Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 Volvo S60 T5 Premier

Well I never thought I'd be driving a Volvo, but that's mainly because their MPG always hovered around 22, much like Infiniti and their bulletproof 3.5L engine that always got exactly 20 MPG. But by sheer chance during my research period, I read that starting with their 2015 cars, Volvo put in a new engine called the Drive-E which supposedly boosted the MPG substantially. Since I've been a Swedish car fan since the Saab days, I thought I'd give it a go. It's funny actually...during my whole search for a replacement car, I only had my eyes set on a 2nd Gen TSX, but when it came down to it, it was all about location and where you went to look at a car. I went to Carmax since I wanted to see two Acuras with fair prices, but when I looked at the actual cars, their condition was a bit more 'used' than I would've liked.

After test driving the Acuras, we test drove this S60 and it was a night/day difference. The seats were way comfier, the power was more pronounced in the Volvo, and everything felt more upscale. We decided to just go for the Volvo because we were already in the 20k range; might as well pay a few thousand more to get a newer car with less miles.

Positives
  • The car is pretty fast after you get it going. There's a turbo lag from stop, but after the initial acceleration is out of the way, it's pretty speedy.
  • Even though the MPG is nowhere near 37, I still get 29 MPG on average so that's pretty good considering the turbo and the engine size.
  • The seats are super comfy; leather is very nice and the electric seats/memory = a godsend.
  • Appearance-wise, the outside looks great; much better than a BMW, Audi, or even the TSX.
  • The blind spot monitoring system is pretty slick. If someone wanders into your vicinity on either lane, an orange light will appear on the A-pillar. It's an unobtrusive feature that works.
  • The HUD (Heads Up Display) can be changed to 3 different modes which was a selling point, but I don't like how 2 of them look, so I just stick with 1 and never change it.

Negatives
  • The center console is super cluttered. I've gotten used to the controls, but yeah it's not an ergonomic setup.
  • The two cup-holders have some very flimsy flaps on the sides to keep a smaller soda from moving around too much. Unfortunately the previous owner broke these flaps off since they are made of some flimsy rubberish material. Additionally, the 2nd cup-holder is on a different 'level' from the first, and thus it doesn't have the same height coverage for a soda, so any drink placed in it can more easily tip over. I think the best design for cup-holders were from the older 2006 Civic.
  • The dual climate control system doesn't have a "sync" button. Because of this, whenever you change one temperature control dial you, have to do it for both. Even my old Infiniti could be linked. I honestly wished that they would just get rid of the auto control. It's way more efficient and fun to control the temperature and fan speed manually.
  • There's next to no storage space. Sure there are 2 cup-holders, but that's about it. Car-makers need to know that there always needs to be a miscellaneous space to put stuff. Behind the waterfall control center there is a nook but you have to bend your hand in an awkward way to get back there. Additionally it isn't deep enough to withstand a turn, so whatever you have in there will fly out (sunglasses). The door cubbies can hold random stuff minus a water bottle, so WTF?
  • There is a pretty hefty blind spot when you check the rear-right. I always thought the Prius had it bad, but ironically this car is worse because of the sloped doors and the high rear end. The design sure looks good from the outside, but man oh man does it suck while you're driving.
  • There is no manual oil dipstick that you can check. It's all electronic, and as I found out later, the measuring methodology is all out of whack. What I mean by this is that it only tells you if you're OK, Not OK, or Over OK. Think about that for a second. If your car is losing oil for some reason and you're 1 ml away from being in the 'low' range, the car will still display OK until it reaches that threshold and then Bam! you're Not OK (low oil state). Oil is the most important thing for a car's engine, so it's irresponsible for the manufacturer to let consumers get so close to being in a low oil situation.
  • The auto start/stop feature for the engine was supposed to be a highlight selling point, but now I find it more annoying than anything else. I'm always turning it back on/off because the damn thing will shut off when it's totally unnecessary, such as inching up an on-ramp, in a drive through, behind a guy at a 4-way stop, etc. They really should just have a button that you can press to manually turn off the engine and then it would just turn back on when you lifted your foot off the brake.
  • Depreciation. I know it was its depreciation that allowed for this slightly used Volvo to end up in my hands at the price I paid for it, but man I know that after the warranty runs out on this thing, it'll be worth close to $10k if that. I'm sure the Prius will still be worth more than it even though its 5 years older.

Thoughts
I like the quiet cabin and fancy feel, but sometimes it seems like too much when I think about the price. The car's warranty will expire in 2018, so I'll keep on owning it past that time unless the maintenance starts costing me more money than I would like. The car feels much larger than I'm cool with though...I totally miss smaller cars as they're more nimble. Ironically this year the newly redesigned 2016 Civic got released, with a new turbocharged engine mated with a CVT and regular gas. They will be releasing a hatchback version within a year and I think I'll be enamored by it; just my luck.