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- Superlative safety
- Good, optional bigger engine
- Simple cabin
- Great front seats
- A little too plain
- A big gap between base models and higher trims
- Noisy base engine
The 2017 Volvo S60 is a solid alternative to those tired of the German sedan game. It's not as flashy, but it is more sensibly priced.
The 2017 Volvo S60 sedan isn't completely new from the automaker, but it's still relatively significant. It's the first year the Swedish automaker has offered all 4-cylinder engines in all of its cars and SUVs, and it's the first year that a base S60 model can be fitted with all-wheel drive.
The S60 comes in sporty Dynamic and R-Design trims, long-wheelbase Inscription models, and lifted S60 Cross Country sedans that are sold in extremely low volumes.
The S60 sedan heralded a new look for Volvo several years ago, but now it's one of the oldest designs on the lots. We'll have to wait a couple more years for the S60 to catch up with the looks of the upcoming S90, but for now, the compact sedan earns a respectable 7.0 out of 10 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Styling and performance
The S60's organic lines and sweeping curves have paired well with its wedge-like profile, even if the car is nearly a decade old at this point. We like the clean, clutter-free design outside, but that same approach inside is looking plain compared to other luxury sedan competitors.
Long-wheelbase models, which Volvo calls Inscription, add 3 inches of leg room for rear passengers without compromising the look. Taller S60 Cross Country models add 2.5 inches of ground clearance, although it's a little stilted in our yest.
Inside, the Volvo's interior beyond its all-digital instrument cluster is starting to age and look relatively plain. The black dash is textured, but it's a span that could use a little visual separation.
Under the hood is a base turbo-4 that makes 240 horsepower and is paired with an 8-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is a $2,000 upgrade here (and mileage takes a hit too) for the first time in 2017. It's not the most refined mill we've come across, but it adequately powers the S60 down the road and up to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds. We'll stop short of outright blaming the 8-speed for hamstringing the little 2.0-liter engine, but we can say the transmission could use a little more work.
An optional turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter inline-4 is available in T6 models and in R-Design versions of the S60 that makes 302 hp and helps perk the car up a little more. It's also paired with the same 8-speed and all-wheel drive is standard on those versions, but the additional 250 pounds of running gear keeps the car from being a performance pick.
Comfort, safety, and features
Volvo's front seats are some of the best in the business, according to our backsides. We've logged hundreds of miles in the S60 behind the wheel and felt ready to run a marathon after.
If you're not fortunate enough to drive or ride shotgun, the S60's back seats are spacious (even luxurious in Inscription versions) for two more adults. Credit Volvo's packaging—which in traditional Swedish fashion—that's highly efficient.
The S60 defies its age in how well it crashes, earning some of the top safety scores in the automotive world. It aced federal tests, and earned the IIHS' Top Safety Pick+ award, and sports some of the most advanced safety features on any car.
So why didn't it ace our safety test? A simple rearview camera isn't standard on the S60 (it is on the XC60) and is buried in a pricey options package that left us shaking our fists.
Beyond the optional safety camera, the S60 is well equipped for roughly $35,000 to start with leather seats, a 7.0-inch infotainment screen, Bluetooth streaming, and a moonroof. Comparable Germans can cost up to $10,000 more.
Other options include more advanced safety features such as forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and bigger wheels.