display which also features in the XC60 I tested the week before.
It has 3 different coloured themes to choose from.
Elegance which has a nice blue and black tone, Eco which is a green and my favourite scheme performance which is red.
The performance scheme gives you a large tacho with a digital speedo in the middle, flanking that to the right a power metre and to the left a temp gauge which is replaced by a gauge showing you what speed you have set the cruise control on when you’re using it. I really like the setup of this display and it has to be one of the best looking instrument panels I’ve seen.
The sculpture dash covered in soft touch material leads you to the centre stack which contains the 7 inch colour screen for Volvo’s Sensus Premium Sound Multimedia system.
I really like the system and it allows you to access what seems like an endless amount of settings for the car.
By selecting MY Car you get access to things such as the City Safety, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection, Driver Alert Control, Lane Keeping Aid, Radar Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), Road Sign Information (RSI), lights, door mirrors, climate, central locking, audio and phone. The system also offers full Bluetooth connectivity and live audio streaming from your phone, AM/FM radio, CD/DVD, USB, AUX and full iwhatever connectivity.
The sat nav has voice control and works great, the system will also allow you to connect to the net by WIFI or by Bluetooth using your phones net connection. Although for some reason the only way I could get it to work was to set my phone up as a WIFI hotspot.
My only beef with the system is it’s a bit fiddly to use and not quite as good as some of the touch screen systems I’ve used.
The back seat offers plenty of legroom and is extremely comfortable, boot space is not but this car came with the optional space saver spare which is mounted on the floor which does eat into your boot space.
Volvo is a world leader in vehicle safety and you would expect this car has list of features longer than your arm including.
City Safety, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC), Advanced
Stability Control (ASC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Ready Brake Alert (RBA), Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA) with Electronic Brake
Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and Emergency
Brake Lights with hazard light activation, Advance Stability Control
(ASC); driver and front passenger dual-stage airbags front, Curtain airbags, Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) including SIPS airbags in front seats, Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), Intelligent Driver Information Sysnet (IDIS), three-point seatbelts, head restraints, anti-submarining, seatbelt pre tensioners and reminders on all seats, rear parking camera, rear parking sensors.
This car came with the optional driver support package which adds Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert, Driver Alert System (Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Aid, Active High Beam Control, Forward Collision Warning and Road Sign Information), Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning
with Full Autbrake, Front and rear parking sensors, Auto dim rear view mirror and side mirrors to the already massive safety feature list.
After a week I found the Volvo S60 T5 R-Design to be a great car it drives, steers and handles well. There are more safety features than you can pole a stick at.
Volvo’s new turbo 2.0L Drive-E engine is great, it’s wide torque band backed by a great 8 speed auto provides you with a wonderfully entertaining drive when you have that in mind. But will also return decent fuel economy when driven sedately.
The only issues I did have was while the start stop system is great for saving fuel it can be a bit intrusive at time, the Sensus system while loaded with features and providing great sound was a touch fiddly.
The ride can be a touch busy at times on roads that aren’t smooth the up side to that is the great handling specially when cornering.
Volvo are hoping this car can take it up to its German rivals in the luxury sports sedan and after my week in the S60 T5 R-Design I think they up there specially when it comes to the fit, finish and quality of the materials used on the interior.
If you’re looking for a mid size sedan that is packed full of safety features, can return decent economy but deliver you a great drive then you should be taking a look at the Volvo S60 T5 R-Design.
For full details on Volvo’s S60 range check out their website http://www.volvocars.com/au