Photos by Robert Guio
August 15, 2013,
STATS: 14,314 Miles | 22.0 Avg MPG | $0 Repairs | $0 Dealer-Covered Maintenance
I've been spending a lot of time driving this Volvo lately, and I have to admit, it has really grown on me. In all honesty, I was pretty lukewarm towards this car at first. It took me a long time to find the sweet spot with the seat for starters, never a good how-do-you-do. It also took me a while to familiarize myself with the controls. Volvo has a somewhat unconventional way of doing things, and you have to adapt, especially if you usually drive a steady stream of Japanese cars.
However, having made my peace with all of these things, I've actually grown to like this car quite a bit. First of all, it's exceptionally smooth and quiet on our local freeways. Living in Southern California, a huge chunk of driving is done on unforgiving concrete freeways. Not every car can handle that very well, and even cars that you'd think would get along without a bouncing ride and singing tires fail to do so. But this Volvo is pretty good. The combination of a properly sorted suspension, quiet interior, and most importantly good tire selection, really helps it all come together. I've also been very impressed with the interior. It's a lot roomier then it would seem at first glance. Even with the sunroof, my 6-foot 2-inch frame has plenty of headroom and legroom, and I don't even have the seat all the way back. The rear seat is especially surprising. Considering the Volvo S60's compact external dimensions, you wouldn't think it'd be as roomy as it is, but there's actually decent headroom, and legroom is at least adequate. The trunk is also surprisingly big. I can get a full week's worth of groceries back there, and still have room to spare. In addition, the rear seats back folds down, and the front passenger seat folds flat as well to accommodate really long objects. Of course, they can't be very thick, but it's still a nice feature. Best of all, it's been as reliable as a sunrise. So far we've accumulated zero costs in maintenance and repairs, and the only future expense on the horizon is fixing a wheel that I curbed. D'oh!
I do wish that fuel economy was better though. So far we're averaging around 22 mpg, which is right below the EPA's combined estimate of 23 mpg; blame a little leadfootedness on our part for not hitting the bull's-eye there. Regardless, you'd think it'd be better. The car weighs as much as a Honda Accord, and has a little less power, but still gets lower economy, at least on paper. It's not such a huge problem when someone else is paying for your gas, but if you're shelling out your loan money to fill it up all the time, it can get expensive quickly. Hopefully, Volvo's new generation of engines will rectify this fuel economy problem when they come online in a couple years.
Despite this, as I mentioned at the beginning, I've grown to really like this car. I'm looking forward to getting behind the wheel for an extended drive, some sort of road trip, so I can really stretch its legs over the long haul.
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