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FIRST DRIVE REVIEW: Volvo S60 D4 SE Geartronic

Ref:A0988
Published: 6 February 2014



There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the Volvo S60. And rightly so: it’s a fun, practical and economical car to drive. This one is even more special than its predecessors – with the addition of the all-new 181hp D4 diesel engine. 


It’s a saloon with a body design not to everyone’s tastes. On first glance, it does not stand out with ambition. And even when seated, it seems rather too comfortable to be anything more than an ordinary saloon. 


That is until you release the brake and put your foot down on a typically British pothole-diseased road in the Peak District. It accelerates from zero to 62mph in 7.4 seconds (6.9 seconds for in manual mode). It does so with ease.



But while it is fun to be driving in ‘Drive’ mode in the S60, as ever, it’s not as economical according to Volvo’s own figures. In Auto, the D4 engine on the S60 will help drivers achieve a combined fuel economy of 67.3mpg while slipping in into Manual drive mode will increase that to a whopping 74.3mpg. 


In the real world, with road conditions varying, this is always lower. It certainly proved to be during our test drive but it would be fair to say we were testing the engine and that of course resulted in a lower fuel economy and not so economical driving. Drivers must not simply feel a car will do all the hard work of saving fuel for them, but they must develop the proper skills to drive in a more economical fashion.


The S60 includes Volvo's Cyclist Detection with Full Auto Brake technology.


Pushing the Volvo S60 D4 to the limits on the Peak District’s quiet winter roads can see it reach a fuel economy in the mid to high 40s. That’s in Auto mode. It can be slightly higher using the Manual mode with Volvo’s Geartronic transmission. 


So what’s behind the great fuel economy? Denso’s i-ART technology uses pressure feedback from each fuel injector to give improved power but with lower emissions. It’s said this alone improves fuel economy by at least two per cent although it is thought to be much higher. 


Inside, it’s calm and pleasant. The interior is not lavish and proves not to be a distraction while driving. Its Sat Nav is simple to use and effective. And there’s plenty of leg room in the back too. 


This Road Sign Information reading technology is a major safety feature in the S60 and was very noticeable in our test drive.


The steering is smooth and responsive and it’s incredibly stable. It’s the Queen of the British B-roads and turns tight corners with ease and style.


Even at high speeds, driving behind the wheel of the Volvo S60 D4 feels like a safe experience. You feel at home and in control. And if control is what you want the S60 is the car for you. Prices start at £23,195. The engine matches the car perfectly. We think it is well worth it. 

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