$5,431 - $6,027

2009 Volvo S60 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Volvo S60 was new.


Performance: 6.8

You're not going to win any drag races in your Volvo S60, or win any awards at the track. But you're in for a comfortable commute. Reviewers say the S60 is tuned for comfortable cruising, and can handle rough weather in its wll-wheel-drive editions. The car trails most of the upscale midsize class in horsepower and handling prowess, but it has highway passing power and acceptable road manners.

  • "The soft and comfortable ride quality makes long distance drives effortless, but other sedans are just as comfortable yet much more enjoyable to drive from a handling and steering standpoint." -- Edmunds
  • "Volvo calls the S60 AWD a sports sedan, but the speed and precision of such a car just aren't there." -- MSN
  • "These premium midsize sedans have a satisfyingly solid structure, but the suspension allows minor road imperfections to be felt more than in most class rivals." -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

Most manufacturers at this price point offer a four-cylinder and six-cylinder engine.  Volvo splits the difference with a choice of two unusual inline-five-cylinder engines. They give the car a respectable balance of power and fuel economy, but they don't make it the equal of some of its rear-wheel-drive, six-cylinder competition.

2.5T models are powered by a 2.5-liter, turbocharged inline-five cylinder engine putting out 208 horsepower. T5s have a smaller 2.4-liter inline-five, but it uses a more powerful turbocharger to squeeze 257 hp from the smaller powerplant. Only five-speed automatic transmissions are available, but the T5's version has a manual shift mode. According to the EPA, both models should get 26 mpg on the highway, with 2.5T editions getting 18 mpg in the city and T5 models getting 17.

  • "The Volvo's turbocharged inline-5...is simply no match for the competition's larger-displacement six-cylinder engines." -- Edmunds
  • The 2.5T "doesn't spring off the line, but it picks up speed impressively enough. It suffers from some turbo lag at low rpm." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

Few reviewers have written about front-wheel-drive S60s, but those who have use words like "adequate" to describe the car's handling balance, and some complain of torque steer -- the tendency of a front-wheel drive car to resist steering where you want it through a turn. AWD versions have won considerably more reviews from the automotive press. Most test drivers find the S60 sure-footed and confident even in slippery conditions, but few say it's fun to drive.

  • "The high-powered T5's noticeable torque steer can, at times, become annoying." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Handling is competent but limits are modest. S60s are known for their strong brakes, and they indeed exhibit impressive stopping ability." -- Edmunds
  • "We drove over gravel roads in the S60 AWD, and found directional stability on loose surfaces excellent." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "From both a mechanical as well as ‘peace-of-mind' standpoint, the S60 AWD feels more firmly connected to the road than its front-drive sibling." -- Road and Track
  • "The extra grip afforded by the 2.5T AWD is welcome in snow and other sloppy road conditions. The drawback is these models have a large turning radius. Brakes feel strong, though some of our testers find the pedal action touchy in around-town driving." -- Consumer Guide

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