You'll Like The 2009 Volvo S60 If...
If you're looking for a premium sedan with some style, the 2009 Volvo S60's sculpted hood, trunk and aggressive wheel and tire packages give it a much bolder look than its understated German and Japanese rivals. The S60 is also a bit wider than some competitors, which translates into generous shoulder room.
You May Not Like The 2009 Volvo S60 If...
If you're looking for the neutral handling only a rear-wheel-drive sedan can provide, the high-powered T5's noticeable torque steer, that sometimes pulls at the steering wheel during harder acceleration, can, at times, become annoying. The omission of a manual transmission may also deter purists. The 2.5T is also not as powerful as many similarly-priced V6 models.
All models receive more standard equipment, along with a higher price tag. The contents of the Premium Package have been made standard on 2.5T and 2.5T AWD models, while the sporty S60 T5 receives features contained in last year's Advanced Package. In addition, the Geartonic manual-shift feature is now standard on all trims.
No matter which S60 you choose, all models share two important traits: A roomy, ergonomically-sound interior and an exceptional safety record. The S60's front seats feel great on your back and feature an anti-submarine design to help keep you from sliding under the dash during an accident. Functionally, the S60's near-perfect instrument panel has every switch, lever and button within easy reach. We love the placement of the optional navigation screen, which rises up from atop the dash rather than being integrated into the audio head unit.
The 2009 Volvo S60's front end has a soft, rounded appearance, although the familiar diagonal-badge grille treatment remains firmly in place. The S60's shape is defined by its sharpened V-shaped hood and trunk lines that join to form a truly attractive sport sedan. The swept-back rear roof creates a nice fastback look and allows the rear doors plenty of glass to aid visibility. In recent years Volvo has produced a number of attractive new wheel designs and bold exterior colors to enhance the S60's appearance.
Both the 2.5T and T5 offer good handling and acceleration, with the more powerful T5 providing a bit more thrill. Torque steer (a front-wheel-drive car's tendency to pull to one side or the other) is evident during hard acceleration, but the traction and stability control system helps mitigate the characteristic. The S60's steering does not feel as connected and precise as those of the BMW 3 Series or Infiniti G35, but its smooth ride and comfortable cabin certainly compare well with the Lincoln MKZ and Audi A4. Without a manual transmission, the S60's sporting intensions are somewhat muted, although the five-speed Geartronic transmission does allow for manual gear shifting. Volvo's excellent front seats cradle the occupants without pinching and provide excellent support on long drives.
The 2009 Volvo S60 2.5T's base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price ranges from around $34,000 for the front-wheel-drive version to about $35,500 for the all-wheel-drive model. Pricing for the sporty T5 starts just over $37,000 and tops out near $41,000 when fully loaded. The S60's pricing and features are competitive with the Audi A4, Lincoln MKZ and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. To be sure you make your best deal, check the Fair Purchase Price, which shows the typical transaction price paid for the S60 in your area. As for resale values, the S60 does not perform as well as similar vehicles from Audi, Lexus, Infiniti and BMW, and even fails to reach parity with domestic rivals Cadillac CTS and Lincoln MKZ. The T5, however, does hold slightly higher residual values than the base 2.5T.
The 2009 Volvo S60 has a five-speed Geartronic automatic transmission, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), Dynamic Stability Traction Control, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, illuminated remote keyless entry, front and rear fog lights, dual heated power mirrors, AM/FM stereo CD and auxiliary input jack, front side-impact and front and rear head-curtain airbags, cruise control, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels, garage door opener, power sunroof, sport leather seating and power driver's and passenger's seats. The T5 adds aluminum trim, rear park assist, active bi-xenon adaptive headlights with washers, 17-inch alloy wheels and a High Performance sound system with six-disc CD changer and MP3/WMA compatability.
Options vary by trim and include all-wheel drive, heated seats, headlamp washers, rain-sensing wipers, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, navigation, active bi-xenon adaptive headlights, rear park assist and custom alloy wheels.
The S60's leather sport seats strike a good balance between comfort and body-holding ability.
The optional navigation system features a retractable screen positioned atop the dash instead of integrated into the audio unit.
Under the Hood
The 2.5T engine provides good acceleration and plenty of passing power. This engine works well with the Geartronic automatic transmission, though somewhat lazy shifts left us wishing for a manual option. The high-pressure turbo of the T5 model seems to be the best choice for the S60, with better low-end torque than the 2.5T and more acceleration as the turbo builds boost pressure.
2.5-liter in-line 5 Light-Pressure Turbo
208 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1500-4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 (FWD), 18/26 (AWD)
2.4-liter in-line 5 High-Pressure Turbo
257 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2100-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26
Now in its eighth year of production, the 2009 Volvo S60 has more than earned its keep. Introduced in late 2000 for the 2001 model year, the Volvo S60 helped launch a styling revolution that transformed the brand's image from boring box to stylish Swede. Relatively unchanged since its inception, the S60's design has held up well, although newer designs from Audi, Cadillac and Lexus certainly appear more contemporary. The S60, however, is about far more than just good looks. The car is well-known for its extensive safety features and excellent crash-test results, and its turbocharged engines provide both performance and good fuel economy, an important consideration for today's buyers. With a roomy cabin, notably comfortable front seats and a long list of comfort and convenience items, the 2009 Volvo S60 deserves to be near the top of every premium midsize sedan shopping list.