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2015.5 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E Review & Test Drive

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There is always something to be said about getting behind the wheel of a vehicle that comes from a manufacturer that is always at the pinnacle of automotive safety. It is even better when that vehicle is fun to drive by way of 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, which is found in the new 2015.5 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E.

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The new Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E, getting a slight update for its mid-year designation as a 2015.5 model year, aims to keep pace with its competition by offering up a little edge when it comes to safety and engine performance that still gets amazing fuel economy. New for the 2015.5 mid-cycle change is a 2.0-liter directed-injection 4-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged engine, as equipped in my test vehicle. Other changes amount to a new 8-speed automatic transmission, start-stop technology, and available lane keeping assist.

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Powered by a 2.0-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder that happens to be supercharged and turbocharged is a marvel in itself. This hodgepodge of an engine is an amazing feat in automotive engineering, utilizing the instantaneous power boost of a supercharger and the follow-up thrust of a turbocharger. After spending a week with the Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E it is safe to say that I will walk away amazed; Volvo is in a truly daring automotive manufacturer.

How well does it work you may ask? Very well, with 302 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque peaking through the band starting at a mere 2,100 rpm. Power comes on strong and remains strong through the full rpm band. The mid-range torque is also amazing, virtually limiting any worries for overtaking other vehicles even when traveling at highway speeds.

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As a front-wheel drive vehicle the power is mostly usable at its peak when you have your undivided attention to the steering angle with two firm hands on the leather-wrapped steering wheel. What I am getting at here is that torque steer is a major factor. Instead of darting off to the left or right, the wheel becomes locked in whatever initial direction you have it, but requires some manhandling to keep things moving in the proper direction. Sometimes this is a nice problem to have provided you have a couple lanes of pavement head of you. In other cases the torque steer comes as a haring issue, as the wheel tends to have a mind of its own and will require you to place the vehicle back in a straight line through some clever steering effort in conjunction with letting your foot off of the throttle ever-so-slightly.

All of that power to the front wheels, through a well-adapted 8-speed automatic transmission with manual shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel, can all be a fun adventure only if you are paying attention. Zero to 60 mph comes in a quick 5.6 seconds while lateral handling is assuring as long as you avoid throttling too heavy through turns as the front wheels will easily unseat into colossal amounts of understeer enabling traction and stability control to sap that smile off your face.

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The driving dynamics of the Volvo S60 T6 are almost overpowered for its front-wheel-drive platform (optional all-wheel-drive). Nevertheless, it is fun to explore those limits, which come to the surface quickly with the 8-speed automatic transmission rapidly finding the proper gear to down-shift into upon full throttle applications. Additionally, aiding to the guilt-free feeling of pushing the S60 T6 to the limits is its amazing fuel efficiency, mostly due to its supercharger and turbocharger both force-feeding the 4 cylinders resulting in an EPA estimated 24 mpg city, 35 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined. For that much horsepower and torque, these are truly amazing figures. The Drive-E part of the S60 T6’s nomenclature, not only includes a supercharged and turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with the power of a 6 cylinder, but brings start-stop technology and an Eco+ climate control setting to the table, enabling its EPA mpg figures to remain consistent. I can say with a certainty that the outgoing turbo 6-cylinder engine for this still-signified-as-a-T6 S60 isn’t going to be missed.

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Wrapping around all of that lofty horsepower and torque is, in true Volvo fashion, a major safety blanket of features that assist the drive in many proactive ways to avoid accidents. Loaded up on my 2015.5 Volvo S60 T6 test vehicle is a Platinum Package consisting of a decent-sounding 8-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system (satellite radio, HD radio, CD player, iPod/USB connection, Bluetooth audio streaming), active dual Xenon headlights (auto high-beam, adaptive turning and washers), adaptive cruise control with queue assist, collision warning with full auto brake, pedestrian/cyclist detection with auto brake, distance alert, driver alert control, lane keeping aid, road sign information. Added on as part of the initial Platinum package is an included convenience package having the options of power retractable review mirrors, rear park assist camera and accent lighting. With the many safety featured from the Platinum Package it takes the Volvo S60 T6 to new heights in its merit to acclaim its 2014 IIHS Top Safety Pick + award.

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Inside of the new 2015.5 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E is a cabin familiar to Volvo with many classic and traditionalist design cues and controls, such as the numbered phone-dial array of buttons and dual-zone climate controls. The new LCD gauge cluster allows for customization in three different themes with a few vehicle information toggles, all in a brightly colored display for easy and quick reading. Much of the materials of the dashboard are of a good quality, featuring a good amount of aluminum and soft-touch plastics. The leather seats, nicely accented in a caramel colored theme, are highly bolstered but not to the point of uncomfortably biting into your kidneys or thighs. The front seats can be adjusted to appoint 6-feet tall individuals with no qualms. Rear seating can be a bit tight for those inching close to 6-feet but the positioning leaves for just enough room for normal to small-sized adults.

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Topping of the high tech world of one of the safest vehicles on the road, Volvo includes a full web browser fed through the 7-inch color LCD center-mounted screen. Control of the screen is rather simplistic but requires somewhat of a reach to the proper dial for navigating the menu sets and controlling the GPS navigation system. Moreover, the Volvo S60 T6 can be a rolling Wi-Fi hotspot allowing other devices to connect and utilize the cellular service that the vehicle is readily connected to. This connectivity, along with Bluetooth-connected smartphones, is all part of the Sensus smartphone app integration.

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Volvo’s progressive measures in today’s automotive spectrum continue to advance and stay slightly ahead of the curve – even with many other vehicles receiving matching 5-star crash ratings. The new 2015.5 Volvo S60 T6 injects its added performance and efficiency in its new powertrain introduced as a mid-cycle-year addition makes it an attractive buy, even so much in its value with a loaded-up as-tested price of $46,525. 2015.5 Volvo S60 T6 starts at just $39,000.

Copyright: 2014 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base S60 T6 FWD $39,000 / As-Tested S60 T6 FWD $46,525
  • Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder 302 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm / 295 ft-lbs. torque @ 2,100 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 109.3 inches
  • Total length: 182.5 inches
  • Total width: 73.4 inches
  • Total height: 58.4 inches
  • Track: f/r-62.5 / 62.4 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-37.6 / 37.4 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-41.9 / 33.5 inches
  • EPA cargo volume: 12.0 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 3,472 pounds
  • Fuel tank: 17.8 gallons
  • 0-60mph: 5.6 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 24 mpg city / 35 mpg highway

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