Vehicle Type: Luxury Sport Sedan

History/Description: This used review is a little self-serving, because your writer is a big-time fan of the Volvo S60, and a potential candidate for a used model, some day. The reason is simple: as someone based in Northern Ontario who drives every day of the year and values comfort, confidence, performance and really-frickin-good wintertime driving manners, numerous test drives of the Volvo S60 have turned me into a complete fanboy. Having the most comfortable seats you’ll visit in the course of your day doesn’t hurt, either.

The so-called naughty Volvo launched for model-year 2011, with feature content including xenon lights with washers, navigation, Bluetooth, heated leather memory seats, push-button start and plenty more. Automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers and automatic lights were also on board. Expect decent up-front room for two adults, and comfy-snug rear seat space with adequate-at-best headroom.

Engines/Trim: At launch, all models got a turbocharged 3-litre straight six good for 300 horsepower, a six-speed automatic transmission, and All-Wheel Drive. Five-cylinder models, and front-drive models came online from model year 2012, expanding the S60’s selection and price spread. A sporty R-Design model hit the road a year later, for model-year 2013, with revised suspension and wheels helping towards a higher-performing and more thrilling package. From 2014, a facelift tidied up the front-end styling, S60’s impressive list of safety systems expanded even further, and revised transmission programming made the 6-speed automatic more fun to use. Then came the new Drive-E powerplant, a supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder engine with even more snap than the turbo straight-six.

What Owners Like: Owners typically praise the S60’s all-around comfort and all-weather confidence, its fast-acting and surefooted AWD system, the performance of the turbo straight-six engine, the tremendously comfortable seats, and the car’s all around discreet take on sensible luxury and performance. The plethora of safety systems and advanced hazard detection sensors adds confidence for many drivers too, as does the powerful xenon lighting system. Finally, many owners say they chose an S60 over a comparable Mercedes or BMW for a more under the radar driving experience.

What Owners Dislike: Some owners wish for a smoother ride on sportier models, the availability of a manual transmission, and a more straightforward infotainment interface relating to the navigation system and other functions. Some owners wish for better fuel mileage, even from the 300-horsepower engine, and a larger-than-average turning circle is noted, too.

A few owner reviews here.

The Test Drive: Start a test drive of a used S60 candidate scrutinizing the interior for signs of water leakage. Note that leather seating surfaces should be smooth and creamy, and that dried-up looking leather panels that resemble beef jerky or have shrunk or pulled away from the seams indicate that the seats have been moderately or heavily wet at some point. The culprit, according to some owners discussions, and even an apparent class action lawsuit is a leaky sunroof weather seal. Check twice for proper operation of all buttons and controls mounted to the centre of the dash, which could be exposed to water in the event of a sunroof leak. Check all ceiling-mounted controls (lights, sunroof) as well, and for the same reason.

A bad battery, or one that’s worn out, can cause numerous issues, including the need to hold the ENGINE START button for two seconds or more to get the S60’s engine fired up. If you notice this, or any other strange electronics-related issues on a test drive, be sure to have the vehicle’s charging system checked out by a Volvo mechanic.

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