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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2002 Volvo S60 Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2002 Volvo S60 Overview

Volvo's Recipe For Eliminating the Cookie-Cutter Sports Sedan

If you are shopping the market for a sexy European sports sedan, but you don't wish to be seen driving the same Audi, Lexus and BMW models that all your friends have (and that their friends have and so on and so on) then you really should consider putting yourself behind the wheel of the Volvo S60. Three trim levels that range from the sublime to the super-charged augment the S60's curvaceous lines and gorgeous interior. If your concept of Volvo cars still revolves around the boxy, family-oriented 240DL of the late 80s, then you need to update your files. The S60 is one of the most original and eye- catching designs of the 21st century.

Let's begin with the S60's exterior. At first glance, the design looks fresh and new and yet oddly familiar at the same time. The reason for this is that the larger S80 (which has been on the market since 1998) incorporates many of the same styling cues. The S60 draws on the S80's outline, but has a rounder appearance and a more pronounced "V" shape that begins on the hood and sweeps back to the tapered rear end. The S60 is also smaller than the S80, and its proportions seem better suited to complementing the new Volvo look. If the old adage that "clothes make the man" is true, then for automobiles, it might also be true that "wheels make the car." Depending of course on which model you choose, the wheels set the tone and mood for the car. For example, on the base model, standard 15-inch alloy wheels have a purposeful appeal which is slightly sporty yet stylish. On the 2.4T, 2.4 AWD and T5 models, there is a long list of standard and available alloy wheels, all of which we think are a handsomely styled and give the S60 a wide range of personalities—we especially like the racy and bold "Amalthea."

The S60 does not just look the part of a sports sedan, it has right mechanicals to prove it—especially with the addition of the all-wheel-drive model. Beneath its hood, the base S60 employs a 2.4- liter five-cylinder engine good for 170 horsepower. The 2.4T uses the same engine, but adds a low-pressure turbo charger that boosts horsepower to 210; T5 models have an even larger turbo and can produce 247 horsepower. By now it should be clear that all of the S60s can move quickly from point A to point B; some just do it faster than others.

The S60 uses its front wheels (except of course for the AWD version) to pull it around. Torque steer is almost non-existent except in the T5 model, where the tremendous torque and horsepower sometimes overpower the front wheels. Base model S60s and the T5 come standard with a 5-speed manual transmission, while the middle-child 2.4T offers only a 5-speed automatic. Volvo's Geartronic automatic—which allows the driver to shift gears without the use of a clutch pedal—is optional on the 2.4T and T5 and standard on the 2.4 AWD.

Driving the S60 is a real blast. It's fast and nimble and has marvelous road instincts. Driving the S60 fast will instill you with a feeling of being one with the road—which is bad if your an opossum but great if you're of the breed that really loves to drive. That nasty ol' torque steer does rear its ugly head ever so slightly, but only on the powerful T5 model; base and 2.4T models have Stablitiy and Traction Control (STC) that helps to prevent the front wheels from slipping and the 2.4T and T5 have an even more advanced system known as Dynamic Stability Traction Control (DSTC). Perhaps the most noticeable and pleasing thing about driving the S60 is the ride. You'll no doubt love it on twisting roads, but you will find that—unlike many sports sedans—the Volvo does not feel the need to sacrifice a smooth quiet ride in order to attain better handling.

Inside, you'll find a very pleasant interior, highlighted by an excellent set of front bucket seats that are so comfortable you won't want leave—even after 5 hours of driving. The S60's front seats feel wonderful on your back and feature a anti-submarine design that not only keeps you from sliding under the dash in the event of an accident, but also provides firm support for the undersides of your legs. The headrests are specially designed to prevent whiplash, another first in the long list of Volvo safety features. Speaking of safety, you'll be happy to know that the S60 features as standard equipment dual-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags, a rear fog light and daytime running lights. Of course, like all Volvos, the S60 is near tank-like in its construction and does very well in both government and private institutional crash test.

As for luxury, the S60 has all the prerequisite features like power everything and a killer sound system, but the one feature that stands-out most is the super-cool navigation system. This optional item includes a small LCD screen that rises up from the center of the dash and is controlled by a collection of buttons located on the backside of the steering wheel. It's easy to use and its position on the dash allows the driver to read the electronic map without having to look away from the road. If you get the S60, this is one option you really should spring for—after all, if you are going to be spending all that time driving, you might as well know where you're going.

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