2019 Volvo S60 Review
  • Car Review

2019 Volvo S60 Review

By Autolist Editorial | November 2, 2019

Pros:

  • Wide range of engine options, trim and features
  • Distinctive interior and exterior styling
  • Numerous standard safety features

Cons:

  • Infotainment screen criticized for smoothness
  • Only average cargo and passenger room
  • Simple interior functions are operated through overcomplicated menus

Summary

The 2019 Volvo S60 is a compact luxury sedan that has been completely redesigned this year, now in its third iteration.

The Volvo competes with vehicles such as the Audi A4, Alfa Romeo Guilia, Genesis G70, Mercedes Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series, Infiniti Q50, Jaguar XE, Tesla Model 3, and Lexus IS.

Borrowing features from other recent Volvo designs, the 2019 S60 has completely revised technology and safety features, some of which are options on competing vehicles. Apple CarPlay and Android now come standard along with automatic emergency braking. Other significant options include a plug-in hybrid system and Volvo's Pilot Assist system, an advanced driver assistance feature.

A wide variety of options help the new S60 cater to a wide range of people. Similar in design and features to the larger S90, the S60 still offers all-wheel-drive and three different engine options. A wagon version called the Volvo V60 and covered separately.

Exterior

TLDR: The S60 is widely regarded as one of the best looking vehicles on the market, similar to other Volvo models.

The S60 is easily identified as part of the Volvo family. It closely resembles its larger S90 sibling but in a more compact package. Many reviewers consider it as one of the most handsome vehicles in its class.

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The front features Volvo's indented grille design with its logo prominently displayed through the middle. Its headlights are one of the vehicle's more striking features with a signature LED running light bisecting each. No features are disproportionately large, and dimensions are reasonable.

The rear of the vehicle features wrap-around taillights that follow the edge of the trunk then protrude toward the middle. They are sharp and form a stylish "C" on either side of the vehicle. Dual exhaust outlets add a sleek and sporty touch.
The side profile displays a perfect example of a small sedan. A long hood flows into a roofline that does not taper too quickly in the rear like many modern sedans. A lack of overly fussy character lines makes the S60 look elegant, and the back of the vehicle comes to a point where the trunk ends, making it look athletic.

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Interior Quality and Comfort

TLDR: Quality and comfort are both excellent with a simple and elegant interior, quiet ride, and use of quality materials.

Interior quality and comfort are both good for the class. Reviewers note the interior to be clean, simple, and uncluttered. Quality materials can be found throughout though most testers agree that comparable Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz models fall into a slightly higher overall quality level than the S60.

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The seats and the comfort they impart to passengers is a highlight noted by nearly all testers. Leatherette upholstery comes standard on the base trim, while leather is offered on the other two. The seats are supportive, and four average-sized adults can fit comfortably in the vehicle.

Some taller testers find the back seats cramped, especially when it comes to headroom. The middle seat should mainly be reserved for smaller passengers. Rear legroom is acceptable for the class, but others in the segment offer more, according to reviewers.

Road noise is noted by reviewers to be average, and engine noise is indicated to be surprisingly present at times during acceleration.

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Despite the refined, classy, and clean interior, most reviewers note that cabin ergonomics suffer because of the touchscreen display. Many interior features like climate controls must be adjusted via the touchscreen, and many reviewers find the controls to be slow to respond and frustrating to use.

Utility & Practicality

TLDR: Cargo and passenger capacity are only average for the class with taller reviewers being slightly cramped in the rear seats.

The S60 is wider than many of its competitors, which allows the trunk to be easily accessible even though it's ultimately short. Cargo capacity is only average for the class at 11.6 cubic feet. Folding rear seats increase storage space when needed, while small-item storage space in the cabin is adequate.

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All-wheel-drive adds poor weather capability, but the standard front-wheel-drive setup offers better traction than most rear-wheel-drive rivals.

Reviewers have no trouble getting into the vehicle, though some taller reviewers have to duck slightly to clear the roof. Some reviewers note that the rear wheel arch can hinder rear seat entry in tighter parking spots.

Visibility is a noted high point for most reviewers. Nearly all are pleased with the amount of adjustability the driver's seat has to offer, and the seating position is good. The lack of a high beltline, the availability of parking aids, and a small C-pillar all help.

LATCH child seat anchors are easy to find and use, according to reviewers.

Technology & Infotainment

TLDR: Technology features make a good showing while the infotainment system is not loved my most reviewers.

The number of standard technology and infotainment features is another S60 strong point, but many reviewers find some systems to be generally lacking compared to the competition.

The Sensus infotainment system comes on all S60s and is a vertically-oriented 9-inch touchscreen. Many note the system is difficult to use and frustrating at times, given that nearly all the infotainment and vehicle settings must be controlled through it.

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Other standard infotainment features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and a ten-speaker audio system. Options include a 13-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, a 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins audio system, navigation, and a 12.3-inch configurable TFT instrument panel.

Standard technology features include a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver's seat with memory functions, power-folding rear headrests, and automatic windshield wipers.

Options include a hands-free power trunk lid, head-up display, top-down 360-degree parking camera, four-zone climate control, ventilated front seats with massage, and Volvo's Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving system.

Safety & Driving Assistance

TLDR: Safety and driving assistance features remain a top priority at Volvo. The S60 excels in both areas.

The S60 comes standard with a host of safety and driver assistance features, continuing Volvo's tradition of producing some of the safest vehicles on the road.
Standard safety features include lane keep assist, road sign recognition, a rearview camera, driver drowsiness warning system, run-off road mitigation system, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and forward collision warning.

Optional features include blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive headlights, and automatic high-beam headlights.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration both award the S60 top marks in crash tests. The IIHS also awards the highest Superior rating for its host of driver assistance features.

Driving Experience

TLDR: The S60 has pleasant all-around driving dynamics and an extensive choice of engines.

The S60 is a well-mannered vehicle to drive, according to testers. Many note that its ride is slightly more cushy that many other competitors which hinder its ultimate performance potential. Most still agree that the car is competent and that athleticism is not a top priority for the class.

The Volvo S60 is available with three powertrain options, all paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

T5 models come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 250 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. The T5 is only available with a front-wheel-drive.

The T6 comes with an upgraded 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine that produces 316 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. All-wheel-drive comes standard with this engine.

T8 models designate the plug-in hybrid powertrain. This setup comes with the T6's gasoline engine and pairs to a 10.4-kilowatt electric motor. Total engine output is 400 horsepower and 472 lb.-ft. of torque.

Most reviewers agree that the drivetrain of the S60 is one of the best engine and transmission combinations in the class. Transmission shifting is noted to be seamless and responsive, while reviewers say each engine option provides satisfying power and acceleration – especially on T8-equipped models.

A sport suspension is available on the sporty R-Design trim, but reviewers note the standard setups to be smooth. Comfort is more of a priority than performance, but many are pleasantly surprised with the S60's cornering ability and good steering feel.

Acceleration is very good, with the all-wheel-drive T8 pushing the S60 to 60 miles per hour in under 5 seconds and the base T5 at just over 6. Braking is also good with a stopping distance of 105 feet from 60 mph under optimal conditions. Reviewers note that brake feel is confidence-inspiring and even throughout the pedal travel.

Overall, reviewers note that the combination of performance, handling, and comfort is unrivaled in the class. The S60 is not the fastest nor the most athletic small sedan in the class, but it does provide enough of everything to make most people happy.

Fuel efficiency

TLDR: Fuel efficiency is well above average, and a hybrid powertrain option adds additional market opportunities.

The S60's fuel efficiency is at the top of the class when opting for the base T5 engine. This front-wheel-drive variant returns EPA estimates of 24 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. A combined rating of 28 is one of the best in the class.

Moving to the all-wheel-drive T6 drops fuel economy numbers to 21 city and 32 highway, and a combined score of 25 mpg. Still, that is better than average when compared to rivals with six-cylinder engines of similar power.

The S60 T8 offers a 31 mpg combined rating with an all-electric range of around 20 miles. It also qualifies for some federal tax credit incentives for plug-in vehicles.

Trim Levels & Pricing

TLDR: The base S60 offers a generous amount of standard features, while all versions offer extensive trim and feature choices.

All Volvo S60 models come standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The base model T5 S60 is only available in front-wheel-drive while both the T6 and T8 models come standard with all-wheel-drive. All models come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces varying power outputs depending on the choice of powertrain, but the T8 isn't available on the base Momentum model.

The Volvo S60 is available in three trim levels:

Volvo S60 Momentum:

The S60 Momentum starts at $38,500, including the $995 destination charge. Momentum trim is available with both the T5 and T6 engines, with the T6 adding roughly $5,000 to the base price.

Standard features include 18-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver seat with memory functions, leatherette upholstery and power-folding rear headrests. Also included is the Sensus infotainment system with a 9-inch vertical touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker sound system with satellite radio.

Safety features include rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatic headlights, lane keep assist, a rearview camera, driver drowsiness warning system, run-off road mitigation system, as well as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and forward collision warning.

Several optional packages are available for the Momentum trim.

The Premium Package adds a power hands-free trunk lid and a proximity key. It also includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert with automatic braking and front and rear parking sensors.

The Advanced Package adds adaptive cornering headlights, Pilot Assist, adaptive cruise control, a top-down 360-degree camera, LED foglights, and a heads-up display.

The Multimedia Package adds an upgraded 12.3-inch instrument display, built-in navigation, and a 13-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel are also available for T5 models, while heated rear seats are included in T6 Momentum models.

Volvo S60 R-Design:

The S60 T5 R-Design starts at $42,895. The T5 engine option comes. The T6 R-Design adds $4,500 to the price while the T8 R-Design adds $12,500 to the base model's sticker.

Standard features on the R-Design include everything from both the Multimedia and Premium packages available on the Momentum trim as well as special interior and exterior accents, LED foglights, sport steering wheel, leather seats with textile inserts, and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

The Advanced Package and heated seat options from the Momentum are available for the R-Design. Other extras include Volvo's Sport Chassis, a 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins premium audio system, and an automated parking system.

Volvo S60 Inscription:

The S60 Inscription starts at $43,895 with the destination fee included. T6 and T8 engine options are all available, adding the same premium as they do on the R-Design. An S60 T8 Inscription starts at $56,395 before options.

Standard equipment on the Inscription includes everything from the base Momentum trim and the Multimedia and Premium packages. Also included is four-zone automatic climate control, full leather upholstery, 10-way power-adjustable front seats with memory settings, wood interior trim, and LED foglights.

Heated seating remains an optional extra on the Inscription. The Luxury Seating Package includes Nappa leather upholstery, massaging front seats, and ventilated front seats. Other extras include adaptive suspension and the 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins premium audio system.

Value

TLDR: The S60 presents a much better than average value to would-be customers with its combination of standard features, safety, styling, and reasonable pricing.

The Volvo S60 presents its would-be buyers with a much better than average value. U.S. News and World Report voted the S60 as a finalist for their Best Compact Luxury Car for the Money in 2019.

At its starting base price of less than $40,000, an S60 T5 Momentum is affordable compared to other vehicles in its class, while offering more luxury than top-level sedans from brands like Honda or Kia. The S60 also offers a wide variety of standard features, standard safety equipment, and highly-regarded powertrain at each of its price points. Package options on all three main trims allow flexible customer customization for each one's personal needs.

Attractive styling is another strong selling point of the S60. The exterior and interior are both appealing, simple, and handsome. A comfortable ride and excellent fuel economy back up the S60's looks. Cargo space, average legroom and headroom, and predicted reliability are on par with other competitors with none being stellar.

The S60 only falls short when it comes to its interior ergonomics, a finicky infotainment system and sporty handling.

The S60 is a great all-around compact luxury sedan that does most things well and very few things poorly.

More Photos

See more 2019 Volvo S60 Photos.