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2013 Volvo S60 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Volvo S60 was new.


Performance: 7.7

While the 2013 Volvo S60 isn’t a sports car, reviewers say that even the base S60 T5 offers a powerful turbocharged engine and capable handling.

  • "Powered by a vigorous turbocharged five-cylinder, the S60 T5 easily demonstrates the benefits of distributing power to four wheels rather than two." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "Regardless of output, the T6 engines are smooth and powerful, and the all-wheel-drive system apportions power to individual wheels to maximize traction and grip through turns or on slippery roads." -- Edmunds 
  • "A slightly quicker steering gear, the responsive turbo motor especially in sport mode along with torque vectoring and advanced stability control make the S60 T5 a great companion on the smooth winding roads that wend their way through the mountain passes and rolling countryside east of Salt Lake." -- Road and Track 
  • "Even with altitude-associated losses, our S60 pulled hard as we drove over and down the area's mountains, eventually wending our way into Wyoming on a long and beautiful drive route before heading back into the Beehive State." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

Three engines are available in the 2013 Volvo S60, which range from the 250-horsepower, turbocharged five-cylinder in the base T5, to the 325-horsepower, turbocharged six-cylinder in the T6 R-Design. Regardless of which model you choose, a six-speed automatic transmission with Sport mode comes standard. All-wheel drive is optional on the T5, while T6 models come with it standard. The base S60 T5 gets an EPA-estimated 21/30 mpg city/highway. While those estimates are competitive within the class, rivals like the Audi A4 use less fuel.

Most reviewers are pleased with the power that the base S60 T5 offers, saying that the bulk of car shoppers probably won’t need or want the extra horsepower that comes in the more powerful T6 models. Though they offer less power, one test driver notes that rivals like the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4 get better fuel economy.

  • "While the S60 holds a power advantage over the BMW 328i xDrive and the Audi A4, those cars use eight-speed automatics that give them an edge both in fuel economy and acceleration." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "The 266-hp T5 is gutsy-the turbocharged engine pulls adequately even at 9,000 feet of elevation-roomy, stylish and comfortable." -- AutoWeek 
  • "Yet the 2013 Volvo S60 is not without its exciting side, as all three engines offered in the lineup provide a turbocharged kick. Said kick ranges from 250-325 horses and these turbocharged five- and six-cylinder engines boast not only spirited acceleration but also good fuel economy numbers." -- Edmunds 
  • "There's very little turbo lag and enough power that we have trouble imagining paying more for the nose-heavier, thirstier T6 and its 300-horsepower 3.0-liter I6." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

For 2013, the base S60 T5 gains optional all-wheel drive, and reviewers say that it makes the S60 sure-footed on their test drives through mountain roads. While the S60 doesn’t take corners with the precision of a BMW 3-Series, most reviewers agree that it offers a composed ride. Still, one critic says that he expects a European sedan like the S60 to corner better than it does, while another notes that the S60 doesn’t absorb road imperfections as well as some comfort-tuned rivals.

  • "The steering is fine, though the car has a tendency to lean over in a corner more than we're used to from a European sedan." -- AutoWeek 
  • "It's a sure-footed handler with nicely weighted steering that feels substantial without being heavy." -- Edmunds
  • The chassis is rock solid, pretty well damped, although on some uneven pavement it was evident that the car is set up a bit more aggressively than your ordinary family sedan." -- Road and Track 
  • "The chassis was similarly accomplished over everything from freeway expansion joints to cattle grids and railroad crossings, the modestly sized 235/45-R17 rubber offering adequate sidewall compliance to preserve ride quality." -- Autoblog

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