As you may already know, WapCar held the first-ever Car of the Year awards where you, our readers, get to decide which cars deserved to win. At the same time, each member of WapCar editorial team has also chosen his/her very own favourite car of the year. My pick was the Volvo S60 T8 R-Design.
Let me start with a confession: the initial pick for my favourite car of the year was the G20 BMW 3 Series. That is, until I’ve spent a night with the Volvo S60 T8. And boy, was I glad to have experienced it.
I’ll get the negatives out of the way first; interior practicality isn’t the best due to the massive centre tunnel that houses the hybrid battery, there’s no folding rear seats, and it’s a heavy car.
For someone who likes to keep the interior as empty as possible, the laughably shallow centre storage isn’t a deal breaker for me. But the lack of folding rear seats is a bit of a bummer because in my car ownership experience, there are a couple of times when folding seats saved the day.
As for the hefty weight (2,037 kg), it does blunt the Volvo S60’s agility. Having driven through a series of bends enthusiastically, it was obvious that the Volvo S60 T8 doesn’t dance around corners as nimbly as the G20 BMW 3 Series.
Granted, it's not exactly a fair comparison as the BMW 3 Series tested wasn't a PHEV. Still, the G20 3 Series has an inherent sharpness and balance that's embedded regardless of variants.
And that’s where all the negatives end. Sure, the Volvo S60 doesn’t handle as well as the BMW 3 Series, but I’m sure very few expected otherwise and in everyday driving situations, the Volvo S60 is the more pleasant car to drive.
The controls are also pleasantly calibrated. Steering is light and effortless to manoeuvre around town. It’s not razor sharp like the 3 Series nor is it quick to react like the C-Class, but it’s linear, which is ultimately more important in daily situations.
Same goes for the throttle response, it reacts intuitively and progressively to your right foot. Brakes are decently progressive for a hybrid, though it has to be said that it still can’t match the natural feel of non-regenerative brakes.
Driving position is excellent. The steering wheel and pedals are centered, and the footwell is spacious, unlike the C-Class or even the 3 Series with their protruding transmission tunnel. The seats are fantastically comfortable. It just supports your body in all the right places, without any pressure points.
I could go on about the little details that make driving the Volvo S60 T8 such a pleasurable experience in daily situations. But you really have to try it for yourself to know what I’m on about.
If you’ve dismissed the Volvo S60 T8 because its badge doesn’t project the same status as its rivals, that’s a quite a shame. Because it’s a proper luxury car and it deserves to be, at the very least, on your shortlist. Read our full review here.