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Old 27th February 2015, 20:59   #1
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Default Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review

Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review-pooja.jpg
Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review-home.jpg

Likes:
Excellent build quality, built to last
CBU car for CKD price
Premium feel interiors, feature rich
Volvos are rare in India, still commands attention at hotel lobbies
Powerful 204 bhp engine, more than enough grunt for our roads
Low insurance premium

Dislikes:

Low ground clearance
Software and electrical niggles
Expensive spares and accessories
Service and spares issues

My automotive family

I belong among one of those countless Malayalees who spent their childhood in the Gulf. Although life there was drab, we were blessed to be exposed to all sorts of cars. My father initially used to have Jeeps and Corollas; then graduated to Accords, Chevys and Pontiacs. We went through three generations of Chevrolet Caprices before I had to come back to India for my graduation studies.
Further into my studies I was gifted a Maruti 800 and subsequently graduated to an Alto VX 1.1; which remained till 2014. After my father retired, we added a Honda Accord 2.3VTiL-AT (2001) to our garage. Later a Toyota Camry (2014) joined in. Both very Americanized Japanese cars which felt and rode as such. Lack of dealerships and service centres at Thrissur made us steer clear of the German trio. In 2001, the only nearest BMW dealership in south India was in Bangalore. Now the scene is a lot better, but a long way to go.

In 2011, I had to relocate to Kochi. I had my Alto with me for nearly 10 years. I did not want to part with it. But I needed a larger second car for long trips safely with the family. Now with newer expressways and faster vehicle speeds, the Alto was no longer safe for long travels. The Accord stayed behind in Thrissur with dad. Hence, the hunt for a new car. Kochi is a growing city with dealerships of almost all car brands. Even Porsche and Jaguar have flourishing dealerships here. With showrooms right next door, servicing was no longer a problem. Moving to a new institution also ensured me some financial stability. I decided to move away from the traditional purchases and try my luck with the Germans.

The Choices

I had a budget of around 35 lakhs. I took time off and decided to spend a weekend with my family in Kochi, car shopping. This, in 2015 is almost impossible, as Kochi is cursed with every big city’s nightmare – Traffic Jams!
The cars considered were,

1. VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT
170 BHP 2L engine, DSG gearbox, highline version had navigation, reverse camera and (unheard of in 2011) active park assist.

I booked an appointment for a test drive with EVM VOLKSWAGEN KOCHI. I arrived on the fixed day and time only to be disappointed. The receptionist initially said there was no such car in the showroom at the moment. The sales agent I spoke to came later, apologetically, only to say that there was no test drive car. We were shown a brand new car meant for a customer. I initially declined as it was meant to be somebody else’s pride and joy but was assured it is with the owner’s permission. We checked the car out. Although I was impressed, my wife was not. All black interiors and cramped rear seats were a letdown.
We left the showroom with no test drive, and no decision.

2. BMW 320D HIGHLINE
181 BHP 2L engine, ZF gearbox, impressive interiors, excellent infotainment system with built in 12GB HDD, DVD changer in the boot, Navigation package add-on for Rs.50,000.

We were shown a Limited Edition Highline model. After the Passat, the rear seats in the BMW 3 series seemed really spacious. All those reviews of cramped rear seats in the ‘3’ seemed unfounded. I am 5’9’’ and my wife 5’4’’. For us, it seemed adequate. We had her sister in law along with us. What we lacked in height, we had laterally in abundance. Even then, the three of us could sit together in the back in reasonable comfort. This became our rear seat benchmark. This version of the car also had Nappa leather seats which felt and ‘smelt’ really good. Our test drive car was a ‘Corporate Edition’ which was less luxuriously endowed. The sales guy figured I was a car nut. I knew more of the car than he did. So he deliberately made me floor the accelerator and, I was in love. To the horror of my family in the back seat, I threw it around corners and tasted a 40 to 120 acceleration. On a rough patch of road under construction, the ride was quite tolerable. I was sure the Highline version, with its lower profile tyres and larger wheels, would ride harder. But my family felt it was ok. PLATINO CLASSIC KOCHI was definitely more professional in their approach. Very becoming of a premium brand.
We walked out of the showroom almost decided.

3. AUDI 2.0 TDI
140BHP, 2L engine, Multitronic gearbox, quality interiors, good interior ambience.

The first thing we noticed when we sat in the A4 was how similar some of the switchgears were to the VW Passat. The sunroof switches were exactly same. I explained to my wife that both cars were from the VAG group of cars, but the Audi would be better quality. She wondered aloud whether I was the salesman and trooped onto the rear seat with her sister and my son in tow. I joined them in the rear seat. With the additional leg space, it felt a lot more comfortable than the rear seats of the BMW. If comfort was the only criteria, the A4 is a no brainer. I took the car for a test drive along the same route (and same driving style). The ride was definitely better. I mentioned to the agent that the acceleration was not as brisk as the BMW (my wife gave a sheepish grin at me through the rear view mirror). The sales guy took me onto the highway and made me do the acceleration run again. It took its own time reaching 120. But the acceleration was smooth. And that was what this car was all about, comfort. With a 170bhp engine and a DSG gearbox, the story would be different. But I guess that would have pushed costs. We were on our way out of the showroom when we got introduced to Mr. Patel,AUDI KOCHI M.D. He offered me a good discount and offered to add on a higher MMI with front-rear park assists to the package (These were not standard at the time). Although my heart was for the BMW, Mr. Patel almost convinced my family to buy the Audi.
We walked out of the showroom nearly decided.

4. VOLVO S60 D5 SUMMUM
204BHP, 2.4L, 5 cylinder twin turbo engine, Geartronic gearbox, distinct interiors, loaded with Tech

The car was just released in press and there were no official Indian reviews. Not even on Team BHP! The only reviews were the ones done abroad. The safety equipment in those reviews were quite impressive. I did not know if the specs would be the same here. We were late in the evening. Yet the showroom was kept open till we came. There was no test drive car in Kerala yet. We got to sit in a showroom car and have a feel of it. It felt a lot different and the leather seats in the car were in a class of its own. Although leg space in the back was not as good as the A4, three abreast seating at the back was comfortable. The prices were still not out and I had a feeling this would be out of my budget. My family now felt this car was the one to have. One week later a test drive car was made available and I was really impressed after the drive. It did not have the on-rails handling of the 320D, but it was only one step below in that department. It was as comfortable as the A4, but more powerful. 40 to 120 was quick, albeit a bit noisy. And surprise, the on road cost of the fully loaded car would be less than the 320D.

The Mercedes C250 CDI was not considered as I found the rear seats cramped. It is a really comfortable car no doubt. But at the time, there were just too many Mercs around. It was the default choice in Kerala at the time. Only later did the Audis and BMWs start taking over the sales.

I scratched my head at home for a while. The BMW kept coming back into my decision. But family took precedence over driving pleasure.
I booked the Volvo.

Buying experience

The purchase process was a straight forward procedure. No discounts on offer at all. It was more of ‘take it or leave it’. After the response from my family, they were sure mine was a done deal. Rs.50,000/- non refundable booking advance was paid. The on-road price was competitive mainly due to lower insurance premium. This was courtesy of over the top active safety equipment (The car wouldn't crash even if you tried to!). We opted for the Vibrant Copper (Orange) colour and the showroom staff were delighted. A car of the same colour in the ‘Summum’ trim was already in transit and could be delivered in 2 weeks! I took my insurance and loans from ICICI with whom we have privileged accounts. We were given rates below the market rates. MGF Volvo had a tie up with Reliance for their insurance which had quite low premiums. My bank bettered those. The purchase also included an introductory offer of 2 years warranty + free all inclusive service for 2 years. This included all consumables, labour and parts. Only tyres were excluded. Even wiper blades would be replaced free of cost.

I am not detailing the on road costs of the car as it is not relevant now, 4 years later. However, I am more than happy to divulge if anybody is interested.

I had started off to get a German car into the garage, and ended up with a Swedish one.
My parents were initially not impressed. The Volvos we saw in the Gulf, you see, could be drawn using just a scale. And not much imagination. My father, however, left the decision to my reasonably good knowledge on cars. We received the car personally at the dealership at Willingdon Island in Kochi after the usual formalities.

When my parents saw the car in person (we arrived at night, the headlights catch attention easily), all their doubts were dispelled.
Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review-lights.jpg

Thus, after 2 weeks, in the driveway, stood, a pretty, smiling, orange (Vibrant Copper) Volvo. She may not be Heidi Klum (German), but Ingrid Bergman and Greta Garbo (Swedish) were classy ladies right?

Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review-parking.jpg
At 4628 mm length, its shorter than both the Camry and the Accord (which are as long as E classes). But it juts out of the parking lot when I visit home even with bumper-to-bumper parking. Shorter overhangs though make it more maneuverable.

Initial Ownership

I will not go too much into the interiors and the features of the car. They have been discussed quite in detail in the wonderful review by GTO. It was only after your review that I discovered that the front seats have pockets beneath them and that only the rear door quarter glass is ‘Made in China’.(They had to prove a point, didn’t they!)

My car was not actually fully loaded . It was not full keyless entry. You have to manually unlock with the remote like any normal car. It did not have the BLIS (Blind Spot Indicating System), adjustable driving modes, Navigation and Reverse camera. It did not have front park sensors either. I had the front sensors and camera added on later after my drivers started damaging the paintwork! This added another 1.5 lakhs to the cost of the car. I feel the camera is a necessity in this car.
Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review-antenna.jpg
Coupe like profile - red line shows the arc it follows from the B pillar all the way to a seemingly non existent boot. This results in a steep rear windscreen with good looks, but results in poor rear visibility

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Rear visibility is very restricted in places. Almost no view between those headrests through the large rear view mirror.
You can get by without it as I did for a year. However, tight reverse parking can be a bother. The sensors are a little conservative and would show impending collision, even if there was space.

My car did not have the space saver spare wheel. I still haven’t bought one. It should have been standard in a car that doesn’t come with run-flat tyres.

The S60 does not have retractable window curtains for the rear doors. The VW Passat, Audi A4, BMW 320, all had powered rear windscreen curtains and manually retractable rear side window curtains. If I remember right, in all these cars, the rear curtain even automatically retracted when reverse gear was exchanged. The S60 had a rear windscreen curtain, but it has to be manually closed. I felt this was a minor issue. Until the harsh Kerala summer set in. My son could often, not sit comfortably in his rear child seat with the sunlight on his face. I enquired about retrofitting these curtains. It was possible. But that would mean replacing the entire rear door panel. Cost? Only 1.5 lakhs for each door panel! The other option was to fit one from the aftermarket. I was encouraged to buy elsewhere. I found that these wouldn’t fit neatly and would spoil the wonderful interiors. There was a Volvo original accessory clip on shade (picture below) which I found on their official website which I purchased (around Rs.8000). It took its own sweet time to come from Sweden. Volvo India don’t keep much stock of accessories as they are very expensive. And dealers wouldn’t be happy with all that unsold inventory, would they.
Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review-shade.jpg

I can vouch for the safety equipment in this car. It has saved me on many an occasion. However, in our traffic conditions, you can be assured Pedestrian detection and Collision alert systems (City Safety Package) keep coming on. The system activates in three stages. If it detects an impending collision with a pedestrian or a vehicle, it first alerts you with an alarm and a visual light indicator onto the windscreen. Then if it senses you are not braking, it applies mild brake pressure to slow down. The final stage is abrupt – it will brake hard on just before impact to bring the car to a complete halt. This works up to 35kmph in my car. Newer cars work up to 50kmph. At this point, pray the guy behind you is alert and has reasonable distance from you. And pray that car has decent brakes. Although I have not been seriously rear ended yet, there have been minor nudges from bikes and some cars. Fortunately no damage from these encounters. The sudden braking and alarm noise can also be unnerving to a new driver. You hear a dull grinding noise from the rear when this ‘Full Auto Braking’ occurs. Its’ possibly a motor which engages the braking mechanism. But this sound gives a sensation of you being rear ended by something. One of my drivers accelerated because of this and ended up nudging the car in front. Again, fortunately, no damage to both cars.

Lane departure warning is more of a nuisance on daily drives. I used to keep it off. However, on long drives, its’ kept on. This ensures you indicate before changing lanes and you stick to your lane.

Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review-cruise-buttons.jpg
The radar guided cruise control works like a charm. Actually, its’ almost useless on our regular roads. But on long interstate expressways, it eases pressure off your foot. The only critique I have of it is that, the acceleration and deceleration is quite abrupt. Say you are cruising at 100 and you encounter a car doing 60 in front. The transition from 100 to 60 is quite sudden. If the car gives way (or you change lane) the transition back to 100 is again very abrupt. The deceleration can also occur if a vehicle in an adjacent lane is driving haphazardly. You do have the option of decelerating and accelerating manually using the cruise buttons on the steering wheel which will be smoother. In ideal traffic conditions, it is actually possible to travel a good distance using only your fingers (like a gaming wheel) and leaving your feet free. I did try it on some occasions. But I found myself being more tense than usual looking out for traffic. This beats its purpose. Volvo has discontinued this in India as standard. New Volvo owners need not miss it much.

The interiors are a picture in class and simplicity. Mine came with Beachwood Brown / Offblack leather, Antracite black / Urbanwood interior trim and All Black leather steering. Although the rows of buttons in the centre console don’t look it, they are quite simple and easy to use(once you get the hang of it). Just ignore the number pad in the centre. Volvo is now moving away from this and you will see full touch screens in all Volvos soon. At present, if you have the ‘Premium‘ version sound system with the 7 inch screen that mine came with, it is possible to upgrade to touchscreen navigation. I use the ‘good ole’ Google Maps Navigation on my mobile with a clamp on the windscreen if I need to. If Volvo ties up with Google, I’m ready with my money.

The ride coupled with the seats was something else. I had only driven some Mercs and a previous generation 3 series of some friends earlier. Otherwise I was used to the wallowy ride of the Accord. The ride in the Volvo was a different experience altogether. The ride on highways is quite mature. Minimal body roll and firm suspension set up ensure that small and medium size undulations are easily absorbed. It is only on uneven interior roads that the ride becomes a bit juddery. Sound insulation is quite good. It becomes apparent when you roll down the thick laminated windows at toll booths or ticket counters.

The engine is quite smooth if you drive it sedately. Inside the car you will not hear the engine with the music on. But floor the accelerator and all hell breaks loose. You won’t have to sound the horn to overtake. The guy in front most probably will give you way - to let all that racket behind him pass! Its’ that loud. You like it at times. At other times it feels like a rude and boisterous way to overtake somebody. It has two turbos. The smaller one activates at low speeds and the higher one kicks in as the speed picks up or when sudden acceleration is called for. You can hear these turbos distinctly if you roll down the windows at traffic lights. The gearbox is a real downer for spirited driving. With this power rating, a better gearbox (preferably a double-clutch unit) would have offered phenomenal performance. They are however, definitely better than what the Accord and Camry offers.

In 2011, the car really stood out on the streets. It was scary having people chasing you to take pictures on their mobiles. In 2015, Volvos are not that rare, but they are still few and far between. These cars really do stand out. So if you want to be discrete, don’t buy a Volvo. If you do buy a Volvo, don’t buy it in Vibrant Copper. Unless you want all the attention of course! Red is another colour which I found attractive on this car. I have only seen one red S60 on the road. Most are white or blue which seem to be the popular colours. These colours do accentuate the curves of the car more though.

For the all important “Kitna Deti hey?” query – 12km/l City, 14 km/l Highway. Maximum mileage achieved so far was on a drive to Thanjavur via NH67. Average of 100kmph (yes average) could be achieved. Mileage calculated tankfull to tankfull was 16km/l. I have never achieved this economy since. Possibly due to the low mileage my car has run. The car engine is most relaxed between 100 to 140kmph. Below these speeds it feels very restrained and you have to keep modulating your right foot to keep it leashed in. I guess thats’ why I got that kind of fuel economy in the Thanjavur run. I don’t think you can expect more mileage from this engine in its present state of tune.

I have driven a colleague’s XC60 D4 with the new 8 speed transmission (Please get him on Team BHP!). He claims 20+ mileage on that car. He has start-stop tech on that car too. The engine is a lot smoother, quieter and less fussy. On paper this engine has a lower engine rating and performance. However, on the short drive that I took in the city, I did not see any noticeable difference in the power from my D5. It might be a different story on the highway.

Volvo is to phase out all 3, 5 and 6 cylinder engines. Future cars will be all 4 cylinders in varying states of tune. This is to be achieved with ECU tricks and single / twin turbo charging. For more power they are moving on to hybrids. My odd cylindered engine will soon be archaic.

4 years and counting

Volvos are said to last a lifetime. You all may have heard of the first car in the world set to cross 3,000,000 miles. Yes! The zeros are correct. It is three million miles (Thirty lakhs in Indian speak). A car owned by a New Yorker has been on the road since 1966. Its’ none other than a 1961 Volvo P1800. 'Google' it. You'll be amazed. It gives more meaning to the name Volvo, which means "I Roll" in Latin.

The cars produced now seem to carry the same pedigree. Although now under Chinese ownership, most / almost all parts are manufactured in Sweden, Belgium, Poland or some European country or the other. The car you get here, is the car you get in Europe. Albeit, our cars have been souped up to endure our 'wonderful' roads. There have been no mechanical issues with the car so far (touch wood). Problems were mostly electrical which I will shortly elucidate.

I have enjoyed every long and short drive in this car. I do not regret for a moment having purchased it. The comfort of the seats, the quietness of the cabin and abundance of engine power meant most drives are relaxing. Only a relative’s E class felt close to this. But this car felt much better accelerating. And those seats, I keep mentioning the seats because they are that good. I am a real fan of this shade of brown colour and had been wishing it would be available in India. I dread the day I would have to replace the leathers though. I am sure they would cost quite a penny. I haven’t done a lot of mileage yet. 25000 km in 4 years is nothing to write home about. My driving is mostly city and occasional highway. Due to the nature of my profession, most of the planned long trips / drives usually end up getting cancelled.

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Some interior shots of it 4 years old. They seem to be ageing well. The darker panel trim definitely helped. The rear surface of the front seatbacks and the centre arm rest invariably have children’s shoe prints all over them and require regular cleaning. These photos are after a recent service.

The 215/50 R17 Continental tyres the car came with don’t seem to last long. The front tyre wall started bulging at 10000km and the rest were almost worn out at 15000km. After some research, I changed over to 225/45 Michelin Primacy 3STs. Not only has the ride become more comfortable, it has become more quite. These tyres are apparently designed to cancel out ‘tyre roar noise’ and they seem to work. The downside is that at higher speeds (as now there is no tyre roar) the engine noise is a bit more apparent!

Although the ground clearance is low, if driven sensibly, there won’t be much underbelly scraping. The firm suspension ensures the car doesn’t bottom out over speed breakers, small culverts and underground parking lot ramps. But it is not entirely avoidable. I end up scraping either the bottom, the side skirting or the front bumper at least once a month (in no particular order).

[Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review-fender1.jpg
The side skirting will invariably dislocate and end up like this after some time. (This is after it was re positioned and fixed)

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This is the opposite side for reference.

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These flaps ahead of the front wheels are meant to reduce drag. You can be assured they will drag themselves over anything above 130mm. However, as they are integrated with the bumper, they appear to be quite robust and haven’t broken yet.

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This panel on the front bumper hides the tow hook. One day, a potato fell off a truck travelling in the opposite direction on an expressway. I saw the damn thing (its’ my favourite vegetable though!) bounce its way towards me. I braked in time to prevent it from hitting the windscreen and allow it to pass under the car. After a thump and a clunk from the underbelly, I heaved a sigh of relief and congratulated myself on my brilliant timing. On reaching home, I realized that the timing was anything but brilliant. This panel was missing. Few more milliseconds off would have meant breaking the no-claim bonus on the insurance (headlight assembly is right above!). I now actually pay less than Rs. 45000 annual premium in my 4th year of renewal. This piece of metal, measuring 5x5 cms with a clip, cost Rs.5000 to replace.

Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review-radar.jpg
This black casing attempts to protect the radar unit used for adaptive cruise control. Damage to the radar would set me back 1.5 lakhs.

In the first two years I, more or less, did not have much problems with the car. By virtue of my contract, all services and parts (except for a few body panel repair works, painting works and accessories) were billed to me as Rs.0.00/-. Even body work, the most I had to pay was ~ Rs.16000/-. This was for the rear wheel arch panel dent repair and painting. Wiper blades were replaced twice, rear brake pads once (10000km). The rear brake pads required replacement again during the third service; which was done at cost (Rs.8,000/-). It was overall a pleasant and satisfactory experience.

I only had problem in the car being taken for service. They didn’t have enough qualified technicians / drivers to collect the car from my residence. I was, in the beginning, always requested to ask my driver to deliver the car to the service centre. I was ok with it if my driver was around. He is usually chauffeuring my wife and son. The issue never recurred after I took it up with their AGM. But I feel it shouldn’t have gone that way.
Anyway, things are smoothing up. With more efficient and knowledgeable staff like Mr. Eldho and Mr. Renoj (who have gone out of their way to help me), things are looking up. It is only professional people like these who can give a good reputation to the company. With increasing numbers of their cars coming onto the roads, maintaining the present service quality standards is going to be their real challenge.

The Electrical Gremlins

Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review-mmi-remote.jpg
The multimedia remote supplied is a chunky thing which has all the functions that the centre console in front has. However, it tends to become unresponsive in between. It was replaced twice during warranty. But the problem persists to this day. I am not sure if the problem is with the remote, or the IR sensor of the system. The sensor is housed behind the centre AC vent. Holding the remote close to this also does not help (It would be silly operating it like that anyway!). The service centre says it has no fault and the problem is in the way I operate the remote by pressing buttons too quickly! Well, I did foolishly try pressing the buttons leaving 10 second gaps. It still didn’t work and the issue has been registered. It is still pending. I actually hardly use it. My better half is the one who misses it. She needs to use it from the rear seat when I’m not with her.

A major issue which cropped up last year was the City Safety and Driver Alert alarm. During activation of the city safety systems which I mentioned earlier, the car provides a visual and an audio indication via an alarm. This comes through a speaker integrated with the Driver Information Module(DIM) in the instrument cluster. Few months back, the alarm began to sound a bit gargled. On enquiry, I was shown a coin which had apparently fallen into the module from the instrument cluster. I have no idea how this happened, as I never keep coins there (Perhaps one of my drivers did). But this alarm stopped sounding completely in the past two months. There is apparently no way this can be repaired, except to replace the entire DIM (cost Rs. 1.5lakhs; I am out of warranty). I have e-mailed Volvo Sales and Service Head in India regarding this issue. I have seen in some forums, even on Team BHP, this module replaced at company cost for this very issue. I am yet to get a reply from Volvo.

Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review-outlet.jpg
Another place for potential fuse blow outs. The AC-Power outlet in the centre arm rest has to be always kept closed when not in use. There have been instances in other cars, were some metal objects (again coins) have fallen into it resulting in a fuse blow out.

The battery died on me in October last year (three and half years) - replaced at Volvo Service centre with Exide DN 80 (Rs. 14,000/-, including labour/tax etc.) Would have definitely cost less outside but I did not have the time for it then.

I completed my 4th service in February2015 (26000km). This is my second paid service. Cost of both services were Rs.16000 each. This includes all filter changes, engine oil (Castrol edge), software upgrade/update etc. That’s all it would cost you. Unless you have specific problems with the car.

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Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review-leak-2.jpg
For nearly two months I used to see this pool of water next to the left front tyre. It was from the headlamp/windscreen washer tube. Chewed by rats apparently. The entire assembly was changed (Rs.6500/-).
The AC control switch conked off in between. The compressor used to come on only when it was in the mood! The problem was with the modulator of the ‘AC’ button. The part ordered took two weeks to arrive (Cost Rs.12000/-). Labour and incidental costs of these added up to Rs. 26000/-

Every electrical accessory upgrade and service requires updating of the in-built software - online connected to their servers abroad (possibly in Sweden or Belgium).

In 2011, internet speeds were quite slow. My car came with default ‘headlight always on’ after engine start. This cannot be switched off via the ‘My Car’ menu. I guess its’ because of some law in Sweden where the low beams have to be always on for their wintry climate. It had to be manually turned off everytime. I forgot to turn it off twice and decided to have this feature de-activated. This required deleting the entire software and downloading the new programme. It took a whole day.

Now with faster internet speeds, upgrades are faster. However, they are sometimes prone to error and incomplete. For instance, during my last service, the software was upgraded. This however failed to activate my front parking sensors. The car had to be sent back to the service centre for half a day to reactivate it.

VERDICT:
I was well aware of the costs of upkeep of a car in this category and had delayed buying one for the same reason. Now, 4 years into ownership (in spite of all the problems), to say I am satisfied would be an understatement.

In the end, all the reviews, the number crunching and statistics don’t mean much. What matters is how the car makes you feel. What matters is your family’s (if you are married) and your perception of the car.

When you get a smile on your face every time you press the accelerator; when you turn back to look at the car one more time after locking it;
when you look forward to every long drive and don’t feel it to be a chore; then, you know you made the right decision.
I feel like this every day and I love my Volvo. I certainly will spend even more of my time and reasonable amount of money, to keep her running in good condition.

Would I recommend this car to anybody?

Most certainly YES! YES! YES! I know at least three people who have bought a Volvo, based partly on my feedback.

Today in 2015, the new BMW has a more supple ride and better rear leg space. The new Audi has more tech and a better engine (177bhp). And Mercedes has launched the brand new and beautiful C class. But the top of the line, fully specced versions of these cars are all priced very high and close to their larger brothers - the 5 series, A6 and E class respectively. In this scenario, the Volvo makes a very good case for itself with competitive pricing, beautiful design (subjective) and safety tech. Some features are not found even in cars two segments above. You additionally have the exclusivity factor. Brand value really depends on where you live.

If you find the D5 models expensive, you will not be disappointed with the new D4 engines. These are the engines of future Volvos. I assure you they have adequate power and are smoother to drive. Newer Volvos also have futuristic looking interiors. Going preowned is also a good option, but cars are difficult to come by.

If ground clearance is an issue, you can up your budget and try the XC60. Even the V40 Cross Country has slightly more ground clearance (145mm) than the regular sedans.

Be sure to keep one or two months EMI worth of money aside for unforeseen expenses. Better still, spend that money on extended warranty / service (if available) and enjoy a hassle free ownership. This advice is especially for potential buyers like me, who are professionals, with fixed monthly incomes.

If you have reached this end of the thread, you have either read through the whole review, or have scrolled down.
To the former, I thank you for your patience. I hope you enjoyed it.
To the latter, I apologize for the inconvenience.
This was only an attempt to provide an honest and personal review for potential buyers and owners of A4 / A5 class sedans and Volvos.
Members with similar problems can come out and we can help each other out with our ideas.

We have started a small Volvo group here in Kochi, courtesy a colleague who owns the new XC60 D4 (I know he has applied for a Team BHP membership). If you are already here, Hi!
We all had a small get together recently and are in constant touch with discussions of our problems. I known at least three of them are members of this forum. Some of them have given me wonderful tips too. Hi guys! Thanks for coaxing me to sign up here.

I am open to your queries, all your views and hope to hear from you all. I will strive to reply to all your queries as quickly and accurately as possible.

Cheers and Drive Safe!

P.S. Given time and opportunity, I will come up with another ownership review of a recently purchased car quite popular in Team BHP

Last edited by psispace : 28th February 2015 at 01:00. Reason: Adding pictures
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Old 28th February 2015, 08:29   #2
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Default re: Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review

NOTE FROM T-BHP SUPPORT: Thread moved from Assembly Line to Long Term Ownership Reviews. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 28th February 2015, 09:29   #3
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Default re: Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review

Wow. Let me first thank you from the bottom of my heart for this wonderful review of a wonderful car which was much needed on our forum. Volvos are really under estimated in our country and I feel they are now really coming up with excellent and beautiful looking cars. The new S60 and the V40 are a right step in that direction. The new and upcoming XC90 is going to be even more advanced and also a step away from those cluttered dashboards.

I am really surprised at the service costs mentioned by you. They are quite on the lower side compared to the other cars in this segment.

One more surprising thing I found in your review is that you found the rear seat cramped in the Passat and more than adequate in the BMW and the rest. AFAIK Passat is leagues ahead of these cars in this aspect.

Looking forward to frequent updates from you.
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Old 28th February 2015, 12:32   #4
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Default re: Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review

Thank you for your review. So far, we have not found a dissatisfied Volvo owner yet. Says a lot.

When the XC90 lands and then the forthcoming new-gen Volvo's, things will get interesting!

Last edited by GTO : 2nd March 2015 at 16:01. Reason: Typo
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Old 28th February 2015, 13:49   #5
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Default re: Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review

WHat a wonderful and straight-from-the-heart expression with great choice of words.

Congratulations on completing four years with the D5.

How many kms have you done till date? And after an ownership of more than 4 years, do you think the volvo of today (with chinese at the helm of affairs of Volvo) is as rugged and long-lasting as the one you mentioned in your post?
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Old 28th February 2015, 19:29   #6
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Default Re: Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review

Dear psispace, First thank you for your detailed review of your experience. Very useful article given the dearth of coverage on Volvo in general in India. Did you at any stage face problems of the car being stuck for days & weeks because of non-availability of spares and spares taking weeks to come from Europe. I recently bought an XC60 - so far very happy with the car and Volvo's responsiveness. Your thread gives me reassurance I selected the right brand (from my perspective) of reliability and high customer service. Look forward to hearing from you. Regards, Narayan

Last edited by V.Narayan : 28th February 2015 at 19:46. Reason: additions
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Old 28th February 2015, 20:16   #7
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Default Re: Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review

[quote=drmohitg;3654187]
Quote:
Let me first thank you from the bottom of my heart for this wonderful review of a wonderful car which was much needed on our forum.
Thanks for your wishes. Team BHP has helped me in the past with reviews and discussions by its members. I guess I owed this review to all of you.

Quote:
I am really surprised at the service costs mentioned by you. They are quite on the lower side compared to the other cars in this segment.
I had compared parts costs of the cars and found the Volvo parts marginally more expensive than BMW, Audi and on par with Mercedes. But service costs were quoted low and I was a bit skeptical then. I am quite relieved now that I know its true

Quote:
One more surprising thing I found in your review is that you found the rear seat cramped in the Passat and more than adequate in the BMW and the rest. AFAIK Passat is leagues ahead of these cars in this aspect
.

All a matter of perception drmohitg. The black upholstery and high window sill of the rear doors gives a claustrophobic feel. Au contraire the 3 series 'feels' roomier.
Although the Passat and the A4 are based on the same chassis, the former seems to have more boot space and the latter more leg room. All a matter of packaging and design I guess.
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Old 28th February 2015, 21:10   #8
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Default Re: Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review

[quote=V.Narayan;3654416][quote]
Quote:
Did you at any stage face problems of the car being stuck for days & weeks because of non-availability of spares and spares taking weeks to come from Europe
I have not had my car marooned so far.
I have only heard of such issues with others for accident repairs, were entire body panels had to be replaced.

Quote:
I recently bought an XC60 - so far very happy with the car and Volvo's responsiveness. Your thread gives me reassurance I selected the right brand (from my perspective) of reliability and high customer service.
Glad to be of solace.
Congrats on your XC60. I am sure you can feel the reliability every time you shut the door.

Quote:
How many kms have you done till date?
26000+

Quote:
And after an ownership of more than 4 years, do you think the volvo of today (with chinese at the helm of affairs of Volvo) is as rugged and long-lasting as the one you mentioned in your post?
The mechanicals most probably might. But unfortunately, as with all things, technology is not always long lasting.
eg; The Nokia Lumia is not expected to last as long as, say, a Nokia 3310

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
When the XC90 lands and then the forthcoming newGen Volvo's, things will get interesting!
The XC90 will be on our shores soon. The center console is a button-less touchscreen with all functions of the car and more.
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Old 28th February 2015, 21:51   #9
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Default Re: Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review

Hi Psispace,
That's a beautiful car you have there and your write-up does it justice.
One question though, AFAIK India does have restrictions on the commercial usage of RADAR technology.
How does your car have it?
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Old 1st March 2015, 06:51   #10
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Default Re: Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review

Wow! Super review. We don't get to see too many Volvo cars on the roads these days. You have penned down one of the most passionate reviews on team bhp; you obviously love your car a lot. It's a good car with a lot of features, but one that is the least advertised; I don't know how many people actually consider it when they go out to buy the Mercs/Beemers. These day's I see a red Volvo V40 parked in front of my house, which makes me come to the only grouse that I have with their cars - their front end looks the same no matter what car you see! But I like the solid look and feel of the car - makes you feel very safe in the car. My choice of colour would have been the bright red colour, though other colours look just as good. All the best with your S60.
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Old 1st March 2015, 09:11   #11
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Default Re: Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by rohan_cherian View Post
Hi Psispace,
That's a beautiful car you have there and your write-up does it justice.
One question though, AFAIK India does have restrictions on the commercial usage of RADAR technology.
How does your car have it?
RADAR stands for RAdio Detection And Ranging. So two functions to it - one determining the range of an oncoming object and two determining the identification. The devices fitted in cars these days comprise only the 'ranging' aspect. It is really a radio echo device but called radar for simplicity and public understanding. A radar as is commonly used by say the military would do detection, ranging, identification and tracking. So think of what is fitted in the cars as a radio based range warning device. Hope this helps.
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Old 1st March 2015, 11:58   #12
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Default Re: Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review

Fantastic review! Was a pleasure to read the entire thing in one go. Absolutely loved the colour of the interiors. I wish I had the same colour of the interior as an option in my XC60. Moreover, I too can vouch for the satisfaction after buying a Volvo.
On a side note, we (Volvo club) should meet up again soon.
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Old 1st March 2015, 13:34   #13
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Default Re: Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by rohan_cherian View Post
That's a beautiful car you have there and your write-up does it justice.
One question though, AFAIK India does have restrictions on the commercial usage of RADAR technology.
How does your car have it?
Thanks rohan cherian.
Although the radar technology used in cars is different from the military, I think Volvo is having homologation issues now. Must be the reason why newer cars don't have them.
(Combination of misunderstanding and red tape)

[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by W.A.G.7 View Post
It's a good car with a lot of features, but one that is the least advertised; I don't know how many people actually consider it when they go out to buy the Mercs/Beemers.
Second that.
There was absolutely zero advertising earlier except for print ads.
They should have atleast advertised on TV/Media using the same ads used abroad. But I guess they were not ready for those kind of numbers.

Quote:
The only grouse that I have with their cars - their front end looks the same no matter what car you see!
Seems to be the problem with all manufacturers lately. The 'corporate grill' design theme puts restrictions on variations to the front end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
RADAR stands for RAdio Detection And Ranging.It is really a radio echo device but called radar for simplicity and public understanding. A radar as is commonly used by say the military would do detection, ranging, identification and tracking. So think of what is fitted in the cars as a radio based range warning device. Hope this helps.
Thanks for the explanation V.Narayan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trailblazin View Post
On a side note, we (Volvo club) should meet up again soon.
We definitely will, trailblazin, we definitely will!
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Old 1st March 2015, 21:25   #14
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Default Re: Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review

Thanks for a honest, simple and from the heart review of a rare car! It was a pleasure reading it.

Regarding your concerns about leather, i would suggest you buy Meguiars Gold class Rich leather conditioner and few good quality micro fibers. Apply the leather conditioner every month to all the leather surfaces, especially those which come in contact frequently and they will last for as long ass you keep the car.
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Old 2nd March 2015, 14:51   #15
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Default Re: Volvo S60 D5: 4 year / 25000 kms Ownership Review

Thanks Psispace
Your words are the one which i wanted to share to others regarding Volvo brand, and nothing would be perfect than a proper ownership experience.
Volvo's are CBU and still cheaper than German trio, first class build quality and
safety. I had driven S60 D4 and XC60 D5, opening their doors itself reveal how well built they are..and these models still look spectacular.
I wish more people buy Volvo, they are the safest/best built and value for money luxury cars.
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