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Volvo S60

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  • Yes, I know this comparison seems strange, but I own a 2002 Camry and I am considering getting an S60 instead. My reason is simple: everything about my Camry is fine with one exception - the driver's seat seems to have been designed by the Marquis de Sade. I have spent over $1000 at auto upholsterers trying to get it fixed, as trading in a new car is obviously a financial disaster. But a chronically bad back is a much worse disaster.

    I haven't actually driven the S60 yet. I have tried just about everything else, from all the American brands to a Volvo S40 and a C-series Mercedes. I didn't find any of them comfortable, certainly not sufficiently more comfortable than my Camry to justify the cost of trading. Now my son, who drives a BMW SUV, tells me that the S60 is the most comfortable car he's ever driven. I will try it as soon as I can - I'm laid up at the moment with a twisted knee - but wonder if in the meantime anyone has ever compared the S60 with the Camry.

    The seat, which I see people seem to love, is of course my first priority, but I will have to judge that for myself as soon as I can. But what about the rest of the car? It's 9" shorter than the Camry, same width and weight, has a much smaller trunk,a slightly wider turning circle, and 11 more hp in the base model. In other words, on paper it seems pretty comparable, yet it costs nearly double what the Camry costs. What do you get for that additional money? Certainly not more reliability, and while the Camry is no racing car, I understand the S60 isn't either, and besides, I'm no racing driver.

    I guess I could be charged with comparing apples and oranges, but I'm really not - I'm comparing two fine cars which seem comparable yet one costs nearly double the other (I paid $19,000 for the Camry and will have to pay around $37,000 for an S60). I'm trying to figure out why there is such a price difference. I might add that Volvo is one of the few car brands I've never owned, though I've owned everything from a tiny Renault 4 and a Toyota Tercel to a diesel Mercedes and a gasoline Mercedes and full-size American cars (Impala, Pontiac, and Cadillac). I've never had this seat problem before, by the way; new cars seem to have much harder and severely preformed seats than previous models (though admittedly my back is doubtless softer and less well formed than previously). Anyway, if anyone has any comments or suggestions, I'd very much like to hear them. Thanks in advance.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,890
    A journalist with a major daily newspaper is looking to talk with people who bought entry-luxury cars having owned more-expensive luxury cars (e.g. traded 5-series for 3-series).
    If you have a story to share, please send your daytime contact information to jfallon@edmunds.com no later than Friday, December 20, 2002. Please be sure to include the vehicle model names and model years. Thanks for your consideration!

    MODERATOR
    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • cmnottcmnott Posts: 200
    Good points. The Camry does everything that any car does, yet people continue to buy BMW, Audi, Mereceds, etc...are they throwing their money away?

    Maybe.

    The proof will be when you drive the Volvo. I think you will notice that cars like the Volvo, BMW, Mercedes have a "different" feel to the Camry. While the Camry does everything that anyone can ask for, these cars are more upscale in feel, looks, quality and driving experience.

    Whether it is worth it or not is up to you but coming from this S60 owner, I am very happy with my car and once you drive a car of this ilk, the Camry will seem cheaper than it is.

    Good luck and let us know how you make out!
  • The only sure way to tell if the S60 is right for you is to take one for an extended ride. I believe that Hertz rents the S60. Rent one for a weekend and drive it for a good long while. If your back likes the seats, then, you have your answer.
  • Traded in a 2001 CL-S in September for a metallic grey 2002 2.4T S60 and so far love the car. Miss the power of the Acura, but the Volvo is so much more comfortable. And the S60 is no slouch either, it gets up ok on the freeway but feels a little sluggish from a red light.

    Pros:
    1) Amazing seats. The overall comfort of this car is very nice. Very different from the CL, which was very firm in comparison. I miss the Acura through the corners and freeway on/off ramps but everywhere else give me my S60!
    2) Amazing stereo.
    3) Great looking (I never thought I'd say that about a Volvo!).
    4) Great Dealership (Orange County Volvo)with a lot of perks.

    Cons:
    1) Steering could use more feel. I'm used to it now, but coming from the Acura to the Volvo initially felt like a Caddy from the 70s.
    2) More Power Please! I may have to trade this in in two or three years for an S60R.
    3) The options are a little strange. It would have been nice to get heated seats and the stereo upgrade but the seats are only part of the cold weather package and the stereo upgrade is only available on the T5.

    Hope that helps anyone out there thinking about an s60. Consider me a Volvo fan for life!

    Scott
  • Welcome aboard the S60 train. Regarding power, you can purchase an ECU upgrade from ipdusa.com that will boost hp to around 220 and torque to 265, which may be enough for your needs. The S60 will never be a drag racer (for that matter, no Volvo will be able to claim top honors in 0 to 60 or quarter mile); however, for all-around driving that is safe, you can't beat them.
  • car02car02 Posts: 2
    Can anyone give me an idea at what I am looking to pay for the AWD S60 T-5?
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Pricing has not been set yet.
    We have been told @$43-45000.
    Base price @$39,900.
    2000 cars for North America, so don't expect any discount.
  • rghesselrghessel Posts: 122
    This is probably riduculous to ask at the beginning of 2003, but does anyone know of any possible changes for MY 2004? The lease for my Lexus is up in Dec 2003 and am moderately interested in the Volvo S60 (either T5 or AWD). The littlest changes can make a difference to me, so just curious if anyone knows of any.
  • rghesselrghessel Posts: 122
    Does anyone have the Navigation system in their S60? I currently have a Lexus and I have found the Navigation system invaluable. I'm considering a S60 (either T5 or AWD) when my lease is up and am wondering how user-friendly/functional the Volvo Nav system is. (Pretty cool how it rises out of the dash!)

    I've read a review of car-based Nav systems, and Lexus was the winner by a long shot (largely cuz theirs is touch-screen based). BMW and MB were dead last, with Acura and Infiniti in the middle. (Volvo was not part of the comparison).

    Appreciate your thoughts.

    (PS Please spare me the "Navigations systems are a waste of money -- get a map" discussion. I KNOW they are a waste of money, but that's not my question...)
  • wmcmtmwmcmtm Posts: 1
    Volvo's finally put it out (on their Website). MSRP is $36,825. The V70R's is $38,325.
  • cmnottcmnott Posts: 200
    Imagine, for the price of an S60R, you can get a 330xi.

    Gee which one teo get,hmmm?

    Seriously, good on Volvo not starting abpve $40K, this will surely impact Audi and BMW (their AWD models).
  • I saw the post from redfive2112 comparing the CL-S to the S60, but does anyone know how it compares to the 330 and the G35? I am guessing the Volvo has slower acceleration, but if there are other major drawbacks, then I would like to know.
    I have already test driven the BMW and Infiniti and both cars are awesome, but a little out of my price range (I need to save $ for a bike). The Volvo looks fine, but comfort, power, and handling are very important to me as well. I was hoping for a coupe, but I may have to settle for a sedan.
    I'm going to test the S60 T5 tonite, but sometimes it's a little hard to tell from a test drive.
  • ryokenryoken Posts: 291
    I test drove a T5 about 5 weeks ago when I was trying to pick out a new sedan. It's quicker than I expected, the turbo 5 packs a pretty good punch (though the G35 and 330i are quicker). You say comfort and handling are both important to you, yet those two things are often at odds. The G35 and the 330 lean more towards handling, while the S60 leans more towards comfort (and it's a front wheel drive, if that's important to you). The car I drove had the Valvetronic transmission, and I thought it was a bit slow to change gears in manual mode. It has some nice little perks in other areas. The trunk is deceptively deep. The seats were the most comfortable of any of the cars I tried out. The rear headrests can be flipped down with a switch on the center console to improve your rear view when there are no rear passengers. Plus, as you say, money is a factor - and the 2002 Volvos are going for cut-rate prices right now, as the 2003's are already out. Since money is an issue, make sure you call your insurance company and get quotes from them on your top two or three choices, as there can be surprising differences. The G35 is classified as a "high-performance vehicle" and actually costs more than the 330 to insure. I also tried out a Cadillac CTS, Audi A4, and Acura TL-S before deciding on the G35. It comes down to the comfort/handling preference. Do you want a luxury-sport car (S60, A4) or a sport-luxury car (330, G35)? Of course, the money is a nice choice too. The dealership I was at was advertising $5k off MSRP on the 2002's, and I'd imagine you can do better than that.
  • rghesselrghessel Posts: 122
    Can anyone comment obbjectively on the quality of the stereo upgrade in the S60? I've read it is truly amazing. Unfortunately, my local dealer had no cars on the lot with the upgrade, so I couldn't hear it for myself. I superb stereo can easily shift the balance for me. (Currently considering G50, 330xi, Saab 9-3...)
  • dmarcus48dmarcus48 Posts: 139
    I'm thinking about leasing a s60 t5 in the next couple of months. I was going to get it with the 17" wheels, but have been told not to because of potholes. I live in NJ and the roads can sometimes be rough. Any suggestions?
  • rghesselrghessel Posts: 122
    *so many typo's in my original post...how embarassing!*

    Can anyone comment objectively on the quality of the stereo upgrade in the S60? I've read it is truly amazing. Unfortunately, my local dealer had no cars on the lot with the upgrade, so I couldn't hear it for myself. A superb stereo can easily shift the balance for me. (I am currently considering G35, BMW 330xi, Saab 9-3...)

    Thanks!
  • cmnottcmnott Posts: 200
    Hmmmm. Comfort, power and handling. that pretty much sums up this car's strengths in order of achievement.

    Supremely comfortable car, thanks to the seats, driving position, phenomenal Prol Logic system and quiet ride.

    Power? This car in manual form is simply a brute. The Geartronic takes away quite a bit of the intial accelaration but it does make up for it in the end. The Volvo is good off the line, but it positively honks to 100mph, faster than any sedan in its group and just .3 behind the S4. That, my firends, is a true display of power. If you can find a road to use it.

    Handling is average. I have the Sport suspension and 17" wheels (Thor), I find the steering is very good but sometimes lacks feel in aggressive driving. It has a lot of grip and is very good in slalom but quick transitions can be tricky. Of course, this is all relevant at 9/10ths driving or at the limit. Otherwise, it has a much better ride than the 330i and G35 and pretty much equal to the A4.

    Lastly, if you want a coupe, I think the silhouette of the beautiful S60 should help! Good luck but they aren't any losers in this crowd of cars. they are all fantastic.
  • cmnottcmnott Posts: 200
    I don't know what diff there will be, if you hit a pothole, I would think regardless of rim it will damage whatever size rim. Like I mentioned above I have the 17" Thors and the car looks stunning in black with these rims.
  • cmnottcmnott Posts: 200
    In all seriousness, the Dolby Pro Logis system, the only car to have this system (still?) is phenomenal, and this coming from an audiophile. i had a 99 Mustang GT prior with the Mach 460 and also have a 2002 Explorer Eddie Bauer with the JBL and these two systems are laughable compared to the Volvo.

    As Edmunds wrote in their review, the clarity and surround sound can bring tears to your eyes. you must find a system to test...you simply will not beleive your ears! From amazing highs to young punk quality bass, this system has it all.

    The only system that was remotely close at the time of my purchase was not the BMW (average and tinny) but the jag X-Type with the optional Alpine system was remarkable.
  • rghesselrghessel Posts: 122
    Is the stereo upgrade in the S60 the same stereo in the S80?

    You have NO idea how much influence an awesome stereo can have over my car purchase.

    The S60 has moved to the top of my list, neck and neck with the Saab 9-3 Arc (which isn't out yet). Then to decide...T5 or AWD? Any thoughts?
  • dmarcus48dmarcus48 Posts: 139
    I think the issue is that with a 16" wheel there's more side wall to absorb the shock than with a 17" wheel. But thanks for your reply anyway.

    Dave
  • The seat belt take up on our 2002 S60 squeaks continually. It is very irritating to ride on the passenger seat and listen to this. We took it to the dealer and he found nothing wrong with it but agreed it squeaked. The service advisor told me he was going to order me a new one. After I had not heard from him I called back two weeks later. He than told me he was waiting to talk to his Volvo rep since he had two other customers with the same problem. After I expressed my displeasure he ordered a new one and guess what it still squeaks. He told me he went around to other s 60's and s80 on the lot and found that many of them do it. It only happens on the passenger side and only when the belt is at full extension. After I called him today to tell him it still squeaked he told me he would contact the volvo rep again and call me back. He later called me back and offered me a seat belt ex tender. However, he asked me to sign a waiver stating use of the extender may negate certain safety features. Well, safety is one reason we bought it. I am a big guy but can comfortably buckle the belt now. It does than extend to near the limit, it remains my opinion it should not do this. They seem not to be offering a solution to it. My wife, who is the principal user is very upset. We like the car but this is not the first time they have been unable to fix something. Anyone else have this seat belt issue? Also advise on how to proceed with the dealer and the escalation process. I believe I have had my last dealing with the service advisor and am ready to walk this one up.
  • rghesselrghessel Posts: 122
    Does anyone know when the S60 R is expected to be in showrooms?
  • wrxsoon1wrxsoon1 Posts: 158
    rghessel,
    I believe the new R's (S60 and V70) are due in showrooms in March or so. At least that is what I've gathered from all my research so far. I'm very interested in the 70 myself. ;-)

    -Ian
  • OK, lots of people have commented on the rear seats not being great for a long trip. If I spend 35K for this car, can I go out with another couple for dinner and not mush their knees in the back seat? I don't sit too far back with the driver seat and most people I hang out with are 5'6" -5'11".

    Am I doomed to spending 8K more for the S80 because of the back seat?
  • desaljsdesaljs Posts: 24
    I would not be too concerned about rear seat space. I use my S60 alone most of the time. But I do transport adults back there for shorter trips and so far, no complaints. If you are only going to transport adults on shorter trips, I do not think you need to consider the S80. Besides, the S80 is at the end of its life and will be replaced in the not too distant future. I really like my S60 and find the size "cozy". Hope this helps.
  • rghesselrghessel Posts: 122
    Found this very detailed website about the upcoming S60R...


    http://vcc.volvocars.se/r/

  • rghesselrghessel Posts: 122
    I never thought I'd consider a Volvo (!), but I'm very serious about getting an S60. I'm considering an AWD or the upcoming S60R.

    For current owners, a question:
     What do you like least about your S60? (I am sure there are so many things to like about the car, I find it more useful to hear about the gripes)

    On a side note, I'm really intrigued about the S60R. Anyone have any thoughts/advance info about it?

    Thanks!
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Advance info, 300hp AWD, 6spd manual.
    Semi-active suspension w/ 3 different damping modes.
    Basically, a sports car for the street.
    2000 to be built for America.
    Mean price somewhere around $43000.
    Do you like to drive fast?
    Do you like sports cars?
    If so go for it!
    Do you like comfort and quiet?
    Do you hate to shift gears?
    If so go with the S60 2.4T or AWD.

    Fianlly drove our 03 AWD, nice car.
    Almost as fast as the 2.4T and feels alot more stable.Plus you can get the T5 seats with it!
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