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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted to share the first few miles with my first Volvo with the community.

This is my first Volvo. As soon as it arrives I will be getting rid of my 2001 Mercury Sable LS sedan (which is rapidly approaching 178K miles). That was my third Sable since 1986. Since I tend to keep cars for a long time, I run into sticker shock when I replace them.

I didn't see anything I really liked/met my needs in the common cars (i.e., domestics like Ford and imports like Nissan) and being intrigued by one of the Volvo commercials in the summer of 2011, I checked out the brand. I liked what I saw in terms of features, capabilities, performance, safety, and looks. I test drove. However, wrapping my head around a car priced near that of our first house wasn't easy.

I checked out pretty much every brand on the market (well, I didn't test drive Range Rover or Jaguar or Maserati or others in that price range). I found some cars I could live with but none that I really liked.

I test drove Volvos again. The C30 didn't quite fit, S40 was reaching end-of-life, S80 a bit too large, and S60 just about perfect. Many years ago I read about Overseas Delivery programs in one of the smart money magazines; I decided then that if I ever bought one of "those" cars I would take advantage of OSD.

One local dealer annoyed us by getting my wife's name wrong when during his follow up. Another dealer treated us well. I reached the point I needed a "test drive" longer than the usual 10 minutes. The second dealer couldn't help us out. Volvo US could not tell me which dealers had loaner cars. Enterprise, who does rent S60's, couldn't get one in my area. The other local dealers couldn't help. I knew the first dealer had service loaners so ended up back with them.

The S60 performed to my expectations the weekend I borrowed the car. It handled my driveway without scraping. The trunk fit the luggage we would pack for an OSD trip.

The only remaining problem: when to order. I ended up ordering in the middle of October for April delivery. We wanted nice weather and I wanted to get the new car. When doing paperwork, I had more information than the dealer (but that's not unusual for our purchases).

My order: S60 T5, Vibrant Copper Metallic paint (704), Leather Beechwood/Offblack (3103), Premium package (AG), Heated front seats (11), Park Assist front and rear (691), the mandatory Admin Option (900207, I think that is Bluetooth), and a trailer hitch (DA). I don't tow a lot but being able to drag a utility trailer full of firewood (rather than borrowing my brother's SUV) is handy – and for the available bike rack.

It turns out DA is NA (not available) for the S60 in NA (North America), so the dealer will install aftermarket.

I ordered in October 2011, the car was manufactured in December 2011, and we picked up the car at the Factory Delivery Center in Gothenburg on 11-April-2012. Volvo paperwork shows this to be model year 2012. On the test track I saw how much spray and dirt was kicked up on the sides so added the mud guards front and rear (along with rubber mats due to rainy weather).

It probably goes without saying that we were treated very well by the FDC staff.

From there we drove over 3000 miles through Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, and France. The road quality varied from farm-path to Autobahn; the suspension handled all types well. My calculated average fuel economy for the entire trip was a little over 26 MPG with an average speed around 40 MPH. That included a lot of time stuck in city traffic (average probably 1 MPH) and highway (anywhere from 50 MPH to 130 MPH).

The fit and feel of the vehicle was wonderful. The seats were very comfortable. As we went faster, the wind noise increased but that was not a bother until approximately 100 MPH. The only rattle noise was from the passenger seat belt on the B-pillar. Control was smooth and tight up to the maximum 130 MPH; my only complaint being the speed computer-limited at 130 MPH (with 147 MPH tires). Braking was solid and positive with no discernible fade.

We experienced no mechanical difficulties. We made extensive use of the heated seats and even had occasion to use the air conditioning and moonroof.

I exercised the transmission sport mode as well as the "manual" mode. I experienced no shifting harshness in regular mode; I expected it in sport. I found sport mode helpful in city traffic (slowing aggressively when taking foot off gas, ready to jump ahead when accelerator pressed) and twisty roads, especially going downhill (like those between Bastogne and Cherain in Belgium for instance).

The drag is low enough to take a bit of getting used to on the highway – the car seems to coast forever.

Sensus worked fine for me although the menus take a bit getting familiarized. I was able to play CD, AM, FM, and MP3 over USB sourced from thumb drive and cell phone. I was not able to test HD or Satellite radio (not available in Europe). I was able to play music from a thumb drive as well as charge both my cell phone and a Kindle Fire from the USB at the same time. I was not able to get a Sensus to recognize a USB hard disk (but it did provide enough power to spin it up); I'll spend more time with that once the car gets here.

The electric parking brake takes a bit of getting used to. I kept trying to engage a foot pedal (muscle memory). Most of the time I would let the parking brake disengage automatically. When I was parked in really tight quarters I would manually disengage to avoid the little "jump".

The trunk was hard to push down when closing but not so bad that I reported it on return. It latched just fine.

The car came with 215/50R17 95V, Michelin M+S tires.

I have the Garmin ECO HD (OBD II reader) and Nuvi 2370 (with European maps). That allowed me to monitor important engine parameters like temperature.

The color tended to get a lot of attention and was used as a backdrop for one set of wedding photos at the Place de la Concord (the Obelisk in Paris).

On return we noted a few items for review/correction:
  1. Thread sticking up on steering wheel where my thumb tended to rest
  2. KM/Hr reading on dash was 2-3 lower than reported on GPS (GPS matched roadside radar)
  3. Snag or imperfection in passenger seat front (between knees)
  4. USB port loose (may have been my USB was out of spec and a bit too small)

In other words, it was a great experience. I can't wait for the car to arrive in the US so I can get rid of the old car! I have to fight the urge to check the ship's position several times a day.

The manual and documentation books did get cause my carry-on luggage to be hand-searched on the way home. I was told the books appear like high-density blocks under X-ray, understandably causing concern.
 

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no doubt :) congrats man. I'll take delivery of mine in about a week.
 

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Thanks for the details on a seemingly awesome trip!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for the kind words everyone!

This was an *epic* journey...
 

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Nice review, from one Horvath to another! (I have the same last name)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Wayne. There are a lot of "Horvaths" out there -- that's the Hungarian version of the Croatian word that means "A Croatian" (in case you didn't know).

My brother's wife went to school with a Horvath from the Akron area (who then moved to the Atlanta area). No relation to us...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The dealer tells me the car is in and I can pick it up tomorrow. The next 26 hours are going to go *so* slow...
 

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The dealer tells me the car is in and I can pick it up tomorrow. The next 26 hours are going to go *so* slow...
Yep, I remember that call...hehe. I ACTUALLY THOUGHT I could work all day and then pick up the car in the late afternoon. I've never been so useless in the office before...shoulda just taken the day off!

Congrats, and enjoy your new ride :)
 
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