2018 Volvo S60 Review

S60

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2018 Volvo S60 Overview

The Volvo S60 may look somewhat dated when compared to other compact luxury sedans, but don’t let its exterior fool you. The S60 has been around for almost a decade, but Volvo has kept it up to date with new safety features, updated powertrains, and design tweaks. For 2018, Volvo is leaving it mostly alone in terms of changes.

Scandinavia is known for its understated designs, and the S60 is a prime example. Its smooth exterior lines and short rear help the model shine in a relatively crowded class, and 2014 saw the addition of a revised front grille, reshaped headlights, and new wheel choices. Those wanting to stand out even further have some great choices in the S60 lineup. The Cross Country trim raises the ground clearance to 7.9 inches and adds black fender extensions to give the S60 a rugged, adventurous look. On other the end of the spectrum is the Polestar, which amps the car’s sporting potential with a body kit, a lowered ride height, and 20-inch wheels wrapped in summer performance tires.

The S60’s interior is very pleasing to the eye, with a modern design and plenty of high-quality materials. The controls, however, are a bit of a mixed bag. The primary ones such as the volume and temperature knobs are well-placed, while others such as the infotainment-system shortcut buttons are difficult to find due to a cluttered center stack. All S60s come with a 7-inch screen featuring Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system, which is a bit of pain to use due to the complicated menu layout and the awkward multifunction knob.

The front seats of the S60 offer excellent comfort for long trips, with standard power adjustments for the driver and good side bolstering that comes in handy on corners. Rear passengers, however, receive a limited amount of head and legroom, although Volvo does offer a longer-wheelbase Inscription trim that increases rear legroom by 3 inches. Cargo space is about average for the class at 12 cubic feet, and the rear seats fold for better overall usability.

Volvo offers two 4-cylinder engines for the S60. The base T5 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with 240 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The T6 adds a supercharger to the turbo 2.0-liter to produce 302 hp and 295 lb-ft, and if you opt for the Polestar trim, this increases to 362 hp and 347 lb-ft, respectively. All engines come paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The T5 is available with the choice of either front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), while T6 models are only offered with AWD. Reviewers are overall pleased with the S60’s powertrain options, as they provide plenty of performance with a relatively small engine displacement. The T5 is the top pick for most, as it offers excellent power delivery along with high fuel-economy numbers. The T5 returns 25 mpg city, 36 highway, and 29 combined with FWD and 22, 33, and 26 with AWD. The T6 gets figures of 22, 32, and 26—or 20, 27, and 22 if you opt for the Polestar.

The S60’s suspension is fairly balanced and the ride is compliant, with most bumps ironed out. Handling is described as agile, but the steering doesn’t quite match the level of feel offered by some key competitors. This changes, however, if you opt for the high-performance Polestar trim, which comes with adjustable dampers and improved steering. It makes for an interesting alternative to the likes of the Audi S4 and Mercedes-AMG C43.

Safety has been a Volvo hallmark for a long time, and the S60 is no exception. All models come with xenon headlights, a full set of airbags, whiplash protection that cradles the spine and neck in the event of a rear collision, and Volvo’s City Safety system, which applies the brakes to help prevent or reduce the impact of a collision. Optional safety features include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, automatic high beams, pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, and road-sign information. The S60 received a Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for the 2017 model and a 5-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA).

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Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.

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