Passionate about Volvo? The 2013 XC60 and S60 Won’t Let You Down!

by Michael Sheehan on January 30, 2013

in Auto, General, Opinion, Review, Video

Post image for Passionate about Volvo? The 2013 XC60 and S60 Won’t Let You Down!

My family seems to be quite passionate about the Volvo’s that I test drive. My wife always asks as to when we might get another one and my kids really had a great time when we went “top down” in the 2012 Volvo C70 convertible. And, a few months ago, I spent some time behind the wheels of both the 2013 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD and the 2013 Volvo S60 T5 AWD and guess what? My family was once again super excited. Can you guess which Volvo grill emblem belongs to the XC60 and which one is for the S60?

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While I typically like to do individual car reviews, it actually made sense to me to do a two-for-one review, mainly because of the consistency and continuity between these two vehicles. And honestly, this isn’t always the case for all manufacturers. I have driven cars that vary tremendously between models, so much so, that you would think they are from different manufacturers. This wasn’t the case between the XC60 and the S60. Sure, the body types are quite different, the XC60 is a crossover SUV-type and the S60 is a sedan, but in terms of design, style, comfort, tech and drivability, they are extremely similar.

Let’s take a look at some of the distinctions and similarities between the two as a quick comparison.

2013 XC60 T6 AWD2013 S60 T5 AWD
Car typeCrossover SUVSedan
Seating55
Gas Mileage (City/Hwy/Comb)17/23/2020/29/23
Engine3.0 liter, Turbo-Charged, 6 Cyl DOHC2.5 liter, Turbo-Charged, 5 Cyl DOHC
EmissionsULEV IIULEV II
Horsepower300 HP @ 5600 RPM250 HP @ 5500 RPM
Transmission6-Speed Geartronic Automatic Transmission w/ Sport Mode6-Speed Geartronic Automatic Transmission w/ Sport Mode
Packages installedXC60 Platinum, Climate PackageS60 Premier, Climate Package, Electronically controlled All Wheel Drives
Base Price$40,450$31,750
Price as Tested$48,145$38,170

Obviously, while the packages are similar, there is a bit of a price point difference between these two models. I view the XC60 (the crossover) as being a bit more designed for an active family while the S60 (sedan) seems to be a bit more geared to the commute and life around town. The gas mileage is a bit better on the S60 which backs up the commute thoughts and the horsepower and space of the XC60 is more aligned with heading up to the mountains or going camping. Both are quite powerful in terms of acceleration in my opinion, the handling is solid and the interior comfort is unparalleled.

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As Volvo really has maintained a consistent design, styling and technologically adapted interior, the video review below of the XC60 more than adequately covers both vehicles. Once you know one of these vehicles, you can pretty much pick up where you leave off in the other. Below is my video review of the XC60 (also available directly on YouTube):

Volvo has always represented safety in my mind and should be something that anyone purchasing a vehicle should put at the top of their list, especially if you are transporting your precious cargo (e.g., kids). Some highlights:

  • Preventative safety – things like Adaptive Brake Lights (on the S60) which sense panic stops and flash, City Safety (both vehicles) which, at low speeds, monitors the environment to prevent collisions, Anti-lock Brakes (both), Dynamic Stability & Traction Control (both) are standard on these Volvos.
  • Protective Safety – these are the critical ones, including: Anti-submarining protection that helps prevent the sliding under the seatbelts, dual-stage airbags, inflatable curtains, head-restraints for all seats, side impact protection and a whiplash protection system are just a few of many standard safety features on both.

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Let’s face it, with among the highest crash test ratings in the industry, it’s really hard to go wrong choosing a Volvo (just put a check in the “safety” box and move on to some of the other features). The government crash-test rating for the XC60 is 5-stars and guess what, the S60 also received 5-stars.

As I mentioned, both engines are powerful (and quite similar). Both are turbo-charged DOHC’s but the difference is in cylinders and size. This is the XC60 (a 3.0 liter, 6-cylinder engine):

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And this is the S60 (a 2.5 liter, 5-cylinder engine):

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The model name conveys the number of cylinders (the XC60 is a T6 and the S60 is a T5). Both are All Wheel Drives (AWDs) which means they are ready to get a bit rugged and give you extra traction on those slippery conditions.

In keeping with the theme of similarities, the center consoles look pretty much identical. Again, can you guess which is from which vehicle?

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What I like about the design of the center console, which controls a large majority of the functions within these cars (with exceptions of lighting and cruise control, for example), is that they are extremely intuitive. Most people are quite familiar with how a phone dial pad operates and these Volvos tend to follow the same concept. You can use the keypads to call numbers or tune radio stations, for example.

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Similarly, to adjust the climate controls, you simply push on the part of the body where you want air flow, for example and that is where the air blows (with a notification on the display screen, which is NOT touchscreen, by the way).

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When it comes to managing what you see on the screens, again, the experience is quite intuitive.

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And there is a tremendous amount of options that you can control (which is something that makes me give high marks for these Volvos for their “CarTech” rating).

Centering around the driver’s speedometer, you get many of the same designs in both vehicles:

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Yes, those are from each of these models.

If you are interested in more photos of each of these Volvos, you can see the XC60 on this Flickr set and the S60 on this set. And if videos are more your thing, apart from the video review of the XC60 above, here are the photos of the XC60 put to music (available directly on YouTube):

And here is the video slideshow for the S60 (also on YouTube):

From the styling and design of both of these Volvos that seems to be unwavering between models (and over the years), to the stellar safety and technology literally driving these models, Volvo always has a special place in my mind. Knowing that in the city, I will be alerted when a pedestrian is walking to the side of the car as I pull out of a parking space to the cruise control which makes cruising down the highway much more comfortable as the Volvo brakes and accelerates to maintain a pre-defined speed, Volvo in my opinion has been doing things right. And let’s not forget the roomy sunroofs, the luxurious leather, the auto-dimming mirrors, the satellite radio, the ABS, the push-start ignition, the Xenon headlights, the rear & front parking assist, the heated front seats…need I go on? Talk about some features that really drive you!

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The Volvo S60 is refined, comfortable, luxurious and complete with enough tech to make this HighTechDad occupied and happy in transportation bliss.

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And the XC60 is roomy and powerful, yet pampers the occupants as well as the driver as they head to just about any destination on the road.

So take your pick! If you are a Volvo aficionado, you can’t go wrong with either of these models. And if you are shopping for a new car, make sure that your test drives include at least one Volvo. It will really set the standard on many levels.

HTD says: Volvo’s coupling of technology, comfort, style and safety really make them a manufacturer to enjoy!

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