It’s hard to keep track of Volvo. The Swedish manufacturerwhose emblem dates to the country’s early iron industry history, was sold to Ford in 1999. The American company, in turn, sold Volvo to China-based Geely.
Buy a Volvo today, like the 2013 S60 T5, and you’re still getting a vehicle with engine parts originating from Sweden. But parts from Belgium, Germany and Japan are also in the mix.
Volvo still also has its solid feel and sturdy construction demeanor, but long gone is its heavy box-on-wheels reputation. The S60 sedan is now well into its second decade and second generation in the niche category of “four-door coupe.”
The Weekly Driver Test Drive
For 2013, the Volvo S60 T5 offers All-Wheel Drive for the first time in the 2.5-liter, 250-horsepower, five-cylinder sedan with its transverse mounted engine. And with the AWD option, Volvo is now even further removed from its stodgy past.
Jack Nerard, editor at KelleyBlueBook (KBB.com), succinctly summarized a modern refrain for Volvo: “Gone are the days when Volvos looked like the crates other cars were shipped in.”
My weekly test drive with the S60 T5 was exactly that experience. Once known strictly as safe sedan, the S60 still has the same solid Volvo feel. But it has substantial leanings toward a sports car.
The 2013 edition is the second year of the car under Geely ownership, but the S60 and other Volvo vehicles still maintain Swedish style and performance characteristics.
The S60 has same sturdy feel as my parents’ Volvo wagon from the 1970s. But the S60 T5 is also quick and maneuvers with confidence in city traffic and in highway situations. It’s a comfortable four-person (not five person as advertised) sedan in town and an equally efficient fine cruiser on the open road.
Two-tone, high quality interior.
Pass through area on lower console.
Straightforward, no-nonsense console.
More than adequate head room.
Tight rear seats.
Back headrests, unless recessed, block rear view.
Facts & Figures: 2013 Volvo S60
Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 6.4 seconds.
Fuel economy: 20 mpg (city), 29 mpg (highway), 23 mpg (combined) six-speed automatic transmission.
Government Safety Ratings: NHTSA, Overall score, five stars; Frontal crash, driver/passenger, five stars; Rollover, five starts.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $31,750.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.volvocarsus.us
Price As tested: $38,170.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Powertrain, 4 years/50,000 miles;
Corrosion: 12 years/unlimited mileage
What Others Say:
“The only disappointment in the car, given its final price, is the lack of navigation (perhaps it should be part of the premium package), paddle shifts on the steering wheel and no rear-backup camera, a feature that is increasingly common on cars costing far less. Aside from those items, the 2013 Volvo S60 T5 AWD is a handsome and daresay charming alternative to upscale import and domestic compact sedans.” — Road&Track.com.
“The interior finish and trim are likewise premium-looking, and the design captures some of that modern Swedish Ikea aesthetic. One thing that all S60s are lacking, however, is back-seat space. If a roomy rear seat is a priority, a Lexus ES or even a BMW 3-series would be a better choice.”
“The 2013 Volvo S60 T5 All Wheel Drive may not be our first choice for a weekend get away car, but when it comes to everyday commuting or long highway trips, it is both a safe and smart bet, thanks to its great comfort and refined drive-train.” — Motorweek.
What The Wife Says:
On the positive, it has comfortable seats and a good, solid driving personality. On the negative, for $38,000, shouldn’t it have a back-up camera?
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
“With the BMW 3 series and Audi A4 and segment stalwarts, the Volvo S60 T5 AWD is a fine alternative considering its safety, AWD and handsome interior and exterior. It would give BMW and Audi more competition if it had better rear seat space and a navigation system.”
Article Last Updated: August 7, 2013.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.