What's Hot

Cool colour palette, potent powerplant and geek-street cred.

What's Not

Hasn’t shaken that ‘Bloody Volvo’ brand stigma.


Loaded with world-first tech and sexy style.

Overall Rating

On The Road
Value For Money


Country of Origin
$72,990 (plus on-road costs)
6 Cylinders
224 kW / 440 Nm
Sports Automatic


ANCAP Rating
Driver & Passenger (Dual), Head for 2nd Row Seats, Side for 1st Row Occupants (Front), Head for 1st Row Seats (Front)


L/100 km
243 g/km

Towing and Luggage

Luggage Capacity
536 L
Towing (braked)
1800 kg
Towing (unbraked)
750 kg

Samantha Stevens | Aug 4, 2011 | 2 Comments


Vehicle Style: Mid-size sporting sedan
Price: $69,150

Fuel Economy (claimed): 10.2l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 11l/100km (short route/test)



Volvo’s new S60 range reeks of style. With the S60 R-Design, it combines velvet lines with the iron punch of a turbo-six and world-first safety technologies.

And it does it for a shade under $70k. Sharp cars, stylish, and still leading in safety: in any way you look at it, the reinvented Volvo is back in town.

We put the super safety attributes of Volvo’s top-shelf turbo-six through its paces.



Quality: The S60 R-Design is all quality in the details. Smart Swedish design such as the floating centre console not only looks super-elegant but increases the impression of space.

The S60, in fact, is bigger than the outgoing model in track and even in headroom despite the sleek rear three-quarter (though the boot is slightly smaller).

Comfort: Trim is reminiscent of a stormtrooper’s uniform; a combination of dark grained leather with white pipe-textured inserts. Throughout are chrome highlights and lovely soft-touch surfaces (there’s also a wood-grain trim, but it’s extremely twee).

Equipment: The HMI (human-machine interface) combining sat-nav, audio, phone, tripmeter and Bluetooth in one package can thankfully be controlled by voice and steering wheel. The complexity of the centre deck can be a tad overwhelming.

Storage: A 60:40 split rear seat opens up the standard 380-litre boot, and a cargo net keeps stray shopping bags in place.



Driveability: Volvo has always been all about safety, and TMR was invited to taste some of its cool world-first tech at Sydney’s Eastern Creek’s skidpan and track.

The optional ‘pedestrian detection system’ is a trick bit of kit, automatically braking the car to a full ABS stop if an obstacle (human) suddenly appears in front of it.

Its standard ‘city safety system’ is similar, braking automatically at speeds of up to 30km/h to avoid low-speed collisions, or lessen the impact of higher-speed boo-boos.

A combined camera, laser and radar in the front bumper and windscreen scans ahead, and if something pops up and the driver doesn’t brake, the car will.

Using blow-up dummies and a big balloon car, we tested these devices at 20km–30km/h on the skidpan and found them unerringly effective.

At speeds faster than 30km/h though, the camera can’t look far enough ahead relative to speed, and its ability is lessened or unavailable.

With 220kW available on demand, the S60 R-Design is far from a slouch and has a spearing turn of speed, assisted by all-paw AWD grip.

Refinement: Slow-speed safety tech with radar-cruise, heads-up display, lane change warnings and a driver fatigue scale that demands you take a break if your car starts swaying a little in the lanes.

This is a veritable computer on wheels, encased in a snazzy cover.

Suspension: The suspension is calibrated for luxury, but while soft and lacking some dynamic edge, it’s no barge. It also handles the tech-heavy Volvo’s 1880kg pork pretty well.

Braking: The S60 R-Design’s brakes are extremely effective, with an aggressive ABS calibration particularly when the Pedestrian Detection/City Safety is activated.



ANCAP rating: 5 star

Safety features: Front, side and curtain airbags, front load limiter/pretensioner seatbelts, rear pretensioner seatbelts, driver alert control (DAC) to wake up fatigued steerers; blind spot information system (BLIS), whiplash protection system (WHIPS), a roll-over protection system (ROPS), and of course ABS, EBD, and DTSC stability control.



Warranty: Three year warranty with roadside assist

Service costs: Service intervals are set for every 15,000km/12 months. Service costs are not provided by Volvo Australia. Before purchase, check with your Volvo dealer.



Volkswagen Passat V6 4Motion ($64,990): A good match for the Volvo in price and power (220kW/350Nm), and quality is top-notch, but its design is more homogenised than the distinctly different Volvo. 
(see Passat reviews)

Subaru Liberty 3.6i AWD ($51,990): The 191kW/350Nm boxer engine, as with the A4, has a lighter load to push, and the Premium model packs in good value for the price. (see Liberty reviews)

AUDI A4 3.2 quattro ($91,000): The A4 all-paw only develops 195kW and 330Nm, but weighs 200kg less so feels just as powerful. But there’s a powerful value persuasion in the Volvo’s favour. (see A4 reviews)

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.



The S60 R-Design’s torquey turbo-six packs 224kW and 440Nm put through a six-speed adaptive auto and all-four wheels.

Although leaning to comfort over sporting edge, it is a little more stirring for the soul than Volvo’s still somewhat-dowdy image suggests.

The combination of turbo punch with all of the S60 R-Design’s safety systems, plus a sharp if polarising design, and you have one cool "Bloody Volvo".

Let us help you save time and money on a New Volvo S60
Name required
Last Name should be a hidden field. Please delete if you are a real person.
Valid Phone required
Valid Email required
Valid Postcode required
Thank you for your enquiry.
One of our accredited supply network will be in touch in the next 24 hours.
Or Call 1300 438 639
To get a great deal from our national accredited supply network.