Review: 2013 Volvo S60 T5 AWD

Think Jekyll and Hyde. The 2013 S60 T5 AWD Premier Plus delivers all of Volvo’s safety stuff intuitively, so you can seize a thrilling ride.

First, Dr Jekyll’s safety stuff: All S60s include City Safety. The computer brakes automatically when it foresees a collision. At night, active bi-xenon lights curve with the road, pointing not frontwards but where the wheels are going. Clever. This tester included the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), which alerts you when someone’s in your blind spot.

Some of the safety stuff can tempt you to pay less attention to the road. As a friend put it, “This smarter they make cars, the stupider they make drivers.” However, if you’re driving the S60 T5 AWD, you’ll want to remain attentive because now we’ll review ride.

In sport mode, the 6-speed Geartronic transmission delivers a whole new car. Gears upshift sooner, magnifying acceleration speeds. “Greetings, Mr Hyde!” The touring chassis is balanced just so—firm enough to keep you alert but never bumpy.

A turbocharged 2.5L five-cylinder engine erupts at the speed of thought and spits out 250 ponies at 5,400 rpm. Over-boost turns a slingshot into a catapult, briefly increasing peak torque to 295 lb-ft in the higher gears from 266.

Better still, unlike most turbo engines, it takes regular gasoline.

With all that power, it sprints from 0 to 100 kph in 6.6 seconds but remains agile enough for bends and hills. Shift the S60’s dynamic stability and traction control into sport mode for some thrilling slip in the wheels.

Tasteful wooden accents and luxurious leather spoils up to four passengers but the cockpit anoints the driver king. The control panel arcs towards you. Everything’s a finger tap away.

A leaver release in the trunk lowers the 40/60 split backseats almost completely flat, multiplying the already plentiful 339 litres of cargo space. It’s yet another Jekyll/Hyde switch that can almost turn the S60 into an ute.

Base price: S60 T5 Premier Plus $43,150
All-Wheel Drive with Instant Traction $2,400
Caspian Blue metallic paint $800
BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) $800
Freight: $1,715
Price as tested: $47,150 + Freight and taxes

Image courtesy of Volvo Cars.
Though a co-owner and former editor of DailyXY, Steven Bochenek is actually an advertising writer who does some journalism on the side. In 2011 he was accepted into the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. His other interests include playing music, long-distance running, skiing and writing in the third person.

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