Volvo S60 Premium Sedan review

I’ve driven some of the German luxury cars- BMW 3 series, X3, Merc C Class and E Class, Audi Q3 etc. But never had a chance to drive the Swedish brand Volvo. When I noticed that Royal Bothers have started car rental and have Volvo cars on offer, I was keen to experience the same. RB and their partner Driven agreed to give me the Volvo S60 sedan, the most expensive Volvo in their fleet for a day without rent, while I would be responsible for everything else- fuel, toll, parking and accident damage liability which is up to 25% of car’s value. This post is a review of the car Volvo S60. I’ve a separate post narrating how we spent a day with Volvo S60.
Volvo S60 has a price tag ranging from 33 lakhs to 53 lakhs ex-showroom, depending on variants. Add 25% more for approx. on road price. Volvo S60 competes with its German rivals- BMW 3 series, Mercedes C Class and Audi A3 in entry level premium sedan car market. With this in mind, let us see how Volvo S60 fares w.r.t its rivals
For Volvo India, s60 is in the middle of the portfolio. There’re cheaper ones like V40- and also more expensive ones like S90, XC60, XC90 and V90

The looks
Volvo isn’t a brand known for its looks and styling. Traditionally they had fairly box shape design. Even today, a bit of curves are introduced here n there but overall look still feels boxy and doesn’t come close to that of a BMW or Merc. So styling and initial impression is not a forte of S60- this could be one of the main reasons why Volvo is not selling as many cars in India compared to Audi/BMW or Merc. However, V40 has a more stylish exterior- you should check it out if style matters to you.

Safety
This is where Volvo has its dominance. Volvo cars are some of the safest in the world and Volvo is a pioneer in various safety standards. They focus not just on the passengers in the car, but even the pedestrians on the road. Modern Volvo cars have Pedestrian airbags (you can watch videos on youtube to understand how they work) that cushion a person from major impact if he/she is hit with a Volvo car. Volvo does extensive crash tests and continuously improves their design for better safety. Thus S60 gets much more rigid and crash resistant body and lots of safety features compared to its rivals.
Interiors:
Again not the most impressive one. Feels a bit old fashioned. Driven has chosen the cheapest variant without paddle shift, sunroof and such features, so the one I drove didn’t have too many WoW features to write about.
Display is pure digital, including speedo and tachometer. This is the part I like the most about Volvo S60. Full digital display gives lots of flexibility on how to show critical information to the driver. For example, in normal mode, main display is speedometer, with a digital needle showing current speed. In Performance mode, tachometer replaces speedometer. We can see both RPM and current speed in one look. Driver can also select which information he would like to see where (example how much fuel is consumed for 100 km)


Steering wheel gets standard controls. The horn I felt a bit hard to operate.
Overhead lamp also sows seat belt warning, in addition to same display in driver's console, but only for driver and front row passenger seats, with weight sensor.
 Vanity mirror gets lights
Central console: The digital display is too small for a 40 lakh car. Tata Nexon gets a much bigger display. Volvo S60 has too many buttons and knobs in the centre- which some of you will like- makes it simple- no need to navigate through complicated touch screen menu or rotating knobs- understand which button is for what function and next time hit the right button in one go. But if you’re used to simplicity, then you will get miffed by these many number of buttons and controls. German rivals have much cleaner central console with more functions offered with less buttons/knobs or touch screen. Central console is slightly tilted towards the driver. There is a sliding tambour door which is convenient to keep mobiles or walki-talkies or such stuff while driving. A toll receipt holder is nice. Direct USB plug is also nice- no need to bring a cigarette lighter charger, you can directly insert the charging cable.

Door feels standard. I touch of wood would have been nice in a super premium car, but again this being a cheaper variant can't expect much. Door locking mechanism was bit difficult to understand- the passenger doors couldn't be opened at times and we had to try different things like trying to open from outside, from inside, trying with ignition off etc. Not blaming the car, I think I failed to understand the car properly during the time it was with me.
Gear lever is again standard.  The cloth cover around it sort of compromises upmarket feel if you ask me. This feels at par with Jetta kind of car, not BMW 3 series or Audi..
Driver seat gets electronic adjustment and 3 memory settings.
Second row: Middle seat also gets head rest. Armrest gets cup holder. Fairly comfortable for 2 adults and a teenager or kid. Doesn't really ooze luxury, but then this is the cheapest variant of S60. If you're buying one you can probably customize better w.r.t seat covers, optional accessories etc.



Seatbelt warning is available for driver and passenger only, with passenger weight sensor (warning will be shown only if someone is sitting on it. (Maserati Ghibli had warning for all 5 seats.)
The car I drove only had proximity sensor, not reverse camera.

Drive:
I had to comply with a 100 kmph speed limit, so can’t comment on top speed. Volvo S60 comes with about 10 different engine options- 4 diesel and 6 petrol engine options with various combinations of engine power, Auto/Manual/ FWD/AWD etc. One I drove was a diesel automatic. Not sure of the power.

Volvo S60 gets a push button start, but what I didn’t like is key fob needs to be inserted into a socket. It won’t start if I have key in my pocket. Many modern cars work as long as key fob is say within half a meter distance. No need to take it out and insert anywhere. But in S60 you've to manually insert it- the position where it needs to be inserted isn't very convenient to access as you get in. (We usually carry key in right hand, now have to transfer it to left hand, find the slot which is right behind the steering wheel, insert and take hand out to press start button. Traditional position where you insert a key on steering column is more easier to access.
One major feature I would like premium car makers to add is some sort of cover to the seat assembly. If something falls down in between central console and the seat, it should be channeled out in a smooth way. There were couple of instances where my phone or walkie-talkie fell down under the seat and searching for them was a difficult affair. If car makers can think about it and provide a design such that anything falls between first row seats will be directed out towards second row then retrieving stuff will be easier.

Fuel economy
Volvo S60 gives you a fuel economy of about 10 kmpl. For the 250 odd kms I drove in 24 hours, I had to add about 1200 Rs worth fuel. I think I returned it short of 1 bar. This means around 20 litres of fuel for 250 kms or a practical fuel economy of about 12.5 kmpl. In Performance mode the car was showing it needs 10 litres for 100 km.

So if you’d like to experience the Swedish brand, you can now simply rent it from Royal Brothers/Driven. Below table gives a quick summary of models available and their rentals. 
#
Model
Weekday Rental/Day INR, with GST
Weekend Rental/Day, INR, with GST
Accident risk liability
Remarks
1
Volvo S60
7000
8500
10 lakhs

2
Volvo V40
5000
5500
7.5 lakhs

3
Volvo V40 R Design
5500
6000
8 lakhs
Most stylish of the 3






Be advised on the worst case scenario accident liability- customers are required to pay up to 25% of car’s value in case of major accidents/damage. Insurance will be claimed only for rest of the amount. What this means is you should be mentally and financially be ready to pay up to 10 lakhs in case Volvo S60 suffers a major damage when under your care. With Zoomcar, the liability is capped to 10000 INR.

Also note that rental comes with a speed limit (100kmph) and daily usage limit (around 300 kms).

Prices are round off to nearest 500. For actual applicable rental amount for the dates of your choice and to check availability and book, visit Royal Brothers website. Read more about RB's car rental offerings

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