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Test Drives
17 Apr 09 16:06
ReVOLVOlution
CarSanook.com
John K. Lindgren
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The entry ticket to the posh and all so safe VOLVO S-Club that's the S 60 with a two liter turbocharger; and the top-of-the-line S 80 saloon powered by Volvo's 2.9-liter straight six.

These types of luxury 'European' sedans are imported in CBU (completely built up) excise taxed versions - but not the Volvo S 60 collection, which is assembled in Thailand.


History
        Volvo started selling cars in Thailand in 1972. Those were the boxy Swedish safety vehicles sometimes nicknamed "the brick". The Thai-Swedish Assembly Volvo plant was inaugurated in 1976. The 'Made in Thailand' vehicles are called CKD or completely knocked down or "assembly kits". Other premium CKD brands are BMW and Mercedes Benz.

02797_w670.jpg


The other CKD's you'll see them on the roads every day, the Toyota sedans, the Nissan's, the Honda's, the GM Captiva's and the ubiquitous Japanese one-tonne flat bed pick-up truck, the backbone of Thailand's automotive industry.

CarSanook.com advice in case you don't enjoy unlimited credit lines, buy a CKD vehicle because it's cheaper and spare parts will always be available. And spare parts are important unless you want to buy a new car after 50,000 kilometers.
Chip in and help Thailand to become the "Detroit of ASEAN" - not Detroit of Asia!

Design
        S 60 styling cues. The sedan/coupe amalgam exterior of the S 60 2.3 shares the design of its sibling the S 60 2.0 cab-forward; there's that sporty look plus all the classic Volvo design elements in place. The Italians named this Volvo, "The most beautiful car in the world" Mamma Mia! A sport sedan in atwo door coupe clothing.

The engine
        In the engine room of our metallic arctic white S 60 demo unit sits an impressive 2.0 liter Light Pressure Turbo pumping out 200 brake horsepower and maximum torque at low engine speeds. The five-cylinder motor is microprocessor controlled or Electronic Engine Management (EEM).

Road holding
        This is a driver's car with front wheel traction and with a multi-link independent rear suspension and McPherson struts in the front. A low center of gravity and a wide corner gripping stance. In terms of dynamics S 60 is now closer to it's turbo front wheel drive, rally icon, fellow Swede SAAB.

Safety & comfort
        For added driving safety enter ABS, EBD, STC and DSTC to provide the important stopping power, electronic brake distribution, anti-spin and anti-skid devices. Safety properties you might need when you have the urge to step on the accelerator. Plus the unique Volvo protection system, IC-WHIPS and SIPS. The acronyms mean inflatable curtains, or side curtain airbags, whiplash protection and side impact protection.

In-car entertainment is provided by Volvo Premium Sound System (PSS) is an audio experience boasting eight speakers which. I felt the bass element in my breastbone, "Oomph" while driving down Sukhumvit Road listening to hardcore vintage techo. And my wife enjoyed ABBA Golden Hits CD.

The upholstery is combo of comfort, luxury, sportiness and safety. This is as close you can get to La-Z-Boy couch comfort while driving. Power in front seats, driver's seat position memory and even a jacket hanger on the side of the headrest. Remember Volvo's tag line "VOLVO FOR LIFE"! Safety rules again, even the head rests are designed in such a way that there is no obstruction of the driver's view when you are in reverse mode.

On the road
        Our test drive from Bangkapi/Tesco Lotus to a well known al fresco fish restaurant in Bang Saen, the eastern seaboard took 44 minutes!- top gear on the Bangna-Trat elevated expressway. Tight, fast and solid tracking in the right lane. SLOW TRAFFIC KEEP LEFT! Always the same. When will they ever learn! Common highway courtesy, not only because we have the power and the glory (the brakes). The S 60 2.3T is the perfect Bangkok escape machine for a late, lazy Sunday afternoon lunch by the sea. I'll garantee you'll reach the seaside before dark.

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Verdict
        Volvo used to be boxy now let's think outside the box and consider the S 60 as a premium, safe choice that will provide your some serious fun behind the steering wheel.

P.S. The letter "S" stands for Sedan. We think it stands for "sporty" as well. And VOLVO, of course is Latin meaning "I roll".

Speck-check:
Volvo S 60 2.0T
Displacement: 1984 cc
Horsepower: 180
Maximum Torque: 285 Nm at 5.500 rpm
Transmission: Five-speed adaptive Geartronic
Top Speed: 215 km/h
Price: 2,4 million THB

YouTube:
Check out the identically arctic white VOLVO S60 - with US specifications.
The North Americans just love Volvo; the movie stars, the doctors and the soccer moms. Is it the VOLVO FOR LIFE tagline?


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