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TheCarConnection.com's editors drove the new Volvo S60 in order to give you an expert opinion in this Bottom Line. TheCarConnection.com has also highlighted some of the most useful observations from other sources in the Full Review to help you make the best purchase decision.
The 2009 Volvo S60 is Volvo’s mid-size sedan, offered in comfort-oriented 2.5T or sporty T5 models. The S60 continues unchanged with its swoopy, aerodynamic style that was truly trend setting when first introduced for 2001; the S60 got a minor face-lift in 2007, but you can barely tell the front-end differences from a distance, and the S60’s design, inside and out, is now looking quite dated.
The Advanced Package adds several features to the S60 T5, including inscription leather seating, a premium sound system with Dolby ProLogic II Surround, a six-disc CD changer, brushed-aluminum door handles, rear park assist, and Dual Xenon Gas Discharge Headlights with Active Bending Light (ABL) among other items. Of course, 2009 retail prices for all three models reflect the increase in standard equipment.
A turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine with 208 horsepower moves the 2.5T, while a 257-hp, 2.4-liter five propels the T5—the latter's greater force due mostly to a higher-boost turbo. Both engines produce brisk acceleration and responsive performance with the five-speed automatic transmission, and despite the power differences, the two models feel quite similar off the line at higher speeds or when passing. All 2009 Volvo S60 models have a smooth ride and responsive steering, but they fall short around sharp corners, especially on rough surfaces. As with other members of the Volvo lineup, shoppers are likely to find the standard suspension more agreeable than that of the T5, which brings a rougher ride but not much more composure in corners. Torque steer—a pull to the side under hard acceleration—can be an issue on the front-wheel-drive 2.5T, though the AWD model remedies that.
The cabin in the 2009 Volvo S60 is especially well isolated from road and wind noise; it's a very pleasant place to be. The excellent front seats in the S60 are some of the best contoured and most supportive in their class, but in back, it’s a different story; rear passengers will find it short in legroom and possibly headroom, due to the sloped roofline.
For 2009, the Swedish auto manufacturer extensively upgrades the list of standard equipment, with many features that were previously options, but prices rise appreciably—a surprising strategy for a model that’s due to be replaced next year. The 2009 S60 2.5T front-wheel-drive and 2.5T AWD models now come standard with items that used to be a part of the Premium Package, such as sport leather seating surfaces, a power glass sunroof, a power passenger seat, genuine wood inlays, rear shelf speakers, and auto-dimming mirror with compass. The five-speed automatic transmission now has the Geartronic manual shift function. The Climate Package with heated seats, headlight washers, and rain-sensing windshield wipers, as well as the Advanced Package with a premium sound system, 17-inch Talos alloy wheels, speed-sensitive steering, and aluminum inlays, are still available for both models.
The 2009 Volvo S60 attains four-star ratings (out of five stars) for frontal impact and five stars for side impact, along with top "good" ratings for frontal and rear impact but "acceptable" ratings for side impact from the insurance-affiliated IIHS. The S60 includes a list of safety features comparable to that of its rivals, including stability control, anti-lock brakes, front side airbags, front-seat whiplash protection, and side-curtain bags.