New Volvo S60: Welcome to the future of driving

From automatic braking to lane-keeping assist, the new S60 has a lot going for it.

By:Updated: Dec 26, 2020 11:00 AM


Scenario 1: If your car accidentally drifts out of its lane, the steering wheel sends a signal to alert you. If you don’t react, a technology called Lane Keeping Aid gently steers it back into its lane.

Scenario 2: If your car detects you’re about to leave the road unintentionally, it can provide steering inputs and, if necessary, brake support to help guide you back on track. The tech is called Run-off Road Mitigation.

Scenario 3: If there are other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists or large animals ahead of your car and you don’t slow down, a tech called City Safety will warn you, and even apply brakes automatically. Welcome to the future of driving.

The new Volvo S60 that will be launched in March gets these and many other semi-autonomous driving technologies. We recently drove this luxury sedan in and around Delhi.

What is the S60?

It’s Volvo’s entry-level sedan. The new S60 will be launched in March 2021, and will compete against Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series and the soon-to-be-launched Audi A4. A front-wheel drive car, the S60 will be available in the T4 trim, with five exterior colours and three interior upholstery options.

It will have only a petrol engine: the 1969cc unit, which delivers peak power of 140 kW (188bhp), torque of 300Nm, has a fuel tank of 60 litres, and a claimed fuel efficiency of 13.57 km/l. Its top speed is electronically limited to 180 km/h, which is now a global safety norm for all Volvo cars.

How is the cabin?

At 4.76 metres in length, the new S60 is quite a big car, and a wheelbase of 2.87 metres means it has good cabin space. Legroom for all passengers is generous, but because of a huge central tunnel taking up leg space, the rear seat is comfortable for two adults, not three.

In terms of luxury features, it scores five-stars—chrome, leather, plastic, cloth … everything inside the cabin not only looks good, but also feels robust. The sunroof takes up almost 60% of the roof, and while a sunroof isn’t a practical feature for Indian weather conditions, it lets in a lot of light and makes the cabin ‘appear’ cosier and comfortable (it also means the car AC will have to work extra hours in the summer, if you drive with the curtain open). All new Volvo cars have an iPad-like touchscreen, and there aren’t any ‘button’ controls for stuff like AC/climate control. The screen is responsive, and it doesn’t have a ‘glare’.

How does it drive?

The cabin is like ‘extra quiet’ and vibration-free, and the engine’s power delivery is very good, especially in terms of outright acceleration. The suspension ensures minimal vibrations enter the cabin, but only on good, well-paved roads—on bad roads that we still find in India (even on the roads of Delhi) you may find the ride turning a bit harsh. There are a lot of semi-autonomous driving features (the most prominent of which is automatic braking), but these taking some getting used to. Overall, behind the wheel, the S60 is a nice place to be in, but slightly more so in the rear seat.

How much will it cost?

We expect it to be priced in the Rs 45-odd lakh (ex-showroom) space. It doesn’t have the fun-to-drive character of a BMW, but it feels like a better place to be in than a Mercedes. Let’s see how the new A4 turns out to be!

(The S60 will be launched in March 2021, when its price will be announced.)

New-age Volvo

Engine: 1969cc petrol
Power: 140 kW (188bhp)
Torque: 300 Nm
Fuel tank: 60 litres
Top speed: 180 km/h
Fuel efficiency: 13.57 km/l
*Price: Will be announced in March 2021

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