In an executive saloon class dominated by the usual German suspects – namely Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz – the Volvo S60 has always been something of a left-field choice. While the Teutonic trio are best known for their performance credentials, the previous generation S60 championed comfort and safety as selling points.The latest Volvo S60 offers more than traditional Volvos. With its sharp new design, powerful petrol engines and improved handling, the Volvo S60 is making headway into premium German territory.
Volvo has ripped up its design rulebook over the past few years, replacing its traditional boxy range of vehicles with sharper looking, more premium models. The latest S60 is no exception - although its flowing lines and beefy haunches give it a unique character among Volvo’s current line-up.
It’s still very much a Volvo, with its signature headlamps, grille and E-shaped LED tail lights giving the S60 its unique sense of Scandinavian style.
It’s still very much a Volvo.
What’s it like to drive?
Get behind the wheel of an S60 and you’ll quickly appreciate its great driving position and the generous front and diagonal views out.
Pull out on to the road, and you’ll find handling that’s decent rather than class-leading. It lacks the polished performance of its slightly sportier German rivals. The brakes are excellent, while plenty of grip from the tyres inspires driver confidence on twisty B-roads. Ultimately though, the S60 is slightly more at home on motorways and sweeping A-roads, where it will whisk you along in refined comfort.
The T5-badged S60’s 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine is a spirited performer, with more than enough power to make light work of motorway journeys, fast backroad driving and rapid overtaking manoeuvres. Higher-powered T8 plug-in electric hybrid models make even lighter work of all driving conditions.
Get behind the wheel of an S60 and you’ll quickly appreciate its great driving position.
Thanks to an extremely supportive, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, the S60’s driving position is spot on. There’s plenty of steering wheel adjustment as well, and the pedals line up neatly with the seat, so getting comfortable is easy. Rear visibility isn’t up to par with some rivals. The S60 boasts standard front and rear parking sensors so this shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.
All S60s get a standard nine-inch portrait-oriented colour touchscreen infotainment system, with built-in sat-nav, voice control, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. It’s all very smart. Volvo’s On Call connected services platform also comes as standard, along with a head-up display that relays vital driving info on the windscreen.
As with all modern Volvos, the S60 has a premium, high-quality interior. You won’t find any hard plastics in here, rather a host of pleasingly tactile, reassuringly expensive soft touch materials. Even the cabin’s buttons and switchgear feel weighty and engineered to last. This is a car you want to touch.
The Volvo S60’s cabin has plenty of space up front, so drivrs will be happy and comfy. Rear seat passengers over six-feet tall may struggle with headroom thanks to the S60’s rakish rear profile. The rear seat will take a trio at a squeeze, and two in comfort on longer journeys.
Boot space is decent if not class-leading. The lack of space is mitigated slightly by the boot’s large opening, allowing bulkier items to be loaded with ease.
The S60’s optional 60/40 split rear seats can be lowered to carry more luggage if required. There are plenty of storage cubbies and compartments dotted around the cabin, as well as decent-sized door pockets and a couple of cupholders situated between the front seats.
Running costs and reliability
The Volvo S60 offers good value against its rivals, with solid residuals and decent fuel economy for the T5 model – or amazing fuel economy if you’re looking at the high-powered T8 version.
The T5’s 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine returns up to 39.8mpg, depending on how spirited a driver you are. The T8 plug-in electric hybrid – which boasts an all-electric range of 36 miles – boasts a jaw-dropping 176mpg, although that figure is reached without the petrol engine being in operation. Once it’s engaged, you’ll find normal driving brings that figure down to T5 levels, although the T8’s enviably low C02 emissions figure means that it is free from UK road tax charges.
What we love
We love the S60’s handsome looks and its luxurious interior. We’re also big fans of its class-leading standard safety systems, which include lane-keeping assistance, blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert and city safety – which reduces the impact of low-speed accidents. There are a host of airbags all around the interior, which should come as no surprise. And it goes without saying that the S60 has a maximum five-star EuroNCAP safety rating.
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The Volvo S60 is a seriously good-looking car, with an interior to match. Add in impressive performance, good economy – make that amazing economy for the T8 – and class-leading safety technology, and the S60 should have its premium German rivals getting hot under their collective collar.
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