EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 7, 2012

Volvo S60 gives luxury new meaning

Here are some obvious facts.

Luxury cars, like any luxury product, give you above-average quality. They also give you more than the usual features and frills. In exchange, you pay more to purchase one.

But some of that extra money also pays for the part of a luxury car you can’t see or touch: the prestige linked to its exclusive image. People pay more for luxury goods, in part, because they announce, “look what I can afford.”

What’s less obvious, but interesting and very promising, is the way some car companies are boldly ignoring that tie between luxury and prestige. Models like the Hyundai Sonata sedan and, especially, the Hyundai Equus deliver the high quality and extra gear ordinarily found in autos from big-name luxury brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. But Hyundai can’t charge you extra for its name. So you get a top-notch auto that still costs more than a run-of-the-mill car, but not as much as you’d pay to get a name-brand luxury model of the same caliber. Call it unpretentious luxury for sensible consumers.

Hyundai gets a lot of attention for taking that approach with its Sonata and Equus. But if you want a sterling example, look at the Volvo S60.

The S60 is so sensible, so solid, with so much undisguised luxury, that it epitomizes the underground route to premium motoring. Starting just under $32,000 and ranging into the high $40,000s for top-end versions, this middling-sized, four-door, front- and all-wheel-drive Volvo sedan is one of the best buys among autos today.

Gary Jaffarian, owner of Jaffarian Toyota Scion Volvo in Haverhill, explained that S60 drivers find the car appealing because of its completeness.

“The price of the car, for the technology, the safety, the style, and the performance make it the best value in the market today, especially among European brands,” he said.

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