Hop into the T5 AWD and it isn't that different from climbing into its more expensive sibling, the T6 AWD. The interior is just as beautifully trimmed and laid out, the seating position as adjustable and comfortable as I remember in our Four Seasons S60 T6, the all-wheel drive is just as effective in its ability to deliver instant traction. The engine is nearly as potent, too. Although the T5 is down 50 horsepower on the T6, it's not a slow car, and power delivery is remarkably smooth. At low RPMs the engine is torquey and the exhaust note is gruff but not unrefined -- almost like a good diesel -- but unlike an oil burner, the sound crescendos as the revs rise, morphing into a satisfying roar around 4500-5000 rpm.
The S60 T5 is an excellent car, but I do have one gripe: because the Volvo Sensus infotainment system doesn't have GPS navigation, its Bluetooth phone doesn't have voice activation. For a car that costs $38k (and scores at least an 8.5 in my book), it's unacceptable to lack a feature you can get on a Kia Rio at half the price. If you want to go for full Swedish motoring perfection, I guess you have to get the $2700 multimedia package as well.
Ben Timmins, Associate Web Editor
As much as I like the turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine in the S60 T6 (and in the XC60 crossover), this turbo inline five-cylinder T5 hits the sweet spot for most Volvo buyers. The car is tractable in everyday around-town situations, even if you have to modulate the throttle carefully to get maximum boost for the cut-and-thrust of urban traffic. Like all S60 models, the car is comfortable and luxurious without being ostentatious. Our tester didn't have a rearview camera, but other than that it seemed quite well equipped and came in well under $40K. The caramel-and-black leather interior is a great combination, and the white paint shows off this car's crisp lines very well.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor