2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD
2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD
2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD
2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Jacob Black

I’ll admit this one up front – I adore Volvo styling. I love the accentuated shoulders and hips, I love the headlights, I love the grille. I love the ice-white colouring. I even love the Prince-esque “male symbol” logo.

Like many of my colleagues, I also love the seats; comfortable, soft, supportive, leather hugs that take my Napoleon-complex road manners and bury them under a blanket of quiet, eerie calm.

There is something serene about a Volvo S60 even when you look at it from the outside. For a high-strung person like me, the S60 is an oasis. We’re like Paula Abdul and that funky cartoon cat dude – opposites attract.

Inside, the Volvo is easy to use, with every button, lever, switch and dial within effortless reach. The centre stack floats out into the cabin and tilts towards the driver. It is dominated by a compact set of small buttons centred around a number pad and a silhouette of a seated human. That silhouette is a set of three buttons which control the direction of airflow, it’s a rare nod to form over function (a simple, single button would have done) that humanises the cabin and provides a delightful highlight. My daughter adored it.

The buttons in the main cluster are small, but well set out, well-defined and have great haptics. These buttons are really just shortcut keys. Four rotary dials make the automatic climate control, radio, navigation and MMI simple to control and explore via the main menus if you enjoy going the long way.

There is also a full suite of steering-wheel mounted controls.

The shift lever is a stunner too, with chrome ringed-piano black adorning the ergonomic shape. In this tester Volvo had fitted dark, glossy woodgrain to the stack and door panels, but I prefer the brushed aluminum inlay which is also available.

I love having a proper number pad in the centre stack. It not only makes tuning the radio easy, but makes inputting an address in the nav simple, and allows you to telephone your bank (while parked at the service station of course) and enter all your codes etc without taking your phone out of your pocket. Those of us who used mobile phones before smartphones will be used to the lettering system also attached to the number pad, and typing in addresses to the nav is a breeze.

If the Volvo wasn’t such a nanny, I bet I could even do it without looking, while in motion. Sadly (or luckily) Volvo sees fit to protect me from myself.

2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD
2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD. Click image to enlarge

The instrument cluster has three themes, a vivid red one named Performance, a greenish-white one called Eco and a bluish-white one called Elegance.  Those themes also change which information is stored by default in the digital displays either side of the large central speedometer. In Elegance, those two displays show rpm and engine temperature. Two smaller inserts at the bottom of those can show other trip-related information including fuel economy and average speed. On the far outboard of the instrument cluster is a fuel gauge (left) and a gear indicator (right). There was exactly the right amount of information there and it was all easy to read.

It wasn’t hard for me to see why this interior received a Ward’s “10 Best Interiors” listing in 2011.

The only thing I didn’t like about the interior was the lighting. The front reading lights have a gorgeous U-shaped surround that looks like it houses a sexy set of LEDs, but instead just two old-school dome lights shine out from behind the promising-looking panel. Lame.

2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD
2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD. Click image to enlarge

That and the tiny boot. Volvo has a really neat shopping-control system that pops up and allows one to hold one’s shopping in place. But that system is embedded in a false floor that takes about three inches of height out of the boot and prevented me from loading up my daughter’s Radio Flyer wagon. As a reference, the same wagon fits into a Jetta and a TSX trunk.

Oh, and the lack of proper cabin storage. There is a nice little shelf behind the floating console, but the angle of the centre stack means it’s really only usable for the passenger. The console bin isn’t very deep, and the door pockets are small. None of those were enough to turn me off though.

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