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Driven: New Volvo S60

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The Swedes are back in action and this time it’s a sedan. The S60, by stature an obvious rival to the likes of Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3-Series, Jaguar XE and the upcoming Audi A4 here in India. But it is a front-wheel-drive only. Much bigger than the previous generation model (this is the 3rd gen car), it arrived internationally last year but will hit Indian roads only in 2021. Yes, the pandemic put a spanner in the works. Nevertheless, it is here and the obvious question is whether it’s worth the wait…

Although owned by Chinese auto giant Geely, Volvo Cars have managed to keep its Scandinavian essence going for its cars. This is especially true when it comes to design. None of any in-your-face elements, the S60 design is mature and instantly likeable, if not loveable. The silhouette looks sleek and flows naturally from the front. The grille unmistakable Volvo with a diagonal line and headlamps with “Thor’s hammer” like DRLs. From the rear, it looks squat and muscular.

Interestingly, the platform of the S60 also is used for other cars including the bigger SUVs. Stretching it out is evident in the space inside. There’s enough legroom for rear passengers. The cabin is also a serene place and just like the exteriors croons luxury rather than shout it out. A large fancy touchscreen allows controls of practically everything about the car except for driving it, of course. The dashboard is slightly angled towards the driver. The seats are plush but not bulky. They provide ample support, are cushioned just about right and angled cleverly. The only thing out of place for a 5ft 8in me was the rear seat headrest – came at an uncomfortable angle. There is room for three abreast at the rear but the centre passenger will have to deal with a tad oversized centre tunnel.

The S60 in India will come with a 188bhp/300Nm, 2.0-litre petrol engine. You might be aware that internationally, Volvo Cars have washed their hands off diesel engines. Although in T4 spec, the engine is from the starting range, it packs a lot of shove. Just like its design, this Volvo is in no hurry to impress immediately by blasting off the start line. It builds speed confidently and remains planted on the road giving an extreme sense of confidence. The steering has heft but possibly more intent in returning to the centre than you would like to at most times. That is also because Volvo possibly assumes its clientele will be a more mature audience more intent with being driven/driving comfortable than drifting in and out of corners.

That is also where the new S60 stands against its competition. Like most Volvo cars, this S60 will require a certain level of an acquired taste to be appreciated. However, this is pretty impressive despite not being shouty or overtly edgy while accelerating or going around fast bends. The cabin is subtly luxurious but extremely comfortable given most roads. You won’t break a sweat tackling bad roads. The suspension is top notch – possibly aided by the platform good enough for an SUV. The latter is what is leading the luxury car market, but the S60 sure is a breath of fresh air amongst all the fancy aromas.