For the Volvo Enthusiast

Long-term S60 T5 AWD: Fall Update

The journey of our T5 AWD started at the Park City, UT press launch and made its way to our Virginia office. A few thousand miles in and the T5 AWD demonstrated why it is one of Volvo’s top selling models with a stylish and nimble persona.

The end of September ushers in the fall and every two years Volvo opens its North American headquarters to the Volvo community. The day before this year’s Open House, heavy rain coated the mid-Atlantic region. The rainy drive north on Interstate 95 encouraged obeying the posted speed limit, and by doing so, revealed a surprising 35mpg after more than 75 miles. The EPA rates the T5 AWD at 29mpg highway. The rough ride around New York City was made tolerable thanks to a forgiving suspension, and smaller diameter 17” NJORD wheels. My 618 mile round trip average was 33mpg. The 2013 engine efficiency improvements are genuine and the fuel economy results impressive for an AWD sedan.

The S60 is a marvelous commuter vehicle. The 250hp 5-cylinder is fuel efficient, safe, fun-to-drive, luxurious and unique all in one package. The sum of the offer, to include the Volvo exclusive Safe and Secure program covering wear and tear costs for 5 years or 50,000 miles, separates the 2013 S60 T5 AWD from the competition. Unfortunately, we read recently the Safe and Secure program will end on January 2, 2013. If you are on the fence about buying a new Volvo and want S+S, head to your local Volvo dealer for a great year-end deal.

While the S60 is a standout, there is room for improvement, especially for a mid-thirty thousand-dollar sedan. The two options I would recommend be made standard are the dual xenon headlamps and the rearview camera when the transmission is in reverse. The halogen headlamps perform well but are less impressive on dark country roads as the optional dual xenon units. Perhaps I have grown weary of controlled rearward momentum without fear of running over a Razor scooter or recycling bin, but after several months with a rearview camera in our XC90 R-Design, it is one piece of technology that makes sense to include as a standard safety feature.

For the trip to Volvo headquarters, I purchased a Magellan portable navigation unit that happened to include a wireless backup camera. Both of these items in one package reduced my concerns of driving to the big city, getting lost and parallel parking into a tight spot. The Magellan was efficient and accurate. The pleasant female voice provided sufficient prompts and reminders to ensure I made the correct turn at the precise moment to arrive at my destination. I will write more about this unit after some additional use. My first impressions are very favorable.

Even though the event was overcast numerous generations of Volvo filled the parking lot at Volvo Cars of North America headquarters. The quality of restoration for each of the classic Volvos was tremendous and the abundance of modified S70s and V70s reminds us that the Volvo enthusiast community continues to thrive. Meeting the K-PAX Racing team was the highlight of the afternoon. The team was very gracious and the technicians explained the latest technologies behind the K-PAX S60, giving more than one Volvo enthusiast a few new ideas. Randy Pobst, driver of the #6 K-PAX S60, signed autographs, shared experiences, and listened to owner stories. The loud pop of the airbag demonstration created a visceral response for a few Volvo owners grateful for the safety innovation.

Our S60 logged 5000 comfortable miles without any issues or concerns. As our weather transitions from the colors of fall into the cold of winter, a few Volvo owners may choose to visit the sunny beaches of Hawaii and avoid potentially slippery conditions. I am confident the traction of the Haldex AWD system will get our family through the snow to Grandma’s house for the holidays or to the airport for the flight across the Pacific.

For the next long-term installment, I will report on the smile-inducing, 25mm rear sway bar from IPD.

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