All Swedish - but

made in America

Volvo S60, front, action
Volvo S60, side, action
Volvo S60, rear, action
Volvo S60, display screen
Volvo S60, interior
Volvo S60, boot

VOLVO'S new S60 might be Swedish down to its wheel nuts but in a first for the company - it's made in America.

And it's also the first modern Volvo to be sold without a diesel option.

Described by the Scandinavian car maker as the most dynamic Volvo ever made the S60 is initially available with either a 250bhp, 2.0-litre petrol engine or a choice of two petrol-electric plug in hybrids, a 390bhp version and a 408bhp version.

Prices start from £37,920 for the petrol T5 R-Design Edition, the first of which will be delivered to UK customers this month.

Built in Charleston, South Carolina the all new S60 is a mid sized four door saloon with which Volvo intends to further challenge the dominance of premium German and UK car makers.

Or to put it in Volvo speak this is a car with which it is "determined to disrupt" that sector of the market.

Having just tried out the first of the new petrol versions - the hybrids will follow later in the year - it's easy to see why the company is confident of success, especially coming on the back of record global and UK sales in 2018.

And as 70 per cent of UK sales of the S60 are expected to be to private buyers - people who are prepared to put their money where their mouth is - it has to excel and it does, both in terms of styling and performance.

From whatever angle you look at the S60 it's a sleek, striking model which is set to impress.

Low and coupe-like with eye-catching creases in the metal the R-Design version has distinctive high-gloss black exterior trim, twin integrated exhaust pipes and - on the launch versions - 19-inch alloys.

From the front it's easily distinguishable as a Volvo thanks to the corporate Thor's hammer shape daytime running lights.

The interior is typically Swedish. Elegant yet minimalist - think Ikea - with a nine-inch touch screen which eliminates the need for too many buttons and switches.

Metal mesh inlays contrast with the black of the dashboard to give the cabin more of a light and airy ambiance, there's a 10-speaker sound system and part leather sports seats hold your firmly in place.

The latest model is 10cm longer than its predecessor which adds to the already generous interior space. When a 6ft 4inch colleague of mine was driving I still had adequate legroom in the rear seat behind him.

The boot too is generous with 442 litres of luggage space available as well as more room under the boot floor.

With 250 willing horses available from Volvo's own four-cylinder Drive-E engine the T5 R-Design packs plenty of punch on the road.

Boasting a top speed of 145 miles per hour it will hit 62 mph in an impressive 6.5 seconds with power delivered in a superbly refined manner which leaves the cabin in almost total silence.

The eight speed automatic gearbox is seamless and smooth yet at the same time will respond instantly to any kick down when you need to liven things up a little.

Paddles behind the steering wheel allow you to change gear manually when you want some hands-on motoring and you can also change the driving mode with a choice of eco, comfort and dynamic settings as well as the option to key in individual choices.

On fast roads in Scotland I found the S60 gobbled up the miles effortlessly, leaving all onboard cocooned in comfort while at the same time it was able to flow easily through the sharpest of bends with little or no body roll.

And while high mileage drivers might bemoan the lack of a diesel option the front-wheel-drive T5 R-Design is not bad on fuel consumption, averaging just a whisker short of 40 miles per gallon.

And being a Volvo it's packed with a host of safety features including oncoming collision mitigation, steering support - to help avoid an object in an emergency, and a 360 degree picture on the touch screen for safe reversing to name but a few which have helped it secure the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP safety ratings.

Expect to see sales soaring in the UK very soon.


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