We love it when manufacturers try something dierent, like a Volvo saloon with a semi-trick chassis. But we don’t love it enough to buy one.
When I moved to where I currently live, 16 years ago, nobody here owned a Volvo. It was Peugeot 205s, Citroën C3s and the odd BMW. Now, as I hand the S60 back to its maker, Volvos are everywhere. But they’re not S60s. And definitely not Polestar Engineered. Instead there are V50s and XC70s and the odd XC90 and many XC40s.
So, boom time for Volvo. In absolute terms the sales figures aren’t massive, but the growth is impressive. And none of it’s been down to the S60 Polestar Engineered. In fact, it’s just been binned from the UK line-up.
Future classic? Cult hit? Used-car star? Who knows, but probably not.
If it sounds like I’m being entirely negative, I should mention that I’ve rather enjoyed my time with the S60. It’s comfortable, roomy enough, quick enough, looks good and takes care of you. When I took every opportunity to plug it in, I got pretty decent fuel consumption (but, as with every plug-in hybrid, so much depends on your ratio of plugging-in to long trips, making mpg figures nigh-on meaningless). If I drove it hard, and/or didn’t plug it in, I got pretty poor fuel consumption.
If Volvo is a company that’s nearing the fulfilment of its destiny – as a maker of electrified SUVs – then the S60, even a plug-in S60, is some kind of blind alley on that journey. The Polestar Engineered aspect of it in particular seems like a survivor from a now abandoned mission; put down your weapon, soldier, we quit that battlefield years ago – now we’re busy planting trees and smiling at rainbows instead.
And while the newest Volvos (and fully fledged Polestars) have leapt successfully into a keen embrace with Google’s interface, the S60 is lumbered with an infotainment set-up and bunch of controls that – while looking elegant – could try the patience of a Zen monk. It’s not just that almost everything requires two touches – from engaging reverse to changing radio stations – it’s all slightly second rate when you do get it to operate. The sat-nav, for instance, is a bit clueless. There also seemed to be a disproportionate number of rogue, short-lived error messages, only some of which could be put down to dirty sensors.
So, it’s gone, really gone. Life goes on. Volvo’s progress continues, but it continues without this S60. @ColinOverland
Count the cost
Cost new £57,810 Part-exchange £37,528 Cost per mile 18.5p Cost per mile including depreciation £2.50