The Volvo S60 has now spent half a year with Automobile Magazine and has settled comfortably into its role in the Four Seasons fleet. Neither a sports car nor a utility vehicle, the S60 is the car of choice when a comfortable all-around cruiser that seats four and can provide some entertainment is what's needed.
The S60 has proved so capable and comfortable that it has even enticed some editors to go on jaunts that they weren't intending. Such was the case with web editor Ben Timmins, who recently had the S60 in his possession on a weekday evening: "Yesterday I found out that a movie I want to see was only showing at a theatre in Lansing, about an hour away. Most of the time I wouldn't think of driving there at the last minute, but it was a no-brainer with the S60. The car is capable and comfortable, powerful and confident. The miles rack up in that vehicle at a staggering pace."
And the S60 is also a car whose performance potential can sneak up on you, as copy editor Rusty Blackwell reported after having the S60 in his care one recent weekend: "My wife drove the Volvo to church on Sunday. When she got home, she asked, 'Uh, what kind of engine is in this?!' 'A turbo six-cylinder.' 'Oh, well I looked down at one point on Pleasant Lake Road [which has a 55-mph speed limit] and caught myself going 80!' She rarely goes faster than 60 mph on roads like that. This car is definitely a silky-smooth cruiser."
There are still some lingering complaints with the S60's various interfaces: you can't power-adjust the seat cushion and seatback at the same time, which makes installing child seats a slightly more time-consuming task (because we never want to take 10 more seconds to do a job than we have to!). One driver couldn't get the auto up/down button on the driver's window to work properly. The steering column doesn't telescope away far enough for some drivers. The power button on the radio mutes the sound, but doesn't actually turn the radio on and off.
Most of those complaints have been more than offset by the general praise for the handling characteristics and interior of the car. There have been, however, a few staffers who long for an S60 with a manual transmission. A manual is not likely ever to be an option in this car -- there would likely be little demand and it would not be economically feasible for the automaker. Still, a set of paddleshifters for the automatic transmission would be a nice compromise for enthusiast drivers.