Cars come in a variety of shapes and sizes with various capabilities and purposes, but the most common type of vehicle is the good old four-door sedan.

    An exciting one for 2011 is the all-new Volvo S60. The S60 continues Volvo’s trend of giving its cars to the styling department before manufacturing them. The S60 boasts curving lines everywhere, from the front fenders to the sloping and swooping roofline to the nicely sculpted rear.

    Inside, the interior is functional, modern and easy to use. Front leather seats are well bolstered and heated, and there is decent room in the back seat. There is a glass moonroof that allows you to enjoy some sunshine and additional ventilation. The trunk is very large and deep, and the rear seat also folds down to increase cargo-carrying capacity.

    Two large gauges display the tachometer and speedometer and within, they have digital displays for the time, fuel supply and other useful information. The radio is displayed on a screen at the top of the center console, but is controlled by knobs at the bottom which are a bit remote. The dual automatic ventilation controls have rotary knobs for fan speed and temperature and a very intuitive body-shaped button display that allows you to simply push the button that corresponds to the part of your body where you want the air to flow.

    The S60 T6 offers a 3.0 liter, turbocharged, 300-horsepower, 6-cylinder engine that sends power via a 6-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels. That’s plenty of power and traction to get the S60 moving pretty briskly, with no real turbo lag. Three chassis settings are available: comfort, sport and advanced. I was recently fortunate enough to get an S60 on the track at Road America, and it performed surprisingly well. The suspension is tight enough to perform well on the track, yet soft enough to ensure a comfortable ride, though the power steering is a bit overboosted. Gas mileage is 18 city, 26 highway. Audible parking sensors are a nice safety feature that can assist maneuvering in tight places.

     “The S60 is Volvo’s first performance oriented sedan, and like all Volvos, it contains all the safety features you’d expect, with exceptional handling,” says Weiss Brentwood Volvo’s John Babcock. Base price for the S60 T6 is $38,500.

    Another exciting new sedan is the VW Jetta, which has been completely re-styled for 2011. A longer, lower body gives it a sporty, aggressive European look.

    Nicely bolstered, heated front seats welcome you to the cabin. Ventilation controls are simple, and the radio also is straightforward and easy to use. Cruise control and power mirrors and windows are nice convenience features.

    Acceleration is pretty good, if not neck-snapping, and handling is decent with good steering response and fairly flat cornering. Braking is good, but on the lower two trim levels, the rear brakes are drum and not disc brakes, though they all offer ABS, traction control and stability control. The Jetta gets excellent mileage at 24 city, 31 highway from its 2.5 liter, 170-horsepower, 5-cylinder engine with the 6-speed automatic transmission. A 5-speed manual transmission also is available and delivers even better mileage. For those wanting even better than that, a 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine good for 30 city, 42 highway also is available.

     “The new Jetta is larger than its predecessor and offers a lot more room in back, along with the largest trunk in its segment. It’s also more attractive, more fuel efficient, and boasts five-star crash ratings,” says Bommarito Volkswagen general sales manager Brad Gilbert.

    Prices for the new Jetta start at about $17,000 for the base model, $22,000 for the top of the line and about $23,700 for the TDI clean diesel.  LN

Robert Paster ( also is an attorney in private practice, concentrating in estate planning and probate.