2003 Volvo S60 Reviews

2003 S60 New Car Test Drive


Volvo S60 offers a Swedish-modern alternative to BMW's 3 Series sedans. The S60 combines exciting performance and a stylish shape with Volvo's well-deserved reputation for outstanding safety. S60 feels like a tight European sedan. It rides smoothly, offers good acceleration performance and nice, precise steering. 

S60 fills the middle range in Volvo's lineup: It's larger than the S40, but not quite as large as the premium-luxury S80. Not surprisingly, the S60 also fits between those models in price, starting at $26,370 but rising to more than $36,000 for a loaded S60 2.5T AWD or a high-performance S60 T5. 

For 2003, Volvo is offering a less-expensive base model with a cloth interior. At the same time, Volvo has made an in-dash CD player and leather-covered steering wheel and shifter standard on all S60 models. The all-wheel-drive version is more powerful than before, and several popular option packages have been expanded to include more goodies. 


Four models are available: S60 2.4 ($26,370), S60 2.4T ($30,425), S60 2.5T AWD ($32,175), and S60 T5 ($32,825). 

S60 2.4 comes with a 2.4-liter, five-cylinder engine that produces 168 horsepower and 166 pounds-feet of torque. (A 165-horsepower, super-low-emissions, or SULEV, version is sold only in California.) A five-speed manual transmission is standard. A five-speed automatic transmission adds $1000. The 2.4T gets redesigned 15-inch alloy wheels for 2003. A new Sport Package ($750) adds fog lights and upgrades the wheels to 16-inches. The $2,995 Premium Package adds Electronic Climate Control, wood trim and a trip computer, in addition to a moonroof, leather upholstery, and a power driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support and memory. 

S60 2.4T offers more power with a low-pressure turbocharger to generate 197 horsepower and 210 pounds-feet of torque. That torque comes on at a much lower engine speed (1800 rpm instead of 4500 rpm), giving this model much better acceleration away from intersections. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard. Wood-grain interior trim and electronic climate control are standard. The 2.4T gets redesigned wheels and bigger tires this year (P215/55R16). The Sport Package ($700) for this model adds 17-inch wheels with 235/45R17 tires and Geartronic auto-stick control for the transmission. A Premium Package ($2,755) for 2.4T and 2.5T AWD adds leather upholstery, trip computer, moonroof, and power driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support and memory. 

S60 2.5T AWD brings still more power and all-wheel drive. Last year's all-wheel-drive model was powered by the same engine as the 2.4T. New for 2003, the 2.5T AWD model runs with a slightly larger-displacement five-cylinder, still using light-pressure turbocharging to produce a responsive 208 horsepower and 236 pounds-feet of torque. The torque peaks at a super-low 1500 rpm for low-speed pulling power. The Geartronic automatic is standard. The Sport Package ($750) adds 17-inch wheels, 235/45R17 tires and T5 model's front and rear sport seats. 

S60 T5 uses a high-pressure turbo to produce 247 horsepower and 243 pounds-feet of torque for truly pulse-quickening acceleration. A five-speed manual transmission is again standard, with the Geartronic automatic a $1200 option. Aluminum mesh replaces woodgrain in the interior. Power-adjustable sport seats and a trip computer are standard. The T5 Sport Package ($750) adds 17-inch wheels, 235/45R17 tires, and a stiffer suspension. The Premium Package for the T5 ($1995) adds leather and power moonroof. 

Volvo is a leader in safety and all S60 models get a raft of safety and security items: front, side and head airbags up front; five head restraints; seats that move on impact to reduce whiplash injuries; an immobilizer and an alarm; a Safe Approach and Home Safe Lighting System; and anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake distribution. 

Convenience features common to every S60 include air conditioning with a pollen filter; power windows, trunk release and door locks; illuminated visor mirrors; a trunk light; a tilt/telescopic steering wheel wrapped in leather; headlight wipers; power folding headrests; 60/40 split-folding rear seat; cupholders front and rear, steering-wheel controls for the audio system; and remote keyless entry. 

The Climate Package (standard on 2.5T AWD, $495 on other S60's) includes Rainsensor wipers, which replace the intermittent wiper control and automatically adjusts wiper speed based on the amount of water sensed on the windshield. A Dolby Pro Logic Surround Sound stereo ($1200) is available on 2.4T, 2.5T AWD, and T5. Volvo's new On Call Plus telematics/mobile phone ($835) is available for all models. 

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