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Motoring: New Volvo S60 a snow leopard in wintry conditions

Credit: VOLVO

The Volvo S60 is a car worth owning if you’re in the market for a mid-size luxury sedan.

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | March 10th, 2014

The current guise of the Volvo S60 has been with us for a number of years now, so it's about time it got a refresh.

Thankfully, Volvo was thinking the exact same thing, and for 2014, they have tweaked the exterior and made a few changes inside as well.

From a styling point of view, the most obvious difference is the new headlamps, which have taken on a big jellybean shape now. Other changes like the new grille up front and integrated exhaust at the rear are subtle, but work well — this is a handsome vehicle to behold.

Open the door and the interior is largely the same as before (which isn't exactly a bad thing), but it does get a new dashboard. The new Adaptive Digital Display allows you to set the dials to suit your mood, which also actually helps set up the car's mood as well. You can drive it in Eco (green dials, economical motoring), Elegance (black and white dials, for a comfortable drive), or Performance (red dials, for when you want to have some fun).

The interior offers lots of space, and the seats are among the best in the automotive business for providing comfort — I could drive this car from one end of Canada to the other, and I bet I still wouldn't be tired.

The only thing I wasn't a fan of in this interior is this car's rather old-fashioned layout for the infotainment system. It comprises of a lot of tiny buttons that are not easy to read, and changing any function or settings on the car is done via a series of rotating knobs and buttons, which can get a bit annoying. However, some people find the BMW iDrive system (and others like it) annoying, so it depends on your preference. The best new piece of equipment offered on the 2014 S60 is the heated steering wheel.

Under the hood, for 2014 at least, the engine is carried over from the previous S60 T6 AWD. Volvo will soon launch a new range of engines for the 2015 model year, which will likely mean the T6 AWD will also be getting a new engine. However, the one it has right now is not bad at all. It is a 3.0-litre, inline six-cylinder motor that in T6 AWD trim develops 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. The T6 is also available in R-spec trim and a new Polestar version, both of which have more power, but I'll discuss those at a later date.

This motor is mated to a six-speed automatic (for now, some of Volvo's 2015 models will be getting the new eight-speed automatic) transmission, which does a good job if you leave it on its own, however the shifts are not very quick when you swap gears using its Geartronic feature. For the best results, just put the transmission into the Sport gate, and hang on, because this car just flies down the road. This car is quick enough to please any car fan.

It handles well, too. I had it during a particularly awful week, when the roads were almost always covered with snow and ice, but these conditions didn't seem to bother the car one bit. Its all-wheel drive system, coupled with good winter tires gripped the tarmac like a snow leopard, which made it a real joy to toss around. Volvos come from Sweden, which is another cold country, and it shows that they build cars for their climate; there were no creaks or rattles and never once did it make any fuss about a cold start.

This is a very good car, and if you're in the market for a mid-size luxury sedan, you really can't do any better. The 2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD is yours from $47,550.
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