Monday, April 23, 2012

Used Car Review - Volvo S60 (2001-2010)

This week, Myk Belmonte is going to Scandinavia, especially to the country of Sweden. Let's now explore the gems and what do the Swedish people drive in their home country. They like their cars versatile, safe, and stylish looking. Why do they buy vehicles with AWD? Because of their temperate weather. And out of the Swedish roads, let's turn over this page to a Swedish sedan.

2001-2010 Volvo S60

Volvos are safe vehicles (yes, they introduce acronyms such as ROPS, WHIPS, BLIS, and even the famed City Safety) but they are styled staidly and bland looking. It was on the acquisition of Ford and thru the leadership of designer Peter Horbury that designed the S60 and waved bye bye to sharped edges and boxy angles that previous Volvos wore - such as the 850, S70, and S90. The S80 - introduced in 1998 - was the first car to depart from the boxy but safe philosophy; the S60 was the second one.

This replaced the boxy S70 at the turn of the millennium, with the departure (as stated earlier) from the boxy styling. The S60 was marketed by Volvo as a "Revolution", and their design change elicited positive feedback from Volvo loyalists and from the style conscious people. This vehicle stayed on the market with the same body for nearly 10 years, with a facelift in 2005 to keep it competitive. A trivia: the S60 is built on Volvo's P2 Platform, which is shared with the S80, V70, XC70, and XC90.

Viking Cars Incorporated introduced the S60 sedan in year 2001 with the discontinuation of the S70 sedan during that year. The 2.0 Turbo was initially available at launch but they've added the 2.4 T5 in late 2003, with the flawed taxation of engine displacements that has above two liters are slapped with heavy taxes - locally built or not. This one managed to hang on in the line-up until 2010, with the launch of the S60 that featured the "New Design" language.

Value and Costs
With a second hand price that could give you an equivalent price of a brand new mid-size SUV, a 2000-2010 Volvo S60 would cost in the range of P390,000-P1,200,000. With prices similar to mid-size sedans coming from Nippon land, one would want to consider the S60 - with a lower depreciation against its German friends. Those who want to try something else would appreciate this one, at an attainable price.

Although the S60 is a trouble-free car, there are some niggles to be cautious of. Check if the electronic functions that won't work properly, under chassis components if they get scraped or damaged, and interior damage due to the climate that we get here in the Philippines (this is a common deficiency among cars from temperate countries). And since locally sold engines have turbochargers in it, make sure if they work like brand new.

Exterior and Interior  
Going with the "revolution" styling for the brand, it looks something expensive than its price tag. No more boxy or brick lines existing, curves dominate this elegant looking sedan. Go outside, and notice the curves of the fascia go as one and transition down to the fenders which leads to the start line of a pronounced belt line, which ends at the complex three-dimensional taillight that seems impossible.

Interior wise, no tacky faux wood trim comes standard. While this vehicle is introduced in the millennium year, the commanding view from the front feels like "partying like its 1999". Even the ambiance that gives out does nothing but to go on with the feeling. You know that this car is a product after Y2K but your senses dictate that it's something whipped out from the 90s. Young drivers won't feel at home with this car, while executives and those nearing the senior age would surely love this.

Two turbocharged engines with five cylinders (yes, five, I'm serious here), are marketed here locally. These are a B5204 1,984cc that carries 180hp at 5,300rpm and 240Nm at 2,000-5,300rpm and a B5244T 2,435cc which has 260hp at 5,200rpm and 350Nm at 2,400-5,200rpm. One good thing of having 5 cylinders is the smoothness and that power which cannot be said of vehicles with four or six ones. You can see this type of engine in some premium branded vehicles. And despite the engine setup, acceleration is somewhat wheezy and asthmatic in high speeds due to the bulk of the body.

Driving Impressions
Just like its European relatives, there is the feeling of being isolated and separated from the outside world. You nearly hear nothing from outside and being felt cuddled in a bed, except for that odd experience from the suspension when you hit road imperfections. It may sound weird to you but definitely not class usual. Handling is good enough but you'll definitely crave something from Bavaria to satisfy this thirst. This car is better off for the being-driven crowd and demographics.

The turbo and five cylinder combo is something not heard in the automotive kingdom. It drives well but does not have the soul or excitement attached to it. Best left with people or buyers who prefers to spend their commute behind the front seats. At least, the luxury car experience is there; just drive it on perfect asphalt. A good purchase proposition thanks to depreciation.

The Good:
  • Smooth powertrain
  • Lively engines
  • Safety is a priority
The Bad:
  • Exciting R line not locally available
  • Some 90s era bits
  • Bulky body detracts turbo power
The Pick: 2.0T

Engines: 1,984cc B5204 and 2,435cc B5244T turbocharged I5 gasoline
Power: 180hp @ 5,300rpm (2.0), 260hp @ 5,200rpm (2.4)
Torque: 240Nm @ 2,000-5,300 rpm (2.0), 350Nm @ 2,400-5,200rpm (2.4)
Fuel Consumption: 5-8km/L (city), 10-12km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear multilink

Price (New): P2,355,000-P2,545,000 (range from 2000-2010)
Price (Now): P390,000-P1,200,000
Rivals: BMW 5 Series, Mercedes Benz E Class, Audi A6
On Sale: 2001-2010

Volvo Makati - 893-6621
Habrec -

Photos courtesy of

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