Fleet News

Volvo S60 D5 SE -



DRIVING the S60 over the past two weeks was apt, because like England's performances against Brazil and Sweden, it was a game of two very different halves.

Lucky enough to be given a whole week's holiday, my girlfriend and I headed for Cornwall. This meant a huge amount of baggage to cover all climatic eventualities, which the big gold car's boot swallowed with consummate ease.

Then there was the drive from Stamford, Lincolnshire, to Port Isaac, Cornwall: a journey of more than 300 miles mostly along motorway and dual carriageway.

It might be a bit clumsy inside, but the S60 is as comfortable as you could ever want. The soft leather armchairs and compliant ride mean that hundreds of miles can be covered without any fuss at all. And you can barrel along with the cruise control on and still get mid-forties fuel consumption.

But best of all, with the sidelights blazing and that dining table sized gold bonnet, other drivers cannot fail to spot the S60 coming up and pull out of the way, allowing you to sweep imperiously past.

If motorways are a large chunk of a driver's miles, then this is a cracking car. It also has a superb stereo, and the dials for the preset channels and various audio modes are a much tidier solution than rows of fiddly buttons.

I am not so keen on the climate control though, which seemed to blow out cold air no matter what temperature it was set at, and that infernal 'put your seat belt on' chime drives me insane. Treat your customers like grown-ups, Volvo.

Once off the dual carriageways and on to the maze of twisty A-roads throughout Cornwall, the S60's weakness is obvious. Like Seaman against Ronaldhino, it just doesn't handle.

The diesel engine is great – you can stick it in third and fourth gear and it will pull hard out of all but the tightest corners, but the steering just feels completely inert.

Lifeless. With such a low geared steering rack, I found myself constantly having to readjust midway through bends, and the excellent motorway ride comes over all fidgety on rougher roads at slower speeds.

So, at the end of the day, as footballers are so keen on saying, what is the final result on the S60?

Because it is a big, comfortable, safe feeling car and its long distance qualities far outweigh its lack of ability on tighter roads, it is a comfortable 3-1 victory for the Volvo.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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