VOLVO S60 D3 – The KISS Principle

Volvo Cars Volvo S60 D3 car review
Snake eyes on the Volvo S60 D3
When you consider a Volvo, what are some of the immediate ideas that spring to mind? For me, words like boxy, Swedish and safety are at the top. After spending some time in the Volvo S60 D3 all those words have been thrown out of my mind, or perhaps, rearranged into a more suitable order.

The S60 is possibly one of the best looking Volvo’s on the roads today. It’s neatly packaged and there is no angle from which you look at the Volvo and say, mmm, that doesn’t look right. It’s a car that manages to look really small from the outside without actually being small.


Having just stepped out of cars with quiet diesel engines like the C350 CDI and the BMW 640d, it was immediately apparent that the 2.0 litre, 5 cylinder turbo-diesel unit in the D3 was different. It was not as silent and didn’t seem as refined. Nonetheless, it’s an impressive plant especially when you aim it down a highway, set your speed to 130km/h and cruise for 420km non-stop. A Friday afternoon-evening trip down to the lowveld region quickly changed by apprehension about the engine to pure fascination. This is a frugal runner and in the time we spent with the car, we managed to do 1,117km on one tank of diesel. I am suitably impressed. The engine is not lazy either with 400Nm of torque available when you need it.

aMotion Volvo Cars floating console
Volvo floating console
Driving the car didn’t give off any surprises. The leather seats are soft and supple as are the head rests and I found a comfortable driving position quite easily which, of course, I programmed into the memory-functioned electric seats. The Volvo D3 is really at home on the open road but even in and through the busier streets of Jozi, it’s so easy and so undramatic. In general, this is an issue for me as I like the drama and attitude that comes from more nimble and powerful cars. I must say however, that I quite enjoyed the executive style of this car. The famous Volvo floating console was so simple to navigate. Everything is laid out for stupid people and I am not being funny here. Out of all the premium cars I’ve driven this year, this one was the simplest and quickest to navigate and set up to my liking. And I loved it.

Of all the car’s positive points I was very disappointed in the bootspace and what they’ve done here. The boot space is taken up by the spare wheel and accessories that come with it. Where you would generally find the spare wheel located into a sunken boot section, this is placed right on top, almost as an after-thought. There must be a good reason for this, but in terms of user-practicality, it really makes the boot much narrower and it was felt on our 900km plus road trip.

Volvo has not taken a note out of its competitor’s notebooks and made a car that delivers all the luxury and features that are expected in a compact executive car, in a simple manner. The styling is simple yet elegant. The interior is simply laid out but there has been nothing at the expense of the expected safety features, more than I would try to mention here. Let’s just say Volvo still spend a lot time thinking about the driver’s safety as well as the safety of passengers. Under a new company, this still has not changed.


Volvo has stuck to the KISS Principle and they've kept this car simple yet arguably very good. This simplicity will probably make it difficult for salesman to seal the deal, but after a week in this car, there is definitely a place for it in this segment in South Africa. When I think of Volvo now, the words that come to mind quite strongly are: Simple, Elegant, Comfortable and Safe.

For those who don’t know the KISS Principle -> Keep it Simple Stupid!
AM - 

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