2012 Volvo S60 sedan

April 8, 2011

Bottom line: For common sense, beauty and muscle, the 2012 Volvo S60 sedan belongs on the list of anyone shopping for an entry-level luxury automobile.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Excellent marks in all three.

Head-turning quotient: I’ve driven almost every Volvo available, including a few commercial trucks, since I began writing about cars in 1982. The S60 sedan is the most attractive Volvo I’ve driven in all that time. It’s stunningly beautiful.

Body style/layout: The S60 T6 is a compact/mid-size front-engine, all-wheel-drive entry-level luxury sedan. The S60 also is sold as the front-wheel-drive T5. The “T” in both models stands for “turbocharged,” meaning more air is pulled into engines via an exhaust-driven impeller producing more power, usually at a minimal penalty in fuel consumption.

Engine/transmission: The S60 T6 comes with a 3-liter, 24-valve in-line six-cylinder engine with variable valve lift and timing for improved fuel economy (300 horsepower, 325 foot-pounds of torque). The engine is mated to a six-speed transmission that can be operated automatically or manually.

Capacities: There is comfortable seating for four people. Putting three people in the rear cabin usually proves to be an unhappy arrangement for the one stuck in the middle. Cargo capacity is 12 cubic feet. The S60 T6 can be outfitted to tow a trailer weighing 3,307 pounds. The fuel tank holds 17.8 gallons of gasoline (regular grade is recommended).

Mileage: Real-world mileage was 16 miles per gallon in the city (traffic-congested New York) and 27 mpg on an unbelievably clear New Jersey Turnpike.

Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes with anti-lock protection, emergency braking assistance, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability and traction control, side and head air bags, and Volvo’s patented City Safety system, which, at speeds of up to 19 mph, can help the S60 driver avoid rear-ending another vehicle.

Price: The base price on the 2012 S60 T6 is $37,700. Dealer’s invoice price on that model is $35,438. Price as tested is $43,375, including $2,100 for the technology package (highly recommended), $2,700 for the multimedia package (onboard navigation with real-time traffic updates, backup camera, premium sound system), and an $875 destination charge. Dealer’s price as tested is $40,825. Compare with BMW 3-series sedan, Cadillac CTS, Hyundai Genesis, Lexus ES 350, Lincoln MKZ and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

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