2020 Volvo S60
2020 Volvo S60
The 2020 Volvo S60 mid-size sedan is all about balance, from the body to the cabin to the driving dynamics. It has a clean and stylish interior with first-class seats and an available plug-in hybrid. It also has excellent standard features and unsurpassed safety.
The S60 can be a soft, safe and comfy commuter, or an awesome muscle car with balanced handling.
New for 2020 is a standard 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, along with a tablet-like 9.0-inch Sensus infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
There’s either one or four engines, depending on how you look at it. A 2.0-liter turbo-4 is built-up four different ways, with four power outputs. The base Momentum model, or T5, comes with a 250-horsepower version of the 2.0-liter turbo-4 and 8-speed automatic transmission with front-wheel drive. For another few thousand dollars, the Momentum can become a T6, with 316 hp and all-wheel drive. That engine stacks a supercharger on top of the turbocharger.
The Inscription and R-Design models can be had with the T5, T6, or the plug-in hybrid T8, which makes 400 horsepower with all-wheel drive. It’s basically the same turbocharged and supercharged inline-4 engine as the T6, with a 10.4-kwh battery and a rear-mounted electric motor.
The T8 also comes on the Polestar Engineered model, where it makes 415 hp and a staggering 494 lb-ft of torque, thanks to more turbo boost.
The front-drive T5 S60 gets 23 mpg city, 34 highway, 27 combined, according to EPA estimates. The all-wheel-drive T6 S60 drops to 21/32/25 mpg.
The T8 S60 plug-in hybrid has 22 miles of electric range and averages 30 mpg on its engine alone, or the equivalent of 69 mpg when run in hybrid mode.
The Insurance-industry IIHS awarded the 2020 S60 a Top Safety Pick+ on models equipped with the Advanced package. It earned the top “Good” scores in every test, including a Superior rating for its standard automatic emergency braking that detects pedestrians. The standard headlights on all three models were rated at Marginal, but the headlights on the Advanced package were superior.
The 2020 S60 comes with automatic emergency braking that detects pedestrians, cyclists, and large animals, making it one of the more comprehensive systems on the road. Blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control are optional—and so is Pilot Assist, Volvo’s driver-assistance system.
The 2020 Volvo S60 is available as Momentum, Inscription, R-Design and the Polestar Engineered plug-in hybrid.
The $37,045 S60 Momentum with the T5 powertrain in front-wheel drive has power features, synthetic leather upholstery, the 9.0-inch touchscreen with navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a power moonroof, LED headlights, navigation, automatic emergency braking and active lane control.
Options include the more potent T6 AWD drivetrain for about $4,500 more, which comes with heated front seats; 19-inch wheels; heated rear seats and steering wheel; wood trim; a package with a hands-free 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.
The S60 Inscription adds driftwood trim and a stitched dash. The price for the T6 version with AWD is $49,040.
The $44,540 R-Design (available on a 24-month subscription basis through Care by Volvo) adds sportier elements, including a high-gloss black grille with vertical instead of horizontal bars, black mirror caps, sport seats, metal mesh cabin trim, and five-spoke black alloy wheels instead of the 10-spoke alloy wheels on Inscription.
The T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain is $8,000 more.
Options include 19-inch wheels, split end pipes, a slightly lower suspension, automatic park assist, and a 1100-watt Bowers & Wilkins sound system.
The $66,440 Polestar Engineered T8 AWD plug-in hybrid adds suspension enhancements, 19-inch black alloy wheels, dual integrated tailpipes, a Bowers & Wilkins sound system, heated seats and steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, and the full suite of available safety features, including a surround-view camera system.
Volvo’s warranty covers the S60 for 4 years or 50,000 miles, and includes complimentary scheduled maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles.The T8’s hybrid system has a 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
Volvo’s Care by Volvo subscription plan for the R-Design T6 costs $750 per month. The 24-month program includes maintenance, insurance, and other vehicle costs, and after 12 months, eligible users can upgrade to a new model.
Like the larger S90 sedan, the S60 has a long nose, short overhangs, and buff 18-inch black alloy wheels. It’s longer and lower than its German rivals. It’s toned and fit, not muscular. The grille is sophisticated, not gigantic like too many others. Depending on the model, the grille has horizontal bars, vertical bars,or black mesh.
Hammer-shaped daytime running lights flow down to the beltline, which travels to the rear, where parenthetical taillights extend the wide and low look. The S60’s big glass and thin roof pillars not only look good from the outside, they make outward vision good.
It gets better in the cabin, where it’s modern, minimalist, Swedish. The harmony is warm and calming.
The instrument panel vertically balances a tidy touchscreen between vertical vents. A metal mesh band of trim frames the subtle stitching accents of the synthetic or nappa leather in organic hues such as charcoal. Or you can choose driftwood instead of metal trim, and blonde instead of earthtone leather. It’s almost like interior decorating.
Volvo’s Sensus interface is displayed on the 9.0-inch tablet-like touchscreen. It’s simple, clean, and easy to use, sensing infrared more than touch. However, it can be slow on start up, response to voice commands is imperfect, and the climate controls on the screen should be gone, or at least made redundant with traditional knobs or switches.
The synthetic leather front seats are thin but still as comfortable as any seats on the market, with excellent bolstering and standard power lumbar support. Optionally, there’s 10-way power and power thigh cushion extension. It can be taken to yet another level, with a $2,200 luxury package with front seat massagers and power side support.
The rear seat is okay for two people but a third person in the middle will have to deal with a wide driveline hump. There’s a modest 35.2 inches of legroom, but good headroom. The rear seats fold 60\40 and open up to the trunk, which is a good thing because the trunk is quite small, at 11.6 cubic feet. Might as well just get the V60 wagon and solve the problem.
With four powerplants, including a turbocharger, supercharger, electric motor and battery pack, not to mention front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, the S60 has a range of personalities.
Most of our seat time has been with the turbocharged/supercharged T6 that makes 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The supercharger erases all turbo lag, and helps it blast from 0 to 60 mph in about five seconds. The 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters provides seamless gear changes.
The T6 uses electric steering that gives the car confidence, so much in fact that it feels like it could drive in a straight line on its own. Dynamic mode makes the steering heavier and truer to the contours of the road.
The all-wheel-drive system can shift half its power to the rear wheels in case of slippage; in our testing the S60 T6 stayed planted and centered.
The R-Design offers adaptive shocks and a lowered suspension that turns the S60 into more of a sport sedan.
The 2020 Volvo S60 balances power and grace, especially in the cabin. It’s simply a question of how much you want—and how much you want to spend. Our pick? The 316-hp S60 T6, with its ample power and its luxurious interior.
—by Sam Moses, with driving impressions by The Car Connection