First week with the S60

Discussion in 'Other Manufacturers' started by brick, Dec 28, 2014.

  1. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    Immediately after bringing home the new S60 on Monday I set off on my annual holiday whirlwind tour of eastern New England. That amounts to ~600mi of mostly highway driving and enough hours to get a good feel for the car. Temperatures were in the mid-30s to low 40s with some rain. Traffic conditions were generally good on the mostly 65mph-posted interstates.

    I chose to "just drive it" in order to let the engine see a variety of loads and speeds during its first few hundred miles. Do you really need to do that anymore? Who knows. Volvo doesn't even provide break-in guidance with this engine, leading me to suspect that manufacturing technologies and processes have rendered that sort of thing obsolete. But this way I don't have to wonder.

    FE potential does appear to be there. The trip computer claims that I got 34.9mpg for the first 440mi tank, and 34.0mpg while fighting some headwinds on the way back. That's below the 37mpg rating, but seems acceptable for the conditions and the way I was driving it. The only cause for doubt is the 32.4mpg calculated FE for that first tank, which would indicate a pretty large over-report. Since that second fill-up was at at a different gas station in a different state from the first I'm going to wait and see how it averages-out. Volvo trip computers are typically accurate to within a couple of percent vs. the pump.

    It's possible to keep steady-state FE north of 40mpg at 60mph with a very light foot, although doing so is tricky if you just put the car in drive. The iFCD heads south in a big hurry if you get into it. Pushing the ECO+ button really helps with that. The accelerator pedal becomes less sensitive (and very precise) and the transmission becomes much more aggressive about holding 8th gear. (Without ECO+ activated it'll drop down readily to build more power.) The change in feel makes this is the first Volvo in my experience to feel as though it "wants" to be driven economically and rewards the effort. This thing could be a lot of fun. :D

    Just as a car I have mostly good things to say. It has probably 40% more power than I'll ever use, and it comes on smoothly and easily. (I might find myself yearning for that 3-cylinder.) The drive line feels sharp and connected. I have no complaints about ride quality despite 17" wheels and low-profile rubber.

    On the inside, the seats and driving position are great for my leggy 6'2" frame. The materials and switchgear have a nice feel to them, too. I also like that the leather upholstery has a grippy matte surface instead of the almost shiny, slippery coating that can cause one to move around over the course of a drive. Trunk space isn't huge, but it is augmented by a wide pass-through via the 60/40 split rear seat. (I was pleased to get a collapsed 36" dog kennel in there with the seats up.)

    The most frequently used controls (climate, volume, etc.) are laid out nicely. However, my one gripe so far is the Sensus Connect infotainment system. It's just too damn complicated and menu-driven. The interface is a rotary knob (either the one on the stack or the one on the steering wheel) which is used to scroll through options. In my opinion that results in far too many seconds spent looking at the screen instead of the road. However, I should say that the system does have an extensive list of voice commands that I have yet to explore. Getting used to that paradigm may solve the problem.

    So far I'm really happy with the car. It's what I wanted: Volvo comfort and ergonomics (minus the infotainment, maybe) without as much of the fat that used to come with it. The real question is just how far the FE potential goes. Some driver re-education may be required on that front.

    A few miscellaneous shots:

    A 4-cylinder engine is a welcome sight in my garage.

    I was amused to find that the "plastic" engine cover is actually a squishy foam rubber, presumably to reduce noise.

    The interior is a nice place to be.

    Seats are standard Volvo fare. Comfortable, supportive, and adjustable for just about anyone.

    Climate controls are intuitive, and you do get a button for each of the top-level infotainment functions. (And yes, that is an "internet" button near top-right. This thing has full connectivity that can be fed either by an optional data plan or by tethering your existing smartphone.)

    Menus are where the infotainment system begins to slide down-hill. If you aren't using voice commands, you have to use one of the scroll wheels to do just about anything.

    It has apps. Lots of them.
  2. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Tim:

    The infotainment/climate controls look a bit busy. Are you used to them yet?

    Great the driver ergo is so good!

    The foam like engine cover to reduce noise propagation is an excellent idea! Never heard of that before. I have not checked that on any car recently however.

  3. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    It's new and temperatures are not the best for getting top mileage. Check it again in the spring when the temperatures are in the fifties or higher and you have a few thousand on the drive train.
  4. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    The climate side of things (basically the bottom half of that panel) is pretty easy to use. It's also very similar to what the V70 had so I would be used to it, anyway.
    -Bottom left and right knobs adjust temperature for driver and passenger side, respectively, with the heated seats controlled by the button inside each knob.
    -Fan control is the knob to the left of the "dummy" with the Auto button in its hub.
    -Select air direction by hitting the right part of the "dummy" if you want control over that.
    -Defrost, recirc, and A/C compressor controls are to the left and right.

    The one missing climate-related feature IMO is a button to sync both climate zones to the driver's knob. It seems like most manufacturers have that, but in a Volvo the zones are irrevocably independent.

    The infotainment side of things I'm still getting used to. You can change the volume or tune the radio from their knobs or from the steering wheel buttons, and the numbered presets work as you would expect if you are already in the mode you want (AM/FM/SAT/whatever). But if you want to do anything more complicated (like change from FM to SAT) you have to either use voice commands (which I have yet to spend time learning) or use the "Tune" knob or the thumb wheel on the right-hand side of the steering wheel to select and accept menu options from the display. I really need to spend some time getting familiar with the car stationary before I pass judgment. I suspect that my real gripe in the end will be the sheer volume of available distractions regardless of interface.

    Oh, and I was thinking about that engine cover more. You know what I think it's for? Injector noise. When I was driving a rented EcoBoost-equipped Escape last March I was amazed at how much noise the DI system made. I haven't heard any of that from this Drive-E engine. All you get is a muted 4-cylinder "thrum" under load.
  5. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    I've been meaning to post a few pics of the S60's gauge cluster since I think it's a nice feature. Starting in 2014 Volvo went to a TFT cluster in the majority of cars. That by itself isn't that new, but I think they pulled it off well. Here's the basic layout using the "Elegance" theme:


    The shifter indication to the right and fuel gauge to the left are fixed LED indicators, and are surrounded by various warning indicators for things like TPMS, brakes, CEL, etc. The TFT portion is everything from the water temp gauge to the vertical tachometer. The i- and a-FCD, DTE, and other indicators show up in the lower portion of the two vertical segments on either side. The ODO and trip odometers appear at the bottom of the center segment. Text messages are displayed at the center.

    Here's the "Performance" theme, which changes things up a bit:


    I have been using this one because I like the prominent tach and digital speedo. That graph to the right is a power indicator. The little "bean" on the outside indicates max available power (as a function of engine RPM) and the line indicates instantaneous power. I had hoped that it would work as sort of a TPS indicator like you can set up with a ScanGauge. The only problem is that the scale is from 0-240hp, so the line never moves at the lower loads where I really care about it. Maybe if it were a 1.0L 3-cylinder it would be a bit more useful.

    The Eco theme is a bit more interesting:


    Like the Elegance theme you get an analog speedo in the center and a tach on the right. The "ECO guide" on the left is intended to help you drive more efficiently. It's actually a fairly decent gauge. It seems to be entirely behavior-based rather than tracking something simplistic such as instantaneous fuel economy. Gentle acceleration and gentle braking alike keep the "needle" high on the display. Brake or accelerate hard and it plummets. Better driving causes the display to become increasingly green, and if you keep that up long enough you get that scripted "e" symbol as a sort of reward for good behavior. Most people around here would get sick of seeing it. That smaller indicator on the left side indicates average economicalness, but I can't quite figure out what it corresponds to or over what time period it averages. I guess you are just supposed to keep it high and not ask questions.

    The one strange thing I noticed relates to engine water temperature gauge. According to my scangauge that needle reaches the center of the display at 150F and then stays there. I've seen temperatures as high as 220F on the SG without that needle budging a single pixel. I might be inclined to complain except that my last two cars didn't have a temperature gauge at all, and at least this one is pretty linear until it stops moving. I'm not sure if there's anything special about the 150F mark that might have made Volvo choose that.
  6. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Thanks for the nice photos, Tim. I've gotten to really like the digital speedo in my car. I just wish it had smaller increments than 1 MPH. 0.5 or 0.2 MPH increments would help more to realize when (or how fast) you are losing speed. I can switch to KPH , which in effect does give finer increments.
  7. aca2983

    aca2983 Well-Known Member

    I sat in a V60 in the showroom while I was buying my non-Volvo used car at a Volvo dealer. Not exactly spacious, but soooo comfortable. Those seats.... Pricey though.
  8. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    People always ask me how I can drive eighteen to twenty hours straight through to Florida?

    Two word answer, "Volvo Seat" :)

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