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Volvo S60 2020 review

The all-new Volvo S60 luxury sedan takes a different approach to its German rivals.
EXPERT RATING
8.3
The all-new Volvo S60 is a gorgeous sedan - but there's more to it than just good looks. This new mid-size model follows a successful path from the Swedish brand in recent years, and as a result, it could well have Audi, BMW and Mercedes covered in this part of the market.

The Volvo S60 may not be the first luxury sedan that comes to people’s minds when they’re looking to get into a new car… wait, wait - it may not have been. Now it will be.

That’s because this is the Volvo S60 2020 model, which is all new from the ground up. It’s striking to look at, svelte inside, and smartly priced and packaged.

So, what’s not to like? If I’m honest, the list is short. Read on to find out more.

Volvo S60 2020: R-Design
Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.3L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$64,990

Is there anything interesting about its design?   9/10

Svelte and Swedish it may be, but this is also one sexy looking sedan. The R-Design model is particularly attractive, as it gets a muscly body kit and bigger 19-inch wheels.

The R-Design model is particularly attractive, as it gets a muscly body kit and bigger 19-inch wheels. The R-Design model is particularly attractive, as it gets a muscly body kit and bigger 19-inch wheels.

All models have LED lighting across the range, and the ‘Thor’s Hammer’ theme Volvo has been sticking with over the past few years works a treat here, too.

All models have LED lighting across the range. All models have LED lighting across the range.

At the back there’s a really tidy backside, with a look that you could confuse for the bigger S90… apart from the badge, of course. It’s one of the best looking cars in the segment, and that largely comes down to the fact that it appears more resolved and luxurious looking than its rivals.

At the back there’s a really tidy backside. At the back there’s a really tidy backside.

It carries its size well - the new model is 4761mm long on a 2872mm wheelbase, it’s 1431mm tall and 1850mm wide. That means its 133mm longer (96mm between the wheels), 53mm lower but 15mm narrower than the last model - and it’s built on the brand’s new Scalable Product Architecture - which is the same underpinnings from the range-topping XC90 to the entry-grade XC40.

The new model is 4761mm long on a 2872mm wheelbase, it’s 1431mm tall and 1850mm wide. The new model is 4761mm long on a 2872mm wheelbase, it’s 1431mm tall and 1850mm wide.

The interior design is what you’d expect if you’ve seen any new Volvo from the past three or four years. Take a look at the interior pictures below.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

Volvo’s current design language is common from the XC40 through to the XC90, and the ’60 Series’ range also gets the same premium treatment.

The cabin is lovely to look at, and the materials used are all beautiful - from the leather on the steering wheel and seats, to the wood and metallic elements used on the dashboard and centre console. I still love the knurled finishes used on the engine starter and controls, even a few years after this look debuted.

The cabin is lovely to look at, and the materials used are all beautiful. The cabin is lovely to look at, and the materials used are all beautiful.

The media screen is familiar too - a 9.0-inch tablet-style vertical display - and it does take a little learning to figure out how the menus work (you have to swipe side-to-side for detailed side menus, and there’s a home button down the bottom, just like a real tablet). I find it perfectly usable, but I do think the fact the ventilation controls - air con, fan speed, temperature, air direction, seat heating/cooling, steering wheel heating - all being through the screen is a little annoying. I guess a small saving grace is the de-mister buttons are exactly that - buttons.

The media screen is familiar too - a 9.0-inch tablet-style vertical display. The media screen is familiar too - a 9.0-inch tablet-style vertical display.

There is a volume knob with a play/pause trigger as well, which is great. And there are controls on the steering wheel as well.

The storage in the cabin is okay, with a covered centre bin, bottle holders in all four doors, and a rear flip-down armrest with cupholders. The storage in the cabin is okay, with a covered centre bin, bottle holders in all four doors, and a rear flip-down armrest with cupholders.

The storage in the cabin is okay, with cup holders between the seats, a covered centre bin, bottle holders in all four doors, and a rear flip-down armrest with cupholders. Now if you’re reading this review you must have a thing for sedans. That’s cool, I won’t hold it against you, but the V60 wagon is clearly the more practical pick. Even so, the S60 has a 442-litre boot space, and you can fold the rear seats down for extra room if you need it. The opening is a decent size, but there is a slight intrusion at the top edge of the boot that can limit the size of things that’ll fit as you slide them in - our bulky pram, for instance.

The S60 has a 442-litre boot space. The S60 has a 442-litre boot space.

And keep in mind, if you choose the T8 hybrid, the boot size is a little compromised by battery packaging, with 390 litres.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   9/10

The S60 sedan range is attractively priced, with entry level variants undercutting some of the big name competitors. 

The starting point is the S60 T5 Momentum, which is priced at $54,990 plus on-road costs. It has 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and tail-lights, a 9.0-inch multimedia touchscreen supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as DAB+ digital radio, keyless entry, auto dimming rear vision mirror, auto dimming and auto folding wing-mirrors, dual-zone climate control and real leather trim on the seats and steering wheel. 

The next model up the range is the T5 Inscription, which lists at $60,990. It adds plenty of additional gear, with 19-inch alloy wheels, directional LED headlights, four-zone climate control, a head-up display, a 360-degree parking camera, auto-parking assist, wood interior highlights, ambient lighting, heated front seats with cushion extensions, and a 230-volt power outlet in the rear console.

Stepping up to the T5 R-Design gets you more grunt (info in the engine section below), and there are two options available - the T5 petrol ($64,990) or the T8 plug-in hybrid ($85,990).

Stepping up to the T5 R-Design gets you 19-inch alloys with a unique look, a sporty exterior and interior design pack. Stepping up to the T5 R-Design gets you 19-inch alloys with a unique look, a sporty exterior and interior design pack.

Extra equipment for R-Design variants includes ‘Polestar optimisation’ (a bespoke suspension tune from Volvo’s performance division), 19-inch alloys with a unique look, a sporty exterior and interior design pack with R-Design sports leather seats, paddle-shifters on the steering wheel, and mesh metal interior finishes.

There are some packs available, including the Lifestyle Pack (with panoramic sunroof, rear window blind and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon stereo), the Premium Pack (panoramic sunroof, rear blind and a 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins stereo), and the Luxury Pack R-Design (nappa leather trim, blonde head-lining, power adjustable side bolsters, front massage seats, heated rear seat, heated steering wheel).

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   8/10

All of the Volvo S60 models use petrol as part of their propulsion method - there is no diesel version this time around - but there are a few details when it comes to the petrol engines used in the range.

The T5 engine is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo motor. But there are two states of tune offered here. 

The Momentum and Inscription get the lower state of tune - with 187kW of power (at 5500pm) and 350Nm of torque (1800-4800rpm) - and it uses an eight-speed automatic with permanent all-wheel drive (AWD). This powertrain’s claimed 0-100km/h sprint time is 6.4 seconds.

The R-Design model takes a higher tune of T5 engine - with 192kW of power (at 5700rpm) and 400Nm of torque (1800-4800rpm). The R-Design model takes a higher tune of T5 engine - with 192kW of power (at 5700rpm) and 400Nm of torque (1800-4800rpm).

The R-Design model takes a higher tune of T5 engine - with 192kW of power (at 5700rpm) and 400Nm of torque (1800-4800rpm). Still eight-speed auto, still AWD, and a little quicker - 0-100km/h in 6.3sec. 

At the top of the range there’s the T8 plug-in hybrid drivetrain, which also uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine (246kW/430Nm) and pairs it to an electric motor with 65kW/240Nm. The combined outputs for this hybrid drivetrain equate to a phenomenal 311kW and 680Nm, and that makes its 0-100km/h time of 4.3sec all the more believable. 

And then there’s the fuel consumption…

How much fuel does it consume?  

The official combined fuel consumption of the S60 varies depending on the powertrain.

The T5 models - Momentum, Inscription and R-Design - all use a claimed 7.3 litres per 100 kilometres, which on the surface appears a little high for a vehicle in this segment.

But there’s a great evener in the T8 R-Design, which uses a claimed 2.0L/100km - now, that’s because it has an electric motor that can allow you to drive without petrol for up to 50 kilometres.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

The Volvo S60 is a really nice car to drive. 

That might seem a little lacking in terms of descriptive wording, but ‘really nice’ sums it up so well. 

The Volvo S60 is a really nice car to drive. The Volvo S60 is a really nice car to drive.

We mainly spent our time in the sporty T5 R-Design, which is impressively quick when you engage Polestar mode, but never leaves you feeling like you’re at the ragged edge. In normal driving, with Normal mode engaged, the engine response is more measured, yet still sprightly. 

You can feel the difference between the R-Design version with the T5 engine and the non R-Design models, which run a 5kW/50Nm deficit. Those models offer better than adequate grunt, and you might find you don’t really need the extra punch.

The R-Design’s engine is smooth and revs freely, and the transmission is a smart thing, too, shifting almost imperceptibly and never really setting a foot wrong in terms of gear selection. The S60’s all-wheel drive system allows easy progress and plenty of traction, while the R-Design’s 19-inch wheels with Continental tyres offer heaps of grip. 

The steering isn’t as engaging as in some other luxury mid-size models - it’s not quite as much a point-and-shoot weapon as a BMW 3 Series, for instance - but the steering wheel is easy to turn at low speeds, offers decent response at higher speeds, though it’s not overly engaging if you’re an enthusiastic driver.

And the ride is mostly quite comfortable, though sharp edges at lower speeds can upset things - that comes down to the 19-inch wheels. The T5 R-Design model we drove is fitted with Volvo’s Four-C (four corner) adaptive suspension, and in Normal mode there was slightly less stiffness over patchy sections of road, while the Polestar Mode made things a little more aggressive. The other models in the range have non-adaptive suspension. The S60 T8 R-Design we drove at launch was a little less comfortable, feeling a bit more easily upset by bumpy sections of road - it is considerably heavier, and it also misses out on the adaptive suspension.

The cornering stability from the suspension is impressive, with very little body roll through faster corners, but just be mindful that a Momentum - which has 17-inch wheels - could be a better pick if you often drive on rougher roads with varied surfaces.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   9/10

Volvo is synonymous with safety, so there’s no surprise that the S60 (and V60) scored the maximum five star Euro NCAP crash test rating when tested in 2018. They haven’t been put through the ANCAP ringer yet, but a maximum five-star score is a given.

Standard safety equipment for all S60 models includes auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear AEB, lane keeping assist with lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring with steering assist, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and a reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors (plus 360-degree surround view standard on all but Momentum grades).

Standard safety equipment for all S60 models includes a reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors. Standard safety equipment for all S60 models includes a reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors.

There are six airbags (dual front, front side, full-length curtain), plus there are dual ISOFIX child seat anchor points and three top-tether restraints, too.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

Volvo covers its models with the equivalent of the ‘standard’ level of cover in the luxury segment - three years/unlimited kilometres. It will also back its cars with the same cover for roadside assist for the duration of the new car warranty. That doesn't move the game on.

Servicing is due every 12 months or 15,000km, and customers can now purchase a three-year/45,000km inclusive service plan for about $1600 - which is considerably more affordable than the previous service plans. Volvo has made this change based on the feedback of customers and reviewers (and because the other brands in the market offered more aggressive plans), so that's a plus.

Verdict

The new-generation Volvo S60 is a really likeable car. It follows the brand’s recent form in offering impressive, luxurious and comfortable models that also happen to offer extensive equipment and strong safety levels. 

It is somewhat hamstrung by an ownership plan that can’t match its rivals on cost, but buyers could consider that they’re getting more car for their initial money, anyway.

Pricing Guides

$59,990
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$54,990
Highest Price
$64,990
EXPERT RATING
8.3
Design9
Practicality8
Price and features9
Engine & trans8
Driving8
Safety9
Ownership7
Matt Campbell
Senior Editor

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Pricing Guide

$64,990

Lowest price, based on new car retail price

This price is subject to change closer to release data
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