We've managed to tack another 3000 miles on the odometer of the Volvo S60 in the month since we last published an update, putting it on pace to accumulate an impressive 35,000 miles or more for the year. All those miles are a testament to the S60's impressive powertrain, excellent handling, and overall refinement. So much for the stodgy Volvos of yesteryear.
After a trip to northern Michigan in the S60, associate web editor Ben Timmins gives us his take: "Volvo's campaign on this model is that it's a new breed of 'naughty' Volvo, one that provides safety with a side of performance and sex appeal. The fact that I suffered my first traffic stop at the wheel of a new S60 makes a surprising amount of sense. For 45 grand you get an exceptionally safe car, and everything on it is good. The steering is good, the pedals are good, the seats are good. The AWD and transmission and engine are good."
Associate web editor Jake Holmes concurs: "I think the 'naughty' adjective is quite apt. It's fun to get on the boost and blast around town in the S60, yet the car has such a calm, composed demeanor that doing so feels like you're flaunting the rules and getting away with it."
Other than the run-in with law enforcement mentioned above, we did have one other mishap with the S60 this month. Associate web editor Evan McCausland recounts the tale: "Yesterday marked my second night with the S60 -- but thanks to a chance encounter with a right-sized pothole, I hardly had a chance to drive it. Ten minutes after I got in the Volvo, I hit a pothole. It wasn't a small bump, but it wasn't a wheel-flexing, bump-stop-rattling experience, either. In fact, it felt fairly minor until a telltale message appeared on the dash five minutes later. 'Tire needs air NOW,' screamed the information center. So I pulled over, and sure enough, the driver's front tire was completely flat. I noticed some scuffing of the rim surface itself, but the only damage was a small, quarter-inch gash on the sidewall of the Continental ContiProContact rubber.
"Like many modern automakers, Volvo's making a habit of eschewing a traditional spare in favor of on-board air compressors or limp-home repair kits. In theory, the S60's kit, which combines a 12-volt inflator with a can of sealant, should be a quick, cost-effective way of providing buyers with some mobility (125 miles of travel at no more than 50 mph). Problem is, if you've bent a rim or gashed a sidewall, you're done for."
To make a long story short, McCausland tried calling local tire dealers to find a replacement, but they were either closed for the day or didn't have the proper tire in stock. After contacting roadside assistance and getting towed to the nearest dealer, he still had to bum a ride home because they couldn't replace the tire until the next day. Our advice? If you buy an S60, opt for the spare wheel kit. It could be the best $225 you spend.