TECH REVIEW: Volvo’s Sensus Connect Infotainment System

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Volvo S60 Sensus Full

The 2016 Volvo S60 T5 AWD features the Sensus Connect infotainment system. It’s available across the Volvo lineup, but with additional features including larger touchscreens available in select models. The S60 has no touchscreen option at all.

The system in the S60 includes:

  • 7-inch color LCD monitor
  • 160-watt high-performance audio system with 8-speakers
  • In-dash single disc CD changer
  • WMA and MP3 capability
  • HD radio
  • USB and AUX inputs
  • Bluetooth hands-free with audio streaming
  • Sirius radio with 6-month complimentary subscription
  • Sensus Connect with 6-month complimentary subscription with unlimited data and in-car Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Volvo On-Call with 6-month complimentary subscription
  • 10-year emergency crash notification
  • Smartphone apps

Volvo On-Call is both an app and an in-car feature. Push the On Call button in the car and be connected to an operator who can send immediate roadside assistance based on your GPS location. This can also be done from the smartphone app.

In the event of a collision, you don’t need to initiate the call at all. The car will immediately alert a special Volvo operator who can send emergency help if needed.

The smartphone app lets you do things like check your fuel level, activate remote start so you can precool or preheat the car, locate the car by blinking the lights and honking the horn, and check that the windows are up and the doors are locked.

There’s also a remote unlock feature and stolen vehicle tracking. Depending on your state, there’s even the ability to immobilize your stolen vehicle.

Volvo S60 Sensus Screen

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The 7-inch screen is simply too small in the S60, especially compared to what is available in competitive models. It’s also very deeply recessed which makes it difficult to see, particularly in harsh sunlight.

The navigation system is very difficult to use. Not only is it tough to see the maps on the screen, but it’s ridiculously difficult to program in a destination thanks to outdated center stack controls that are cumbersome and in need of a modern update.

Phone pairing was relatively quick and once paired, making voice-activated calls works well without having to repeat yourself or ending up calling the wrong person.

The standard eight-speaker audio system in our S60 was upgraded to Harman Kardon premium audio. It features 12 speakers located throughout the car and produces excellent sound quality whether you’re listening to pop music, country, or classical.

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The Sensus Connect system with Volvo On-Call provides a well-rounded infotainment system. The ability to check your car’s status on your smartphone with Volvo On-Call will save countless trips to double-check that the car is locked up for the night. It also provides peace of mind so you know that you and your loved ones will get help if you’re in an accident.

Volvo S60 Sensus Navigation

Notably absent are both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These features make smartphone integration seamless and would be a nice addition and Apple CarPlay is available as an add-on in select Volvo models. The Sensus Connect system provides all the features you want, but the outdated and complicated controls make it la difficult system to master.