The 2012 Volvo S60 is the latest salvo in the Swedish car company's effort to reposition itself as the purveyor of not just safe, but also stylish - and luxurious - automobiles. Volvo's premium status is cemented through the introduction of models like the latest S60, a mid-size sedan that does an excellent job tempting Euro fans to add the brand's showroom to their list of stops on the path to a new entry-level luxo-ride.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2012 Volvo S60.
One of the first things you notice about the 2012 Volvo S60 is that it doesn't blend into the crowd nearly as easily as previous efforts from the automaker. Although it has taken some time, Volvo has managed to shed much of its reputation as the builder of somewhat stodgily-styled vehicles, and the Volvo S60 is a shining example the methods used by the company to shake free of that label. The sedan's downward-sloping hood, elegantly carved front bumper inlets, graceful side style line and available R Design sport cues make it an impossible-to-ignore entry into the premium sedan segment.02. The 2012 Volvo S60 Delivers An Upscale Interior
The inside of the 2012 Volvo S60 is a perfect match for the attention-grabbing exterior. A simple dash layout (with a gentle bulge above the driver's gauge package) is offset by the high end feel of the sedan's inset door panels and sculpted release handle, as well as the availability of either wood, leather or brushed aluminum trim throughout the passenger compartment. The Volvo S60's seats both hug and caress all occupants in order to keep them firmly planted through high speed corners as well as absolutely comfortable during standard cruising, and the vehicle's 60/40 split folding rear row adds a touch of practicality to the automobile.03. The 2012 Volvo S60 Offers Three Engine Choices
The 2012 Volvo S60 starts out with a 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine under the hood. This unit, which makes use of a turbocharger to produce 250 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, is one cylinder up on competitors like the Audi A4. The Volvo S60 can also be had with a 3.0-liter, turbocharged six-cylinder engine that is good for 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque, and all-wheel drive is included free of charge with this particular power plant.
The king of the S60's drivetrain options is found with the R-Design trim level, which turns up the boost on the turbo six in order to produce 325 horses and 354 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive remains standard with this model, which can reach 60-mph from a standing start in just 5.6 seconds. All three editions of the Volvo S60 are outfitted with a six-speed automatic transmission.04. The 2012 Volvo S60 Provides Solid Fuel Mileage
Despite offering substantial power via its trio of engine options, the 2012 Volvo S60 is still capable of turning in respectable fuel mileage ratings. The entry-level five-cylinder motor offers fuel economy of 20-mpg in city driving and 30-mpg on the highway, thanks in part to its front-wheel drive layout. The all-wheel drive turbocharged six-cylinder Volvo S60 delivers 18-mpg in stop and go driving and 26-mpg on the highway, which is not much of a penalty considering its all-wheel drive setup and additional 50 ponies. The tire-melting R-Design model gains an extra 25 horsepower over the regular turbo six, but its fuel economy matches that of its less powerful sibling.05. The 2012 Volvo S60 Can Be Had In Three Trim Levels
The 2012 Volvo S60 starts out in T5 trim, which offers a number of intriguing standard features such as dual automatic climate control, a power driver's seat, Bluetooth connectivity, a CD player, HD and satellite radio and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Opting for the T6 edition of the S60 introduces stiffer suspension tuning, upgraded brakes and wheels as well as leather seats.
The Volvo S60 T6 R-Design trim adds significant character to the sedan in the form of aggressive exterior styling (including a rear spoiler), a performance-oriented suspension system, sport seats and a different steering wheel. The R-Design is also more luxurious, offering power seats for both driver and passenger as well as a sunroof and HID headlights.06. The 2012 Volvo S60 Features Multiple Options Packages
The 2012 Volvo S60 can be customized via several different options packages that provide a varied list of equipment to help make the vehicle that much more comfortable. The Premium package installs HID headlights, power adjustments for the front passenger seat, leather and a sunroof, while the Climate package fights off winter's chill with seat warmers, headlight washers and a heater for the vehicle's windshield washer fluid. The Technology package is stuffed full of goodies such as adaptive cruise control and a number of high-tech safety features, while the Multimedia package includes a navigation system, a louder stereo system and a rearview camera.07. The 2012 Volvo S60 Comes With Innovative Safety Technology
The 2012 Volvo S60 is notable for its City Safety system, which is designed to eliminate the risk of pedestrian collisions or front impacts while the vehicle is underway. City Safety is also known by its full name of 'Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection System', and it combines a radar sensor with a video camera in order to detect people or objects (such as a stationary car) in the road ahead.
The S60 is capable of determining whether a particular 'threat' is on a path that could intersect with its own, and as long as the vehicle is traveling less than 22-mph then Volvo says it can automatically bring the sedan to a stop prior to an accident occurring. At speeds greater than 22-mph, the S60 will brake as much as it can to reduce its forward velocity and lower the chance of an injury occurring.08. The 2012 Volvo S60 Provides Expansive Safety Palette
On top of the City Safety system, the 2012 Volvo S60 also comes with a host of other available protective features. All editions of the S60 come with active head restraints, dual stage front airbags, side curtain airbags that run the length of the vehicle's passenger compartment and seat-mounted side airbags for forward occupants. Dynamic stability control and traction control are also included free of charge. Optional safety gear includes a lane departure warning system, a feature that keeps track of how much attention the driver is paying to the road ahead (in order to fight drowsiness) and a blind spot monitoring system.09. The 2012 Volvo S60 Offers Substantial On-Road Comfort Without Sacrificing Fun
The 2012 Volvo S60 is capable of offering premium shoppers the ride comfort that they are looking for without sacrificing driving dynamics. The Volvo's well-designed chassis soaks up road insults with ease, giving it a controlled and smooth feel over rough pavement. Opting for the S60 R-Design's Four-C (Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept) feature adds three different driving modes to the equation. Comfort maintains the sedan's composure in everyday driving, and Sport tightens up the vehicle's suspension settings and throttle response while backing off traction control and stability control to give hot shoes a little more breathing room. The Advanced mode offers fully automated suspension response to road and driving conditions.10. The 2012 Volvo S60 Is An Appealing Alternative European Luxury Option
The 2012 Volvo S60 dips its toes into an extremely competitive area of the market: entry-level luxury sedans. Even when faced with rivals such as the BMW 3 Series, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the previously-mentioned Audi A4, the S60 manages to do more than hold its own. It's clear that this automobile isn't aimed at hardcore performance enthusiasts looking to scream down canyon roads at full tilt, but in terms of being able to offer a high level of plush comfort combined with reasonably responsive handling and acceleration - especially when found in R-Design trim - the Volvo S60 is worth a test drive. The vehicle's extensive suite of safety technology and affordable starting MSRP of $31,300 are also significant points in its favor.