Review: Volvo S60 D3

Volvo gives the S60 an entry-level diesel engine and a low enough price tag to scare its German competition.

autos Updated: Feb 29, 2012 18:55 IST
Abhishek Saksena
Abhishek Saksena
Hindustan Times

The Indian luxury car market has been dominated by the big three German manufacturers and despite being present in the country for four years now, Volvo hasn’t quite managed to attract enough attention. However, what an Indian customer values, quite literally, is value for money.

It is with this very reason in mind that Volvo has introduced a new D3 diesel engine across its range, accompanied by a price drop. With a new ex-showroom price of Rs 23.99 lakh for the base S60 Kinetic D3, it’s now the least expensive Volvo in the country, placed right in the middle of the Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Passat. And it’s a full import, no less!

The fact that it’s a diesel really tilts things in its favour. The new 2.0-litre, five-cylinder engine is quite powerful, and in city driving conditions, you won’t need any more power than the 163bhp it produces. The build up of torque is linear and the initial bit of turbo lag isn’t really bothersome. Get past that and you are greeted with a strong mid-range that’s typical of diesel engines, especially once past the 2,000rpm mark.

But though the engine is eager and free revving, it’s not a good idea to spin it to the upper reaches. It feels strained and gets quite vocal. So it feels best when you slot the six-speed automatic gearbox in D and just punt around town or lazily cruise the highway.

The gearbox goes about its job without being intrusive and shifts are seamless for the most part. It’s meant for relaxed driving, and if you try to pick up the pace in a hurry, it lingers for a while before kicking down. It does have a tiptronic mode but even here, it won’t hold gears at high revs for too long and will upshift as soon as it can. This laidback approach is also evident in the way the suspension behaves.

At slow speeds, the S60 is comfortable, the ride is pliant and minor road imperfections are dealt with ease. There is a fair amount of body movement in bends though, and it isn’t as athletically gifted as a BMW 3-series. The interiors aren’t bad at this price. The D3 Summum option gets an electric passenger seat, sunroof, a seven-inch screen and is priced at Rs 26.99 lakh. And, typical of a Volvo, the front and rear seats are extremely comfy.

Volvo S60 D3
Price: R23.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
L/W/H: 4,628/2,097/1,484mm
Wheelbase: 2,776mm
Ground clearance: 136mm
Track (f/r): 1,588/1,585mm
Kerb weight: 1,680kg
Engine: 5-cyls, 1,984cc, FWD, turbo-diesel
Installation: Front transverse
Power: 163bhp at 3,500rpm
Torque: 40.7kgm at 1,500-2,750rpm
Fuel tank: 67.5 litres
Tyre size: 215/50 R17

The Volvo S60 offers a well-rounded package and, at this price, will attract a lot more buyers. Sign the dotted line before the end of the month and you can avail the introductory prices which are Rs 70,000 lesser for the Kinetic trim and Rs 1 lakh lesser for the Summum.

First Published: Feb 26, 2012 14:20 IST