Volvos newest model is the S60, a front-drive sedan with sporty styling that is uncharacteristic of the brand. Volvo also is taking a different path in launching the S60 by using the Internet as its main venue for reaching customers instead of television and print media.
The S60 replaces last years S70 sedan as Volvos midlevel model, fitting between the entry-level S40 and top-shelf S80. Volvo positions the S60 as a sportier sedan than the S70 and targets European rivals such as the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.
Ford purchased Volvo last year and now includes this Swedish-based manufacturer in its Premier Automotive Group, which encompasses the Lincoln, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Land Rover brands. Volvo developed the S60 before Ford bought the company.
A low hood, short front and rear overhang, and sloping rear roof pillars give the curvy S60 sedan the look of a coupe and styling that is a marked departure from the S70 it replaces. Volvo calls it a coupe with four doors. The trademark Volvo grille is more compact and flanked by aerodynamic headlights.
The S60 is based on the S80s front-drive platform and bears a family resemblance but is shorter in wheelbase and overall length, which at 180 inches is 10 less than the S80 and 4 more than the BMW 3 Series sedan.
Despite being 6 inches shorter than its S70 predecessor, the S60 has more interior space, according to Volvo, and enough room to seat five. All models have a split, folding rear seat that expands the trunks cargo capacity of 14 cubic feet.
Power windows with automatic up and down operation for front occupants are standard. A cassette player, a tilt/telescoping steering column, air conditioning and a remote keyless entry system also come standard, and leather upholstery is optional.
Under the Hood
Three five-cylinder engines are available in the S60: a 168-horsepower 2.4-liter, a turbocharged version of that engine with 197 hp and a turbocharged 2.3-liter with 247 hp. The 197-hp engine comes with a five-speed automatic transmission, and buyers can choose either a five-speed manual or the automatic with the others.
The S60 comes with Volvos comprehensive safety package that includes dual-stage front airbags, whiplash protection and side-impact airbags for the front seats, curtain-type airbags for the front and rear seats, and antilock brakes.