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#16

in 2009 Upscale Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $12,866 - $14,174
Original MSRP: $32,800 - $36,400
MPG: 19 City / 28 Hwy
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2009 Volvo S60 Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

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
Used car average prices are provided by ClearBook™, a TrueCar™ product