Volvo S60 2021 Tech Check: Smart and Classy
- The Volvo S60 comes with a lot of technology crammed in
- It will compete with the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class
- It makes few missteps like with the wireless charging pad
Volvo's S60 is its tour de force. It is what the 3-series is to BMW and the C-Class to Mercedes Benz. But unlike its flashier German rivals, Volvo keeps things simple, smart, safe and pragmatic. It does things its way. In fact, for the new 2021 refresh, the bigger changes are inside the cabin, than on the exterior. That's why it bodes well for us to do a deep dive into the technology inside the S60.
The Sensus user interface is one of my favourites. It is very simple to use and very logically laid out. It works with swipes to the right or left. The main screen is kind of the hub for the navigation system, phone controls and FM alongside things like CarPlay or Android Auto. On the right side, you get more access to the ADAS systems and on the other side, you get more granular controls towards the sound system, the telematics and some of the connected features. This makes for a very user-friendly system once you know the layout -- though at times for the novice, it may not be straight forward.
One of the reasons Sensus comes to life is the big 9-inch screen. It is a lovely screen which is slightly tilted towards the driver which makes it very easy to use if the car is self-driven. Even when you're on the passenger seat, you can easily use it. This is thanks to the incredible viewing angles which is a telltale sign for a fabulous display. The responsiveness of the screen is instantaneous almost like an iPhone or iPad. It is just a joy to use. The screen also enables you to control the climate control system which is neat and keeps the front dash clutter-free from unneeded knobs.
Harmon Kardon Sound System
There is 9 speaker Harmon Kardon sound system which is just ballistic. It even comes with a massive centrally mounted speaker on the dashboard which just elevates the soundstage of the audio experience. You tend to hear things in the music and songs you listen to every day, that you haven't before because of the level of detail it is able to reproduce. You invariable get what some people will call an audiophile-grade audio experience provided you play really clean compression-free music and even when that's not the case, music will sound beautiful. You really can't ask for more.
Generally, a car like the S60 comes with tremendous levels of kit. It gets wireless charging for your phone, voice recognition in the case you use it over Bluetooth. It can be even connected to the hotspot of your phone to download updates for the navigation system and update core apps. Its main heads up display is also a gorgeous one which lights up with all kinds of graphics and animations give safety information.
Perhaps the biggest reason why people opt for a Volvo over a Mercedes or BMW is the fact that it considered being one of the safest cars on the road. And in typical Volvo style, the S60 comes with a lot of ADAS technology which makes the car extremely safe. It has a reverse parking camera which lights up on the main 9-inch screen. On the main speedometer screen too you get notifications for overspeeding, seat belts, airbags and even of the door is open. It even tells you where you are via the navigation system even if you've not pinpointed a location. On the big infotainment display, it will tell you if a car is coming close by -- giving you spatial awareness. It has a collision-avoidance system and comes with adaptive cruise control.
All is not good in the S60. It actually doesn't offer much beyond what one would expect from a car in the sub Rs 20 lakh price band. It is very experiential. But even then it has some missteps - for instance, no wireless Android Auto or Apple CarPlay something that's available already on the BMW 3-Series. What's weirder is the fact that its wireless charger is placed in such an odd position that almost always your phone will move while you're driving. For many people, this situation will not arise as we found out that even a phone like the iPhone 12 Pro wouldn't charge because its surface area is too large for the charging pad.