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http://autoweek.com/article/drive-reviews/volvo-s60-t5-inscription-first-drive

Volvo S60 T5 Inscription first drive: From China with love -- and legroom

August 27, 2015

The first volume Chinese-made car for sale in America is here: The Volvo S60 T5 Inscription, made in Chengdu, China.

On Sale: Now

Base Price: $39,640

Drivetrain: 2.0-liter direct-injected turbo four, eight-speed automatic, front wheel-drive

Output: 240 hp at 5400 rpm, 258 lb-ft from 1500 to 4800 rpm

Curb Weight: 3,433 pounds

Fuel Economy: 25 city/37hwy/29 combined EPA
(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)

Pros: Comfortable, semi-performance sedan with rear legroom

Cons: Styling doesn't stand out; will Chinese quality stand up?

The first volume Chinese-built car sold in America is here

What is it? Volvo was bought by Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. (Geely to its friends) five years ago. While the Geely/Volvo cooperative has produced several cars in China for other markets since then, the first Chinese-made, Volvo-branded car has now arrived in Volvo showrooms here, and the American market may never be the same.

Remember when Korean cars first came here? Japanese? European? Well, now it's China's turn, and after a good day behind the wheel of the stretch S60 Inscription from Chengdu we can say: it was just fine.

While there are a few trim and packaging differences, the Inscription is otherwise a well-equipped S60 with 3 inches more legroom in back. The Chinese market loves rear legroom in its sedans: the big boss likes to ride in back and the big boss wants to stretch out. The Chinese home market is packed with long-wheelbase E-classes, 5-series, even 3-series, A4s and A6s. And there is a Volvo S80L, too, which we haven't seen in the U.S.

If you sit in the back of an Inscription, you might think that Volvo should just offer this version of the S60 in America, since the rear legroom in the regular model is a bit tight. There are also sunshades for the rear-seat occupants, as well as 19-inch "Portia Diamond Cut" wheels. It's luxury all the way, baby, as Chairman Mao used to say.

The rest of the specs are straight from the S60 T5: The front wheel-drive Inscription is powered by a 2.0-liter direct-injected turbo four sending 240 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque through an eight-speed automatic. The all-wheel-drive model is powered by a 2.5-liter inline turbo five-cylinder sending 250 hp and 266 lb-ft to a six-speed automatic.

Volvo S60 T5 Inscription

Can you see the extra 3 inches of legroom?

What's it like to drive?

Our first stint behind the wheel came on a particularly twisty section of Highway 1 well north of San Francisco. Once the traffic cleared out and we could open it up a little, we found the S60 Inscription remains fun to drive, not unlike the regular S60. You really have to push hard to induce understeer, and up till that point, you have a well-controlled 3,433-pound luxury sedan at your fingertips. The standard Corner Traction Control -- Volvo's name for torque vectoring -- helps you approach but not surpass the limits of adhesion. Body roll is minimal, and there's even some side bolstering to keep your Chinese/American/Swedish torso upright and in place. The rest of the driving, on straightaway, flat Highway 101 for instance, was downright coddling. We liked the seats, in particular -- very comfy. And the S60's back seat is exactly 3 inches nicer than before.

Inscription legroom

There they are, all 3 inches.

Do I want it?

You really need to drive an S60 Inscription if you're looking at sedans in this class. Volvo says the Audi A4 and Lexus IS are competitors, though we'd bet some shoppers a class up might also consider it. Pricing is downright reasonable for a luxury/performance entry, starting at $39,640. And the made-in-China roots of the car? That may not be as big a deal as we all thought. Granted, we were only in it for a day, but it felt just as solid as any Swedish-made Volvo we've been in.

Maybe we should get a long-termer?

Mark Vaughn
Mark Vaughn - After college, senior editor Mark Vaughn moved to Europe to edit car magazine Auto. He interviewed with Autoweek at the Frankfurt motor show in 1989 and has been with us ever since. Read more »
 

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What line is this made on, SPA or older one?
 

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I want that 3 inches added to my V60! ;) Hey Volvo, we in N. America want the extra legroom on all your vehicles, from date of release (I'm curious to know who wouldn't globally?)! Hint: It $$sells$$ here, so don't skimp on the SPA's please.
 

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5 cyl motor. Time for a POLESTAR upgrade for this motor!
As much as I like to see this or aftermarket, I am NOT holding my breath. Exhaust is about all I see for for HP. Then not much for your dollar I bet.
 

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Someone needs to tell Geely/Volvo that they make a very nice conservative design automobile, but . . . the interiors are 10 years out of date and the electronics/user interface falls short of even Fisher Price. Time for some major updates.
 

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I want that 3 inches added to my V60! ;) Hey Volvo, we in N. America want the extra legroom on all your vehicles, from date of release (I'm curious to know who wouldn't globally?)! Hint: It $$sells$$ here, so don't skimp on the SPA's please.
It would be a slam dunk for me if the V60 had three more inches.
 

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Someone needs to tell Geely/Volvo that they make a very nice conservative design automobile, but . . . the interiors are 10 years out of date and the electronics/user interface falls short of even Fisher Price. Time for some major updates.
I totally disagree with interior being out of date. The interior is one of the MAIN reasons we bought our XC60. Every other car we looked at was hideous, HIDEOUS! MB, BMW, Audi, even Acura were designed by monkeys... MONKEYS!
 

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I totally disagree with interior being out of date. The interior is one of the MAIN reasons we bought our XC60. Every other car we looked at was hideous, HIDEOUS! MB, BMW, Audi, even Acura were designed by monkeys... MONKEYS!
Good to see your cap-lock works. As you are familiar with all the buttons on your keyboard, you're probably very comfortable with the V/S/XC60 button-centric dash. Each to their own. Enjoy.
 

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Good to see your cap-lock works. As you are familiar with all the buttons on your keyboard, you're probably very comfortable with the V/S/XC60 button-centric dash. Each to their own. Enjoy.
Some of us appreciate the interior design of the S60 and some are not too crazy about it. Volvo could have definitely done better with the software and allowed more functions and control.
Sealy: Do you actually own an S60? If so, why did you buy it if you dislike the design and multiple buttons so much?
 

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I totally disagree with interior being out of date. The interior is one of the MAIN reasons we bought our XC60. Every other car we looked at was hideous, HIDEOUS! MB, BMW, Audi, even Acura were designed by monkeys... MONKEYS!
I wouldn't go that far (I think Audi interiors are quite nice), but I agree that current Volvo interiors are simple, efficient, uncluttered, comfortable. Electronics are outdated, that is true, but in a couple of years we will see XC90-type system in most other Volvo vehicles.
 

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Sealy: Do you actually own an S60? If so, why did you buy it if you dislike the design and multiple buttons so much?
I'm a V person. They seem to be quite similar. We needed a wagon (long-roof hatch?) and it was this or a Mazda3 5-door. Overall I'm quite happy with the V60, but it was family pressure that put me in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I agree the numpad is not nice and should have received some updates. But it is delayed till the SPA remodel as part of the big plan for the company. It doesn't look like they could spare some resource to redesign the dash and use only a few years till SPA comes.
 

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I totally disagree with interior being out of date. The interior is one of the MAIN reasons we bought our XC60. Every other car we looked at was hideous, HIDEOUS! MB, BMW, AUDI even Acura were designed by monkeys... MONKEYS!
I hope your not serious with this statement. Audi has one of the best, if not THE best interior of any luxury auto maker
 

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Good to see your cap-lock works. As you are familiar with all the buttons on your keyboard, you're probably very comfortable with the V/S/XC60 button-centric dash. Each to their own. Enjoy.
Button-centric? Want button-centric? See BMW, Acura and a few others.
 

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I hope your not serious with this statement. Audi has one of the best, if not THE best interior of any luxury auto maker
For us, that's not the case. we absolutely love the simplicity of the interior; just the elegance of the layout is relaxing. No shiny chrome, no analog clocks, nothing gaudy screaming at you or distracting.

We looked, a lot, test drove a few others, but my wife just decided it was easier if she scoped the interior before we considered a test drive. The result was only test drives in volvos. The XC60 was at the top of the list the whole time but we always looked for competition; started in July and ordering Jan.
 

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Button-centric? Want button-centric? See BMW, Acura and a few others.
I'd rather dedicated buttons and knobs than having to move through 3 menus via a touchscreen for one simple function. Btw, the number pad works great for selecting programmed or typing in stereo stations.
 

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For us, that's not the case. we absolutely love the simplicity of the interior; just the elegance of the layout is relaxing. No shiny chrome, no analog clocks, nothing gaudy screaming at you or distracting.

We looked, a lot, test drove a few others, but my wife just decided it was easier if she scoped the interior before we considered a test drive. The result was only test drives in volvos. The XC60 was at the top of the list the whole time but we always looked for competition; started in July and ordering Jan.
Huh? I'm confused..:confused: I like our interior for various reasons, including the shiny chrome (satin) accents all over the doors, steering wheel, dash and central "waterfall". I would actually prefer some more metal bits on the door switches, as the cheap crap plastic with sharp or rough edges is not befitting a luxury car.
 
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