The 2013 Volvo S60 is proof that Sweden still has a pulse

volvo1The 2013 Volvo S60 is still as Swedish as a big chunk of lutfisk with lingonberry topping.  Foreign buyouts can be harrowing for automotive companies, but Zhejiang Geely has done absolutely no wrong to this vehicle.  The 2013 Volvo S60 is not only worthy of competing with the world’s best, including the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class and the Acura TL, it outright crushes them in nearly every subjective category.

Volvo2From the outside, the 2013 Volvo S60’s coupe-like design is sleek and svelte.  My Ice White tester, replete with optional 17-inch “Njord” wheels and a rear spoiler, turned more than a few heads.

The sleek and svelte theme continues inside with a gracefully flowing center stack and premium, soft-touch materials.  The illuminated shift knob and jeweled instrument displays are a nice touch, and the seats are the most comfortable units I have ever had the pleasure of resting my posterior upon.

Volvo3The 2013 Volvo S60’s standard 2.5-L T5 engine features an increased compression ratio (up from 9.0:1 to 9.5:1) and reduced internal friction.  The five-pot’s 250-HP and 266 lb.-ft. of torque are channeled through a revised six-speed automatic transmission and Volvo’s all-wheel-drive system with Instant Traction.  The combination provided a 22.9-MPG average on regular unleaded fuel.

When you bury the right pedal, find something to grab on to – the surge of acceleration, especially with the transmission in “sport” mode, comes on strong.  The mellifluous sounds produced by the five-cylinder engine are an added bonus.

Volvo5Despite the 2013 Volvo S60 T5 model’s notably softer chassis tuning (compared with the T6), the ride and handling balance are nearly perfect.  Even with a full load of five passengers and cargo, the S60’s composure remains unflappable.

Speaking of carrying five adult passengers, in the 2013 Volvo S60, it is possible.  Despite just 93 cubic feet of passenger volume, the front and rear quarters are surprisingly accommodating when packed to capacity.

When the roads get twisty, Volvo’s Corner Traction Control by Torque Vectoring system pulls the S60 T5 AWD through corners with remarkable agility, and the electric power steering system provides excellent feedback.

If your canyon-carving jaunt goes wrong, know that this Volvo is no less safe than any of its predecessors.  On Christmas Day, the driver’s front corner of my S60 was backed into by a 5,894-pound 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe.

The impact was strong enough to move the Volvo aside two feet from where it was parked.  Still, the only damage was a minor black scrape and small deformation in the bumper where it meets the headlamp.

Volvo4My sister-in-law was so impressed that upon her return to Los Angeles, she traded in her 2010 Lexus IS250 for a 2013 Volvo S60 T5.

In terms of value, the price of my $38,170-as-tested 2013 Volvo S60 T5 AWD Premier came in between $2,000 and $10,000 less than a comparably-equipped 2013 BMW 328i xDrive, 2013 Audi A4 Quattro or 2013 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic.

Factor in Volvo’s complimentary factory-scheduled maintenance plan, and the car becomes an even greater value.


On the recommendation scale of:

– Buy it

– Lease it

– Rent it or

– Forget it

I give the 2013 Volvo S60 T5 AWD a BUY IT!

I dare anyone to find another car that presents this blend of style, safety, driving dynamics, and value within the near-luxury segment.  Volvo has clearly done their homework – I can’t wait to see what the future brings for their model lineup.


3danDaniel Buxbaum has had a life-long passion for all things automotive. His background as a Porsche, Audi and BMW service advisor brings a more technical approach to his writing. Dan’s passion for automotive journalism secured him a position as regional manager and contributing writer for Parts & People, a multi-region automotive trade publication. Dan is also an active member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP) and Motor Press Guild (MPG).