If the devil is, as they say, in the details, then Volvo's refreshed, upgraded and generally cleaned-up '60 range of models must be devilishly good.
The previous versions were among the Swedish automaker's most stylish and best-selling offerings, and the new versions - released in South Africa today - are all about attention to detail. Which is to say that a lot of work has gone into small changes that may not be apparent at first glance but add up to a whole new level of very Nordic sleekness.
There's also some very practical new technology, including paddle shifters on some auto-transmission models, dazzle-proof permanent high-beam headlights and new pedestrian and cyclist detection systems.
There are also new optional sports buckets seats for all '60 Volvos that the maker says will hold you in place without sacrificing traditional Volvo comfort, by deepening and firming lateral support from shoulder to thigh, and revising the seat-back to provide extra rear-seat knee room.
SMALL CHANGES THAT MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
The windcreen washer nozzles have been moved out of sight under the bonnet, the radar cover has been painted gloss black to help it blend into the grille, the chrome frame around the grille has been removed and a new, bigger 'ironmark' emphasises the logo.
Even the integrated tailpipes are the result of some serious detail work, since they have to remain in exactly the same place relative to the rear bumper, while the exhaust system as a whole expands in length by as much as 25mm as it heats up to operating temperature.
Not even the rim catalogue has escaped without scrutiny; you can now order 19” rims for your S60 or V60, but with the same tyre profile height as the standard 18” hoops, so you don't loose ride comfort; the same applies to the XC90, where the tyres for the optional 20” rims have the same profile height as with 19” rims.
Inside, there new upholstery colours, new wood inlays, a new headliner, and silk metal frames around the air vents and light controls.
V IS FOR VERSATILE
The new Volvo V60's rear seats can be folded down in three 40/20/40 segments, so that the rear 430 litres of load space can be supplemented quickly and easily, while the V60's two-stage integrated booster cushions pop up from the seat base, to provide a comfortable and safe ride height for children from three years upwards.
The XC60, by contrast, now has a sleeker, more urban style; Volvo's best-selling models features a new bonnet, new headlights and chromed horizontal bars in the grlle, to emphasise the width of the car.
All the black trim has been removed, however, so the whole car is body-coloured.
Inside, there are new wood inlays, a new headliner, textile B-pillar liners and silk metal frames around the air vents and light controls.
Corner traction control is now standard on the XC60, helping the driver avoid understeer by applying just the right amount of braking to the inside wheels while powering the outer wheels when accelerating out of a corner.
R IS FOR REALLY SPORTY
The revised S60, V60 and XC60 will be available South Africa in sporty R-Design derivatives from about November - more details when they get here.
NUTS AND (MOSTLY ELECTRONIC) BOLTS
Volvo's adaptive digital display, first seen on the V40, is now available across the Volvo 60s range, with three themes.
Elegance is the base mode with a cool blue backlighting.
Eco has green backlighting, with an eco meter on the left; current and accumulated fuel-consumption figures are displayed, with a green E light when eco-driving is optimal.
Performance is backlit in red with a rev counter in place of the central speedometer; speed is shown digitally in the centre of the display. The right display includes a power meter - a gauge that informs the driver how much power is available and how much power is being used at any given time.
New software with more rapid vision processing has made it possible to extend the detection and auto brake system to cover certain cyclist situations as well.
If a cyclist heading in the same direction as the car suddenly swerves out in front of the car and a collision is imminent, there is an instant warning and full braking power is applied.
It also detects a pedestrian stepping into the road in front of the car. If the driver doesn't respond in time, the car automatically applies the brakes.
Active high beam prevents dazzling oncoming drivers - or the driver in the car ahead of you - by shading out only as much of the beam as necessary, using a projector module mechanism.
Each car comes with two keys, each with a slightly different design so you can tell which is which, that can be programmed with its own instructions for seating and side mirror positions, as well as the preferred digital display theme, so that the car will set itself to the key with which it is opened.
Sensus enables connectivity and internet in the car and turns the 180mm display into a state-of-the-art infrared, beam-scanned touch screen that can be used even when wearing gloves - this is a Scandinavian car, after all! Connection is via either a car-mounted 3G or 4G dongle or the driver's smartphone.
Sensus Connected Touch gives the user access to full internet browsing (except when driving), internet music streaming, internet radio with thousands of channels from all over the world, Google Map and Search, 3D navigation, weather information, a number of native and web applications, App Store for new functions and updates as well as a Volvo service locator.
You can find the track you want just by saying its name; the voice-activated system works on all music sources paired with Sensus. You can also make the whole car a Wi-Fi hotspot.
S60 T3 Essential - R329 600
S60 T3 Excel - R334 500
S60 T3 Elite - R350 500
S60 T3 Powershift Excel - R355 400
S60 T3 Powershift Elite - R369 300
S60 T4 Excel - R358 100
S60 T4 Elite - R374 100
S60 T4 Powershift Excel - R375 500
S60 T4 Powershift Elite - R391 500
S60 D4 Excel - R381 500
S60 D4 Geartronic Excel - R397 500
S60 D4 Elite - R397 500
S60 D4 Geartronic Elite - R413 600
S60 T5 Powershift Excel - R430 100
S60 T5 Powershift Elite - R446 100
S60 T5 Powershift R-Design - R454 100
S60 D5 Geartronic Elite - R457 500
S60 D5 Geartronic R-Design - R465 500
S60 T6 Geartronic AWD Elite - R518 800
S60 T6 Geartronic AWD R-Design - R526 700
V60 T3 Essential - R340 500
V60 T3 Excel - R345 400
V60 T3 Elite - R361 400
V60 T3 Powershift Excel - R367 100
V60 T3 Powershift Elite - R380 700
V60 T4 Excel - R369 000
V60 T4 Elite - R385 000
V60 T4 Powershift Excel - R386 800
V60 T4 Powershift Elite - R402 900
V60 D4 Excel - R392 100
V60 D4 Geartronic Excel - R406 200
V60 D4 Elite - R408 100
V60 D4 Geartronic Elite - R422 200
V60 T5 Powershift Excel - R441 000
V60 T5 Powershift Elite - R457 000
V60 T5 Powershift R-Design - R454 100
V60 D5 Geartronic Elite - R468 900
V60 T6 Geartronic AWD Elite - R529 900
V60 T6 Geartronic AWD R-Design - R537 900
XC60 D4 Essential - R464 800
XC60 D4 Geartronic Essential - R480 000
XC60 D4 Excel - R472 100
XC60 D4 Geartronic Excel - R487 300
XC60 D4 Elite - R481 100
XC60 D4 Geartronic Elite - R496 200
XC60 T5 Powershift Essential - R479 600
XC60 T5 Powershift Excel - R486 800
XC60 T5 Powershift Elite - R495 700
XC60 D5 Geartronic AWD Excel - R546 300
XC60 D5 Geartronic Elite - R555 200
XC60 D5 Geartronic R-Design - R577 200
XC60 T6 Geartronic AWD Excel - R591 700
XC60 T6 Geartronic AWD Elite - R600 600
XC60 T6 Geartronic AWD R-Design - R622 600