ONE OF THE HAZARDS OF BEING an automotive journalist is the fact that when I get into a car, my brain immediately begins skimming through its mental dictionary for words to describe what I’m feeling. Those words have got to go beyond the superlatives and actually describe the experience with depth and clarity. Any old sod can tell you if a car is excellent or otherwise. What matters is figuring out what makes cars excellent, and communicating exactly why. Most cars are a complicated set of contradictions, that sometimes work together and sometimes don’t. But this Volvo? It requires a single word to encapsulate the entire experience. Serenity.
You don’t even have to get inside the Volvo for that word to spring to mind. I think these new Volvos have really nailed it on the styling front, with simple clean lines that are free of unnecessary creases and kinks. The headlamps are the most distinct bit of its identity, with the Thor’s Hammer DRL signature that hasn’t aged one bit since it first debuted. The tail lamps look really good too — the C-shaped light signatures adding heft to the shape. The S60 doesn’t have an oversized grille. In fact, I had a fleeting thought about how the grille is too small for the face and then held myself back before more dastardly ideas came to mind. It’s probably the over-exposure to the gaping maws of every new car that seems to be heading our way of late. The Volvo S60 is only being sold in India in the Inscription trim and gets a grille unique to that trim line, with a chrome surround and vertical chrome slats (as opposed to the R-Design which looks less elegant and more sporty). The styling isn’t in-your-face flashy, but it draws your attention with how clean and unpretentious it is. Much like the Volvo SUVs that have that Russian doll business going on, the S60 looks like a shrunken S90. And while I’m sure a prospective S60 buyer will be mighty thrilled by that prospect, I suspect that Volvo could have a few annoyed S90 owners to deal with on the side.
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