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Walkaround and Interior
Substantial freshening of the front end for 2014 Volvo S60 includes all-new body panels from the windshield pillars forward, intended to enhance the the basic character without distorting the original appearance. Not only has the grille been widened, but the ironmark has grown in size. Longer, wider, and lower front intakes gain bright accents for 2014, and the new LED daytime running lights are horizonally mounted.
The Volvo S60 is sleek and stylish, with practicality redefined in today's world. Great care went into the details, for example the symmetrical angles of the trapezoidal air intakes in the front fascia, two in the corners under the headlights, and the long horizontal intake at the bottom of the seamless nose. The headlights mirror those shapes, and the tidy, newly-widened grille is perfectly appropriate to the small size of the car's forward-leaning face.
There are no bulging fender flares, no strutting to flaunt horsepower. Smooth lines from the front fenders to rear, where the hips meet the graceful coupe roofline. The only chrome on the side of the car is a thin strip surrounding the windows and stating the grace of their outline.
The Volvo S60 interior is well thought out, from cupholders to storage compartments. Volvo did this thinking-out over many years of refining interior practicality. The instrumentation is clean and stylish like it's always been, the tach and speedo having a black background, white lettering, red needles and brushed metal rings. The headliner is a rich fabric.
The non-leather T-Tec upholstery (vinyl) in the base-model T5 is really nice, and offers a healthy savings over leather.
We found the leather seats in the Volvo S60 T6 snug and comfortable, and gorgeous in Beechwood Brown. Some of the shapes inside, for example the trim on the doors, could be metal sculpture. Shimmer Graphite aluminum inlays, they call it, which sounds better than slightly shiny trim. Lovely little touches abound, such as strips of leather over the seatback pockets.
At the rear, the trunk is a spacious 12 cubic feet, with enclosed hinges and a pass-through to the 60/40 rear seats. With only 33.5 inches of rear legroom, the S60 is a sports sedan, not a roomy one.
The navigation system worked well, with that 7-inch screen in the top center of the dash, and wasn't confusing. The screen also displays information from the Driver Control Interface, including audio settings. Functions can be operated by a thumbwheel on the right steering spoke, or with buttons on the center stack.
The rearview camera screen uses the 7-inch navigation screen, and the image is split and angled in the center to give a view off to the sides of the car.
Volvo invented that particular center stack, which is like a thin wall with storage space behind it. The face of the wall is like a neat keyboard, with dials and buttons mostly for radio tuning that are easy to understand and use.
The Technology Package includes pedestrian and cyclist detection with full auto brake, adaptive cruise control, collision warning with full auto brake, distance alert, alert driver control, and lane departure warning. Sometimes it can feel like Volvo overkills with safety systems. Engineers must burn the midnight oil to find new ways to mitigate the driver's errors in (and perhaps take over) the control of his or her car, while barraging him or her with information.
Volvo broke new ground in safety with optional Pedestrian Detection. It brings the car to a halt at any speed below 22 mph, without the driver's involvement, when a pedestrian is in the vehicle's path. Cyclist Detection has been added for 2014. Sounds good, although we ran into the dummy named Junior during an actual test. Because of raindrops on the windshield, we were told. We've also noticed that BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) sometimes thinks raindrops are cars.