2012 Volvo S60 T5 2.5L five-cylinder turbocharged
I was very impressed with this car
I received a 2012 Volvo S60 as a rental upgrade. The car was in my possession for three days, accompanying me on a business trip and various errands. I must say it is the best rental car I have to date, and totally changed my opinion of Volvo. I would even say it is a better car in virtually every respect than my 2011 BMW 328i.
The first thing I noticed about the car was, of course, the exterior design. For the most part I thought it was elegant and cohesive, but perhaps not as much so as a BMW or Mercedes. This was the absolute base trim, with the stock rims. I have seen more heavily equipped models on the road, and the little things like upgraded rims on the higher models do make a difference.
The interior, however, is brilliant. Everything felt so secure and solid. I could see the same interior in a $50,000 car, it honestly felt that good. The materials were pleasing to the hand and eye, the seats were exceptionally comfortable, and were power adjustable, even in this base model. Even the steering wheel was pleasant to hold. Reaching a comfortable driving position was easy. In this regard, it put my 328i to shame.
As far as engine performance is concerned, again, I was extremely impressed. The T5 has the "lesser" of the two S60 engines: a 2.5 liter turbocharged 5 cylinder producing 250 horsepower, but I see no reason at all why anyone would want the T6. It was abundantly powerful and a complete joy to drive on the highway. Throttle response was instantaneous. I hardly ever noticed hesitation or lag, unlike what I routinely experience in my BMW. As far as gas mileage is concerned, it wasn't terrific, probably a little worse than what I get in my 328i, say low 20's. Adequate, but certainly could be better.
Other aspects of the car which impressed me were the suspension. Even though my 328i doesn't have the sport suspension, I tend to feel even the slightest bump. Not so in the Volvo.
All that said, there were some things which need work. I can say with certainty that the handling characteristics of this car are not up to the standards of my BMW. This is one area where Volvo still needs work. While I wouldn't call the S60 a sloppy handler, it just feels more Ford Fusion or Honda Accord-like than sporty. Completely safe, but you don't want to get to carried away.
There were other issues as well, mostly minor. I did notice some wind noise on the highway, definitely more than in my BMW. While I loved the look of the dashboard, there did seem to be too many buttons. It took me a little while to figure out how to operate the climate control. Also, the windshield wiper knob was far too sensitive, making it hard to get the right setting.
Ultimately, I think the S60 T5's faults are mitigated by the fact that it has a sticker price of less than $32,000. At this price, I get far more features than I do in my 2011 BMW (and a much better sound system I would add) and none of the annoying throttle lag. I guess quality is the elephant in the room, now that Geely owns Volvo. I can only say that it felt like a quality car to me. Brakes worked, electronics worked, no squeaks or rattles during my five hour drive. I will be considering Volvo as my next car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 7th November, 2012
Useful review. Volvo certainly can't drive like a BMW, but what other car can do so? But it feels solid if not inspired. And it's safe.
I think Volvo has made a questionable choice.
The vehicle price new is low, but the manufacturer makes money on repairs. The owners have a tendency of selling the car once out of warranty, because they become aware of the unreasonable cost of repairs. A second hand Volvo sells for cheap because people know how expensive they are to keep running, actually making the first owner lose money on resale.
Overall, it costs less when new, but has a poor resale value, so at the end it's not a good deal.
My family had a Volvo S60 T5 after driving Lincoln Town cars for twenty-something years. The Volvo was a horrible disappointment, and looked, drove and felt no more luxurious than our Ford Fusion. After two years we went back to Lincoln, and will stay with the solid and luxurious Lincolns for the rest of our lives.
Be aware that many 2012 T5 models seem to be plagued with transmission issues that Volvo dealers are unable/unwilling to fix. I've read of several owners that ended returning the vehicle after after too many trips to the garage. Check out Volvo forums on this issue. So far, the 2013 models seem to have sorted this.