Highlights: All Volvos include complimentary maintenance for 3 years or 36,000 miles. The R designated Volvo is the brand’s performance oriented model.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $45,495 ($32,645 without options)


Seating Capacity: 5 occupants

Standard Safety Features (R Package): airbags (driver, front, curtain and side); ABS; Volvo’s Whiplash system; a tire pressure monitoring system; and rear fog lights

Standard Equipment (R Package): 18-inch wheels; power seats; 3-position memory driver’s seat; power sunroof; a manual tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a rear spoiler; Xenon headlights; sport chassis; a 7-inch display screen; and rain-sensing wipers

Standard Audio: a 16-watt, 8-speaker AM/FM/HD/CD with XM satellite radio

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 50,000 miles

Bluetooth Compatibility: Included

Ipod Compatibility: Included

MP3 Capability: Included

a USB audio interface: Included

R- Package Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder/325-horsepower

Standard Fuel Mileage: 18-city/25-hwy

Pros: The Volvo S60 T6 R package is the Swedish automaker’s answer to those yearning for a performance-oriented vehicle. Volvo’s snappy 325-horsepower engine is complimented by the R-Design package, which consisted of a rear and lower front spoiler, rear diffuser polished tailpipes, aluminum sport pedals, a perforated leather steering wheel and a leather gearshift knob.

Besides the performance package, our Volvo was outfitted with the brand’s latest safety feature, which is known as City Safety. This feature allows the driver to prevent an accident, when driving at 30 miles per hour (or less) if it senses a collision is likely. The car will either prepare the car to brake or it could automatically apply the brake, if it senses that the driver is in immediate danger of a rear-end collision.

Moreover, Volvo’s whiplash designed orthopedic front seats are one of the best in the industry. Yes, this is the first Volvo we have reviewed that makes great strides at mixing safety, performance and style. It didn’t hurt that the vehicle we reviewed wore a vibrant blue exterior paint color to compliment the 18-inch black shoes.

Cons: The Volvo S60 T6 R packaging lacked the availability of a navigation system, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel and a rear back-up camera. In order to have most of these features, Volvo’s ordering system requires that buyers step-up to the $2,700 Platinum package. And with this being a premium class vehicle, a navigation system should be standard or at least a standalone option for a luxury vehicle.

In fact, our opinion, in today’s high-tech environment, the must-have noted features are available in non premium segments that cost half the price. Ironically, a rearview camera is now standard in the value-oriented Honda Civic, which cost’s less than half of the price of the Volvo we reviewed.

Furthermore, the interior designers should consider doing a major rework on the S60’s drab, dark instrumental panel. And as an added measure, the engineers should also incorporate a power heated steering wheel too, truly making this a luxury vehicle. Yes, even the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima offers a heated steering wheel in its upgraded models.

Verdict: The second-generation front-wheel drive S60 received its last major update in 2010. This compact premium class vehicle from Sweden offers lots of thrills for a brand known more for safety than performance. Our S60, with the R-designation, adds an excitement level that makes this one appealing vehicle. Although this isn’t a true die-hard performance vehicle, it sure does show that Volvo can think outside of the box.

Competition: BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, Cadillac ATS and Infiniti G37 (Q50)


Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com. Follow him http://twitter.com/#!/JeffCars/.

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