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2011 Volvo S60 T6 AWD (photos)

Volvo's new S60 combines high-tech safety features with nimble handling and a powerful engine. It is a fun and comfortable car that will slam on the brakes to avoid hitting other cars or pedestrians.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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1 of 22 Josh Miller/CNET
Volvo's new S60 sedan demonstrates the current direction of the company with a modern design, powerful engine, full cabin tech suite, and a host of innovative electronic safety measures.

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The S60 uses curved lines with a roof that flows back into the trunk lid, similar to Lexus. The grille sticks out a little more prominently and keeps the classic diagonal Volvo band. Lower vents give the car a sporty look.

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Rather than copy the LED parking light strips used by every other premium automaker, Volvo puts LED marker lights in front of the headlights, which makes a nice nighttime profile.

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This 3-liter straight six-cylinder engine uses a turbocharger to crank out 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. At the same time, it gets fuel economy averaging between 18 mpg and 26 mpg.

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The S60 feels like a relatively short sedan, although its cabin space is quite comfortable.

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Volvo includes an active cornering system that brakes the inside wheel in a turn, helping the car rotate. An active suspension is available, which lets the driver choose between a comfort and sport mode.

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The trunk extends deep into the back of the car, providing a good amount of room for luggage.

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Volvo does a really nice job with the interior. The leather on the seats has a thick, comfortable quality, and a satin finish for the wood inlay on the console leaves no doubt as to the quality of the materials.

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Slightly inconvenient, the S60 requires you to put the key fob in its slot, then push the start button. Other automakers either make pushing the fob into the slot start the car, or use a smart key that doesn't need to be inserted at all.

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The wheel in the S60 has a good, responsive feel, giving the car a sporting character not normally associated with Volvos.

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The speedometer shows lane lines, indicating that the lane-departure warning is active. The display also shows information on active cruise control, such as set speed and following distance.

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This six-speed automatic comes standard with the car, with no option for a manual. There is a manual gear-selection mode, and we found that shifts occurred fairly quickly.

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The navigation system shows traffic and reroutes around traffic jams. The system is DVD-based, and the maps show few street names.

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This rotary paradigm for destination inputs is tedious to use, but we found the voice command to be a good substitute.

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15 of 22 Josh Miller/CNET
The phone system in the S60 is very good, downloading contact lists and making them available onscreen or through voice command. The keypad on the car's console also makes numeric input easy.

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The S60 offers a good array of audio sources with its premium stereo. Its USB port is in the console box, and works with an iPod cable.

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The iPod interface requires a lot of button pushing to select music, partly because of the simplistic hardware controller.

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The S60 includes satellite radio.

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HD Radio is a nice addition, especially considering the quality of the audio system.

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For the car's premium audio system, which includes 12 speakers, drivers can set simple bass and treble levels, or go to a five-band equalizer for fine-tuning.

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The S60 includes quite a few electronic safety systems, and they can all be deactivated from this screen if a driver finds them intrusive.

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The backup camera shows these yellow lines to indicate trajectory and distance.

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