Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Swede Little Mystery; Volvo S60 D2: Long-Term Test

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Swede Little Mystery; Volvo S60 D2: Long-Term Test

Article excerpt

Byline: Andy Enright

THERE was a time when the idea of being able to regularly return more than 70mpg would have seemed a fantasy, even in the smallest city car. Today, that's possible in quite a few of the most efficient diesel models.

Not many of them reside in the compact executive luxury segment, though. Which was why when Volvo introduced its latest Drive-E technology in its S60, we sat up and took notice.

This comes in its most frugal form in 'D2' guise - and that's the diesel engine fitted in the S60 saloon model we're currently putting through our long-term test programme.

This car's powerplant is a 2.0-litre unit putting out 120PS and a decent 280Nm slug of pulling power. With that in mind, I rather doubted whether I'd be able to replicate Volvo's claimed combined cycle consumption claim - 74.3mpg along with 99g/km of CO2.

With regard to the frugality, I've been rather surprised to find that the car does indeed seem to be as economical as its maker's claim. I'll be monitoring that for future reports.

Enough about engines; what about driving dynamics? Is this really the 'premium sports saloon' that the glossy advertising promises? To try to answer that, I've been driving this S60 for a few weeks now and, having put a few miles under its wheels, I can't get away from thinking two things.

First, that it's not quite as sporty as Volvo thinks it is. And second, that this is probably a very good thing. Now don't get me wrong. This is a more dynamic drive than anything the Swedish brand has yet provided in this market segment; but then, they were hardly starting from a class-leading position in that respect.

Traditionally, Volvos have always been above ballistic back-road behaviour, instead prioritising comfort, ride and refinement.

Attempts in the past to add a little handling vim to that mix with sporting R models were usually somewhat crudely delivered, compromising the values that made people want to buy into the brand in the first place. …

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