2019 Volvo S60

By September 10, 2019

The 2019 Volvo S60 is a fine new luxury sport sedan, with a pretty exterior, radiant interior, and sparkling road manners. It ranks with the best of luxury sedans with refined power and responsive handling.

There are three drivetrains, so there are three characters of car. A T5 turbo-4 makes 250 horsepower with front-wheel drive; a T6 supercharged turbo-4 generates 316 horsepower with all-wheel drive. The very rare T8 plug-in hybrid is rated at 400 horsepower with AWD. All are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. 

The EPA rates the front-drive T5 at 24 mpg city, 36 highway, 28 combined. With all-wheel drive and a supercharged engine, the T6 drops to 21/32/25 mpg. The T8 is rated at 22 miles of electric range with its plug-in hybrid pack on a full charge, and 31 mpg combined when it’s run in hybrid mode.

The S60 has an overall length of 187.4 inches long and a 113.1-inch wheelbase. Interior space is fine for up to four adults—and it’s a spectacular cabin in top trims, with beautiful wood and leather trim to buff up its pretty design.

In crash testing, the IIHS gives the S60 its top “Good” scores across the board, but its headlights keep it from earning a Top Safety pick. The NHTSA hasn’t published crash-test scores yet.

Every S60 has automatic emergency braking that can detect pedestrians, cyclists, and large animals. Blind-spot monitors are available, as is Volvo’s driver-assistance system called Pilot Assist. It steers and brakes the car when engaged, but requires the driver’s attention. 

Model Lineup

The 2019 S60 comes in three trims—Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription. All come in T5 or T6 powertrains. 

The $36,795 S60 T5 Momentum is the entry level, while the sporty T5 R-Design costs about $43,000. A dressy T6 Inscription costs around $44,000. 

The T6 with its supercharged engine and all-wheel-drive system adds $3,500 to $4,500, depending on the trim level. The plug-in hybrid T8 only was available briefly, and only by subscription.

The 2019 S60 can be chosen through the Care by Volvo subscription service, which includes insurance and maintenance in a single monthly fee. Just three S60 tiers are available as part of this service, starting at $750 monthly for a T6 Momentum with the optional Premium and Multimedia packages and a choice of eight exterior and two interior hues. For $850, the T6 R-Design adds its sport-oriented suspension, partial nappa leather upholstery, and 19-inch wheels. All S60s have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and some have an outstanding 1,100-watt Bowers & Wilkins sound system.

The T5 Momentum comes standard with power features, synthetic leather upholstery, cruise control, USB ports, 220-watt audio with a 9.0-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth, satellite radio, 18-inch wheels, a power sunroof, and LED headlights. Its options include the T6 drivetrain; heated front seats; wood trim; a package with a handsfree trunk, blind-spot monitors, and front and rear parking sensors; a bundle with adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, and a surround-view camera system; and one with Harman Kardon audio and navigation. Stand-alone options include adaptive dampers and Polestar-tuned drive modes.

The $43,540 R-Design adds leather upholstery, sport seats, a digital gauge display, Harman Kardon audio, navigation, paddle shifters, gloss-black exterior trim, and blind-spot monitors. Its options range from 19-inch wheels to split end pipes, the bundles offered in the Momentum series, a slightly lower suspension, automatic park assist, and 1,100 watts of Bowers & Wilkins audio.

The $43,895 S60 Inscription adds a panoramic roof, driftwood trim, and a stitched dash. Its options include 19-inch wheels, cooled front seats, massage and side bolster adjustment for the front seats, the adaptive-cruise safety bundle, heated rear seats, adaptive dampers, Bowers & Wilkins sound, automatic park assist, and Polestar drive modes. 

All Volvo S60s come with a 3-year, 36,000-mile warranty, and the first three maintenance visits are free. 

Exterior

The S60 has more verve than the flagship S90 sedan. Shorter and more sinuous, it wears its proportions better.  It’s not stretched at the rear doors, and its stance is more intact, with deep sculpting at the waistline. The tail rises to a pleasant blunt trunk and C-shaped taillamps cap what’s a very modern look. 

Interior

The driver’s cockpit is the stuff of design magazines. Volvo designers make controls recede into the background. The digital gauges and tablet touchscreen don’t overwhelm with technology. The controls feels simple, cool, calm. 

The whole cabin ranks with those of cars costing thousands more. The Inscription’s driftwood trim and soft perforated leather are breathtaking. The few shades offered for cabin trim are all warm and vibrant. 

Volvo dubs its touchscreen user-friendly interface Sensus, with its big clear screen that senses the heat of a finger’s touch, to quicken response time. But it takes too many magic touches to get down to some climate and seat adjustments.

The driver has a commanding position, as the S60 is blessed with good outward vision, thanks to large windows and relatively thin roof pillars.

The fine Momentum sound system has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a wi-fi hotspot, and Bluetooth connectivity. The R-Design gets a Harmon Kardon audio setp, and the Inscription gets the extraordinary clean sound of the 1,100-watt Bowers & Wilkins system. 

The Momentum front seats are shaped like a seashell, while the R-Design front seats are highly bolstered and more adjustable to cinch at the driver’s waist and tilt at the knee; the Inscription seats spoon up against their passengers with heat, cool air, and massage. 

There’s a decent 35.2 inches of legroom in the rear, with good headroom, so two adults are comfortable. But not three, as the middle seat is compromised by the wide driveline to the rear wheels.  The trunk has a mere 11.6 cubic feet of space, barely bigger than a Mercedes SLC roadster. It’s a good thing the rear seat folds to take more cargo.

Driving Impressions

The base Momentum T5 drivetrain is a 250-horsepower turbo-4 with an 8-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Volvo says it’ll do zero to 60 mph in about six seconds. 

We got our seat time in an R-Design T6 with its 316-horsepower AWD version of the same engine with a supercharger added. It is very responsive, with 295 pound-feet of torque, chopping nearly a second off the zero-to-60-mph time. There are no lumps or lags in the power delivery, no thrashing or whining when pressed hard. The sweet 8-speed automatic shifts smooth and quick with paddles on the steering wheel. 

With adaptive dampers and big 19-inch wheels, its road manners are impeccable, having an even-keeled ride and dialed-in steering. In the Dynamic drive mode, there is more weight to make the track more true. 

Most all-wheel-drive systems leave a vague spot on center, but not the S60’s. It’s front-wheel-drive based, but sends half the power to the rear when needed for traction. Our T6 had good grip. 

Our R-Design had $200 in lowered suspension and $2,000 in adaptive shocks, making it more sport sedan than luxury.

Final Word

Volvo’s new mid-size sedan has charming looks and sweetly refined performance. The 2019 S60 delivers usable power and torque from its turbo-4 engine and adds in the security of all-wheel drive. For shoppers who’d rather have the formal roofline of a sedan instead of the more common SUV profile, the 2019 S60 represents a good value.