Rabu, 09 Juni 2010

Volvo S60 2010

2011 Volvo S60

The second-generation Volvo S60 takes a slightly different approach than its predecessor. Yes, there are a ton of safety features in the car, more than on any previous Volvo. Loaded with items such as City Safety and the company's third-generation of collision warning, the S60 has an optional pedestrian safety system that, using a camera and radar system, recognizes people (up to 10 at a time, distinguishing the nearest threats) and will bring the car from up to 25 mph to a dead stop to avoid a collision. The system works only with two-legged creatures, so it will not respond to four-legged animals.

How's it drive?

While safety is Volvo's calling card, company engineers have spent years working on the chassis and suspension of this new S60 with the goal to make the car not only safe, but fun to drive.

After sampling a preproduction car on the twisting, undulating roads of the Taunus hills near Frankfurt, Germany, we can say their effort was worthwhile. With the turbocharged six underhood--the only engine variant to be offered when the car goes on sale in the United States this fall--the S60 is fun to drive. A six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch gearbox would make the car even more fun to drive, but simply saying "Volvo" and "fun-to-drive" in the same sentence is certainly a good step forward.

During development Volvo engineers paid special attention to the car's steering, offering drivers the option to choose the effort needed to turn the wheel. Using the center console display, you can choose low, medium or high, depending upon personal preference. Low gives you the type of feel you might expect in say, a Lexus, while medium feels like a traditional German sports sedan. High is a notch up from there. Steering weight preferences are very personal, and during some tight switchbacks the high felt a bit too much, while medium seemed spot-on while low was, well, too light. Your experience may vary. Giving the driver the option is a nice feature, we think.

No matter which setting you use, the car responds with crisp turn-in, and the steering feedback lets you know where the car is at all times. Our test car was riding on 18-inch summer tires and the grip was very good. U.S.-spec cars will come with all-season rubber, so the ride may be jut a tad softer and the grip not as good. Summer tires may be offered as an option here in the States.

The Haldex AWD system splits torque according to which wheels are getting bite, and, working in coordination with the car's traction control system, minimizes understeer.

The suspension is stiff, not brutally so, but you notice very little body roll and hardly any brake drive. Jounce and rebound are very well handled, giving the car a solid, secure feel on a variety of road surfaces. The net result is a car that will surprise those who might think of Volvo as being the equivalent of a European Buick. We all know the Euro Buick is, of course, an Opel Insignia.

Do I want it?

Volvo knows convincing customers the S60 is a driver's car, not just a safe cocoon in which to haul precious cargo--aka family members--is a tall order, so Volvo priced the car competitively. At $38,550, the S60 packs more features and more horsepower than similar-sized cars offered from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus. Start ticking off options, and you can easily push the price of the car north of $45,000. Still, the S60 offers one of the safest cars built in a handsome package that is fun to drive and extremely comfortable. The interior design is elegantly simply, with just two round dials in the instrument panel fitted into a dash with a sweeping design reminiscent of a road-course layout. The center stack, topped by a seven-inch display screen, is again simple and straightforward. And Volvo continues to put in its cars some of the most comfortable seats available in a car today.

Who said safe can't be fun?

2011 Volvo S60

Drivetrain: 3.0-liter turbocharged I6, 300 hp, 325 lb-ft; AWD, six-speed automatic

Curb weight: 3,764 lb

0-60 mph: 6.5 sec (mfr)

Fuel economy: TBD

Toyota Tundra Double Cab

The bigger, badder, beefier Tundra still seems like a poor stepchild to the offerings from the Detroit-based automakers, even though this truck offers strong torquey power and seems capable enough. I like that, even with the heavier-duty towing capacity, which makes the unloaded ride feel choppy, the steering and front suspension keep the truck pointed in the direction you want to go. That's a plus, because it feels and drives like a big truck.2010 Toyota Tundra

This truck hasn't been in the market that long, but it is already feeling dated, like it is better equipped to compete with the previous-gen Ford F-150s, Chevrolet Silverados and Rams and not the current crop of redone trucks offered by those companies. This truck might be fine if Toyota was just selling to contractors in California, but the company's aspirations for this vehicle run deep into every red and blue state in the union. With this kind of uninspired offering, making those inroads won't be easy.

SENIOR WEB REPORTER GREG MIGLIORE: This truck did nothing to change my rankings of big trucks. The F-150 still reigns as the complete package, followed by the Ram (pure badass fun), the Silverado, then the Tundra.

It's not that this is a bad truck, it's just the Detroiters are very good. And there's a lot to like in the Tundra. It's one of the most controlled rides you can get from a big truck, with good handling and not too much roll in tight cornering. The steering has a nice weight to it too, which makes piloting this beast fun.

I found this suspension to be quite bouncy. The roads around here are bad, but the suspension was pretty springy in some situations. It's better than needing your fillings replaced, but still a little lively.

There's plenty of power here. I had no problems getting this beast up to speed in all situations. And the transmission shifts smoothly to add an element of refinement.

It's a fairly quiet cabin at idle (for a truck). The interior is nothing special. It's laid out well, but hardly inspiring. That console is about as big as a kitchen table I had in one of my first apartments, and it's a nice spot to easily place your morning coffee.

Big trucks are fun in my opinion. I don't have a reason to own one, but if I did, this wouldn't be my first choice.

EXECUTIVE EDITOR ROGER HART: I cannot quibble too much with Migliore's ranking-- although I might be a bigger fan of the Ram than Greg--only to say that with the Tundra, all four trucks are now separated by less than a tailgate. This is a good truck, the best attempt at a pickup yet for Toyota. And this doesn't even have the big motor.

The interior is comfortable, and this truck is as quiet as any other. The ride is trucky, but put a few hundred pounds in the back--like I did hauling some shingles back from the lumber yard--and it's a different ride altogether.

Truck buyers have never had a better selection of top-quality trucks to buy. And at this price, I think this truck, with all its capabilities and features, is a bargain.

2010 Toyota Tundra Double Cab

Base Price: $29,490

As-Tested Price: $30,934

Drivetrain: 4.6-liter V8; 4WD, six-speed automatic

Output: 310 hp @ 5,600 rpm, 327 lb-ft @ 3,400 rpm

Curb Weight: 4,580 lb

Fuel Economy (EPA/AW): 16/18.1 mpg

Options: Tow package including increased max-tow capacity to 8,300 pounds, 1,515-pound payload capacity, hitch receiver, supplemental transmission, cooler, 4.10 rear differential with 9.5-inch ring gear, 130A alternator, transmission, temperature gauge, seven-pin connector, trailer-brake controller prewire ($660); bedliner without deck rail system ($345); cold-weather package including heavy-duty battery, heavy-duty starter, windshield wiper de-icer with timer, front and rear mudguards ($160); 18-inch styled steel wheels with P255/70R-18 tires ($110); daytime running lamps ($40); power heated outside mirrors ($30)

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