Fighting for its share of attention in the compact executive car segment, the Swedish Volvo S60 D4 gives its German rivals something to worry about
The S60 is Volvo’s compact executive car to rival the likes of the Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series. Gracing our roads since 2000, the model got a redesign in 2013 to make it sharper. Last year, these new looks were joined with new engines, namely the D4 turbo diesel with 181bhp and 295lb ft/400Nm of torque, which offers more refined performance and lower emissions.
The new D4 turbo diesel engine features ‘i-ART technology’ that helps to cut fuel consumption. By featuring pressure feedback from each fuel injector instead of using a traditional single pressure sensor in the common rail, the technology makes it possible to continuously monitor and adapt fuel injection per combustion in each of the four cylinders. This gives it just 99g/km CO2 on the manual transmission car, which puts it in the lowest VED tax band and one of the lowest BIK tax bands for company car drivers. It also beats its German rivals in the emissions’ score board.
The low CO2 does not translate to hampered performance though. The powerful turbo diesel engine shifts its strapping size nimbly and energetically. It can do 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds and the claimed combined fuel consumption is 74.0mpg.
The exterior is handsomely Scandinavian, with bold but clean lines. This is also reflected in the interior which is simple yet practical and classy, with quality fabrics and any unnecessary clutter removed. It’s comfortable too, and the ride is a smooth and tranquil affair.
Volvo takes safety seriously, so much so that it keeps no secret of its bold vision: that no one will be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo by 2020. The blanket name for Volvo’s active safety systems
One of the features is Active High Beam Control, which allows the driver to keep the headlights on high beam continuously. When a car approaches, the system shades out only as much of the beam as necessary to not dazzle the other motorist.
A more advanced and rapid sensor system and software makes it possible for the car to detect cyclist and pedestrian movements and apply the brakes if a bike or person were to end up in front of the vehicle.
The S60 D4 has an upgraded City Safety system which automatically brakes if the driver fails to react when the vehicle in front slows down or stops. This system is active at speeds up to 31mph. As well as a system to help keep the driver in lane, it has an enhanced radar-based Blind Spot Information System which can monitor and alert the driver to vehicles approaching behind the car, as well as in the blind spots on both sides. In addition, radar sensors at the rear alert the driver to crossing traffic from the sides when reversing.
The Park Assist Pilot option makes parallel parking easy by taking over the steering wheel while the driver handles the gearbox and controls the car’s speed. It can slide into space thanks to ultrasonic sensors on the front, rear and sides.
The Volvo S60 D4 is a nice place to be. With a solid performance, good fuel economy, low CO2 – and substantial safety features, it is a worthy rival to its German peers in the quest for corporate orders. And its simple, practical and clean Swedish looks and engineering may well give it the edge for some.