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By Tim Barnes-Clay, motoring journalist

Volvo S60 D5 R-Design review

Volvo has never had the same appeal as its German executive cousins. At no time has it looked as aggressive as an Audi, brutal as a BMW or mean as a Mercedes-Benz. But that is a good thing.

The Swedish marque does things its own way and that’s why British drivers opt for Volvo – even though they could, for the same coinage, afford something a little sexier. Take the S60; it’s very much a thinking man’s car. And that’s not to say that Teutonic motors don’t attract clever people.

It offers some of the most restful, supportive and sumptuous seats on the market. Chairs you can imagine a college professor sinking into before lighting his pipe and mulling over the day’s events. It’s the kind of car he’ll then cruise back home in while listening to Classic FM. The S60 is by no means lacklustre though; it can still satisfy your pleasure sensors. Let’s face it, Scandinavian design is generally pleasing, which is evident in the redesigned interior and exterior.

Step inside and the easy-to-use controls contribute to an ‘in-command’ driving experience. The overall effect is warm and tranquil, like being in a Swedish house on a cold night. The car’s colour themes correspond beautifully with the backlit white controls in the dash and elsewhere in the vehicle.

On the outside, the S60’s road presence has been increased by a new front design. The more focused and determined-looking headlamps help create an expressive face. The car’s horizontal lines at both the front and rear have been emphasised. Together with details such as a wider grille, daylight running lights and LED tail lamps, they give the S60 a substantial, road-hugging presence.

The S60 looks particularly fetching in sporty R-Design guise, as tested here. This is the sporty trim level that adds suspension upgrades as well as design touches. Lux Nav adds extra equipment and satnav. Optimised by Polestar adds a remap with a few more horsepower and torque.

On the move, the S60 D5 R-Design has bags of power and torque, meaning it pulls well in all gears. Indeed, it feels quicker (0-62mph in 7.4 seconds) than the stats show, largely because of the Polestar fine-tuning. It really is a fast car that has lots of traction, despite being front wheel drive.

General enhancements for the S60 include ‘Sensus’. This is the name Volvo uses for all its HMI (Human Machine Interface) functionality and the all-new Sensus Connected Touch accessory is the latest addition. It enables connectivity and internet in the car and turns the seven-inch display into a state-of-the-art infrared, beam-scanned touch screen that can be used even when wearing gloves – a world first in cars and handy in winter.

Connection is made either via a car-mounted 3G/4G dongle or your mobile phone. It allows you access to full internet browsing (except when driving), internet streaming of music, online Google Maps and Search, weather information, an App Store for new functions and updates as well as a Volvo service locator. It is also possible to share a WiFi network with everyone in the car.

The car reviewed here is at the top of the S60 range which is reflected in its £35k pricetag. Add in some hard-core options and the on-the road price is £42k.

Fast facts

Max speed: 143 mph
0-62 mph: 7.4 secs
Combined mpg: 62.8
Engine: 2.4 litre 5 cylinder turbo diesel
Max. power (bhp): 230
Max. torque (lb/ft): 347
CO2: 119 g/km
Price: £35,395 on the road

Pros and cons

Comfort

Speed

Kit

Looks

Image

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