2019 Volvo S60
Recently, Volvo Cars opened up their first assembly plant in the U.S.A. near Charleston, South Carolina. The first vehicle to be produced in this plant is Volvo’s answer to the premium compact sports sedan segment – the new S60.
The S60 has been a part of Volvo’s lineup for quite some time, stretching its lineage to the first front-drive model sold in the U.SA., the 850. Today’s S60 is one of the final products to be built on a flexible platform Volvo developed for all of its models, save for the subcompact XC40.
While customers have plenty of choices in the premium compact sports sedan segment, what does the Volvo S60 offer that the others don’t? We drove one to find out.
For starters, the signature Volvo look has been crafted onto a 113.1-inch wheelbase. The shape is familiar for S90 lovers, but the roofline is tauter without the third glass on each side. Like the V60, the front end looks blunt, but the “Thor Hammer” headlamps make the S60 pop out more. The rear end is also inspired by the S90 with its “C” shaped taillights and low-opening trunk. The license plate is mounted onto the trunk lid giving the handsome S60 a nice finish all around.
Our R Design tester came with five-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels and blacked out exclusive grille texture. Some say that the R Design is the best looking model of the S60 lineup.
The cabin also sports a signature Volvo look. Our R Design tester wore a combination of black leather and sport cloth on a set of contoured seats. For most bodies, these seats are supportive and comfortable. Taller drivers may want to find a good position behind the wheel. Rear seat space depends on bodies, as well. Realistically, our tester can do four average-sized adults just fine. Trunk space is
Volvo created a driver’s atmosphere that is engaging and informative. The TFT instrumentation offers two dials, along with plenty of information on trip and fuel economy. Plus, it has a navigation pane in-between the dials. The center stack is dominated by Volvo’s Sensus infotainment and information system. It houses many of the functions for the vehicle on one screen, including a tire pressure monitor and head-up display adjustments. Controls are sparse, but well placed for key functions not covered by the large center touchscreen.
There is a choice of three engines for the S60. The T5 model has a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with 250 horsepower on tap. Our T6 tester adds a supercharger to the mix, for an output of 316 horsepower. On top of a turbocharger and supercharger, the top of the range T8 engine adds electrification through a plug-in hybrid system, good for 400 horsepower.
Our T6 engine was indeed the S60’s sweet spot. Both the supercharger and turbocharger help provide quick response from the throttle, while providing smooth performance at cruising speed. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels on our R Design tester. This driveline returned a fuel consumption average of 26.3 MPG in our care.
On the R Design, the ride is on the firm side. It has to be in order to create the driving dynamics package you expect a car in its class to exhibit. It takes corner completely flat – even flatter, if you switch the S60 into Dynamic driving mode. There, you get higher gearchanges and heavier steering feel.
Which brings us to the steering system, which offered a tight turning radius and solid on-center feel. We wished it would respond much quicker to maneuvers in the Comfort driving mode. On the other hand, the braking system is very responsive. The pedal feel and quick stops help the S60 achieve a high degree of active safety.
Base price for a S60 sedan is $35,800. Our T6 R Design model with all-wheel-drive came with a sticker price of… The S60 comes in four trim levels, including the performance-focused Polestar Engineering model. This top trim is available only with the T8 plug-in hybrid engine.
The premium sports sedan segment is still a highly competitive segment full of desirable models. The Volvo S60 faces competition from the likes of the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus IS, Infiniti Q50, Genesis G70, Jaguar XE, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Lincoln MKZ, and the upcoming Cadillac CT4 and CT5.
Volvo’s South Carolina-built premium sports compact sedan is ready for battle against some of its most formidable competitors. But, is it ready for you? If you love a great driving experience, excellent performance, and everything that is good about a Volvo these days – the new S60 should be on your shopping list.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors