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2020 Volvo S60

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2020
The Car Connection
2020
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Robert Duffer Robert Duffer Senior Editor
July 21, 2020

Buying tip

Despite the sportier R-Design, the T6 Inscription is more sedate and fitting for the Swedish sedan. The $8,000 upcharge for the T8 PHEV takes the S60 out of range.

features & specs

T5 FWD Inscription
T5 FWD Momentum
T5 FWD R-Design
MPG
23 city / 34 hwy
MPG
23 city / 34 hwy
MPG
23 city / 34 hwy
MSRP
$42,900
MSRP
$36,050
MSRP
$42,900

The 2020 Volvo S60 luxury sport sedan balances power and grace.

While Volvo has been busy electrifying its lineup and designing some of the most stylish crossovers on the market, the 2020 Volvo S60 luxury mid-size sedan won our hearts, and earned a TCC Rating of 7.3 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

New for 2020 and standard on all trim levels is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The 2020 S60 can be had in Momentum, Inscription, R-Design, or the Polestar Engineered plug-in hybrid trim. Prices range from about $37,000 to $66,000 with three 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine options available. The S60 can be had as a wagon known as the Volvo V60.

Scandinavian design is known for its minimalist, uncluttered style that also exudes warmth and comfort. The S60 embodies this sensibility with a larger, more muscular body tuned as much for safety as it is for sport. Redesigned for 2019, the S60 carries the Nordic design ethos to the inside, where it’s loaded with tech but muted with warm refinement such as driftwood trim and creamy nappa leather interiors.  

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Inside has plenty of comfort as well, as long as you're riding up front. The fifth middle seat in the back would be a cruel trick to play on passengers, but would be serviceable in a pinch. Volvo makes some of the comfiest seats on the market with standard power lumbar support and power front seats wrapped in synthetic leather. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility come standard with a 9.0-inch touchscreen included in 2020 models. Also standard are a power moonroof and advanced safety features, such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian, cyclist, and large animal detection, as well as active lane control. The 2020 S60 has aced crash testing. 

All three engine choices are available on all but the base Momentum trim, which comes with the 250-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 8-speed automatic transmission in front-wheel drive, which Volvo designates as T5. For $4,000 more, Momentum shoppers can get a 316-hp T6 with all-wheel drive. The 400-hp T8 all-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid is available on R-Design and Inscription trims for about $8,000 more than the T6, but is the only engine offered on the top Polestar Engineered model where it makes 415 hp and starts at $66,440, including $995 destination.  

Our time behind the wheel mostly has been with the T6, which adds a supercharger to the turbo-4 for extra boost and no lag from a stop, getting it to 60 mph in about five seconds. The 2020 S60 does double duty as a soft and safe comfy commuter and a spirited sedan with balanced handling. 

The 2020 S60 is available in dealers, and the R-Design trim can still be had on a 24-month subscription basis through Care by Volvo. 

In keeping pace with other luxury makes, Volvo has a limited service warranty and powertrain warranty for four years or 50,000 miles, as well as complimentary scheduled maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles.

8

2020 Volvo S60

Styling

Shapely styling opens the doors to a lovely understated interior on the Volvo S60.

The S60’s body is attractive, and the interior style embodies Swedish design. 

We give it an 8 out of 10 for its minimalist, modern style. 

Like the larger S90 sedan, the S60 has a long nose, short overhangs, and buff 18-inch black alloy wheels. The sport sedan looks more toned and fit than muscular, and the longer, lower dimensions than its predecessor only help the balanced proportions. 

Whereas other automakers are going all in on the biggest, boldest, butt-ugliest grilles, Volvo keeps it simple, with a sophisticated vertical bar grille or the black-mesh horizontal grille on the R-Design. The hammer-shaped daytime running lights flow down the beltline to the rear, where parenthetical taillights extend the wide and low look. 

It gets better inside. The dashboard has a balanced display of everything modern, from the 9.0-inch touchscreen flanked by vertical vents to the metal mesh band of trim that frames the more subtle stitching accents of the synthetic or genuine leather. Swap out the charcoal leather for blond and the metal mesh for driftwood and safety might be compromised by the temptation to run your fingertips over the surfaces. Not one element overwhelms or stands out, unlike so many other luxury cars, and instead harmonizes in a way that is both calming and warm.

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8

2020 Volvo S60

Performance

Three turbo-4 engines in front- or all-wheel drive provide a smooth, spirited ride in the 2020 Volvo S60.

Though it lacks the pure performance variants of the German competition, the 2020 Volvo S60 lineup has enough range to keep drivers of all but the sportiest stripes happy. 

We give it an 8 out of 10 for performance. 

The 2020 S60 can be had in one of four ways:

-T5 250-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 in front-wheel drive through an 8-speed automatic;

-T6 316-hp 2.0-liter turbo and supercharged inline-4 in all-wheel drive with the same transmission;

-T8 plug-in hybrid 400-hp 2.0-liter turbo and supercharged inline-4 in all-wheel drive with a 10.4-kwh battery and a rear-mounted electric motor; 

-A Polestar Engineered T8 plug-in hybrid tuned to make 415 hp and 494 lb-ft of torque. Both T8s get 22 miles of electric range, according to the EPA. 

The base Momentum trim comes standard with the T5, but the T6 is also available. 

The R-Design and Inscription trims can be had with T5, T6, or 400-hp T8. 

The Polestar Engineered comes standard with the 415-hp T8.  

While the T5 matches the performance of base German rivals, the AWD T6 S60 and its 295 pound-feet of torque hits 60 mph in about five seconds. The supercharger neutralizes any lag from a stop or hesitation as the turbo spools up. The 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters provides seamless gear changes. 

Volvo S60 ride and handling

The T6 S60 uses electric steering that is comfortable enough in a straight line to believe it could drive itself even without active lane control. Dynamic mode makes the steering heavier and even 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, but in our testing the S60 stayed planted and centered. 

The only reason to opt for the R-Design trim is to get the $2,000 worth of adaptive shocks and a $200 lowered suspension that turns the sporty four-door into a sport sedan. BMW’s M3 and Audi’s RS3 are more precise and overall better, but also much more expensive. The S60 is all about balance, from the body to the cabin to behind the wheel. Performance won’t blow you away, but it will more than satisfy.

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7

2020 Volvo S60

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 S60 has thrones fit for a king and queen, but the prince and princess will be cramped in back.

The 2020 Volvo S60 has some of the thinnest yet most comfortable front seats on the market. Though it seats five, the S60 is better for four, and best for two. The rear can be cramped, and the 11.6 cubic feet of cargo room in the trunk is below average. 

We give it a 7 out of 10.

Redesigned for 2019, the S60 is longer and lower than both its predecessor and the trio of German competitors. 

Highly bolstered front seats are thin enough to create more interior space, yet innovative in their support and comfort. The seats sit low with good side support that is never too tight or too loose. The upgraded leather seats on the recommended Inscription trim have 10-way power adjustable seat with four-way power adjustable lumbar support and a power thigh cushion extender. For even more comfort, opt for the $2,200 luxury package with front seat massagers and power-adjustable side support. 

The second-row seats have 35.2 inches of leg room, with ample toe room under the seats and head room overhead. A fifth passenger would be less fortunate, due to the wide driveline. 

The small trunk opens up thanks to 60/40 split-folding rear seats, but for significant cargo space, look towards the V60 wagon or XC60 mid-size crossover.  

The cabin of the 2020 S60 looks good and only improves on closer examination. Even the standard synthetic leather seats have an attention to detail in the stitching. The metal mesh trim is sharp and modern, but the driftwood trim on Inscription trim and above is where the S60 preens and shows off its luxury bona fides.

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9

2020 Volvo S60

Safety

Loaded with standard safety features, the 2020 Volvo S60 was an IIHS Top Safety Pick, as well.

The 2020 Volvo S60 tempts perfection on our safety scale.

Federal testers gave it a five-star overall score, and the IIHS called it a Top Safety Pick for 2020. Every S60 comes with live-saving emergency braking, and good outward vision pairs with dynamite advanced safety features. A lone four-star score for front crash protection keeps it from perfection.

The 2020 S60 earned “Good” scores across the board from the IIHS, including a superior rating for its standard automatic emergency braking that detects pedestrians, as well. The headlights on all three trims were rated at “Marginal,” but models built after May 2019 with the available Advanced package earned that coveted safety designation. 

Along with standard active lane control, the base 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 options, as is Pilot Assist. Volvo’s driver-assistance system allows for brief episodes of hands-free driving. 

Outward vision in the S60 is good due to thin roof pillars and large windows.

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8

2020 Volvo S60

Features

Volvo’s 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is now standard, as are many other features usually reserved for pricey options packages on other luxury vehicles.

For 2020, the Volvo S60 comes standard with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a vertically oriented 9.0-inch Sensus infotainment system. Other standard features, such as a panoramic moonroof, offers built-in value compared to other luxury automakers. 

We give it an 8 out of 10 for its standard and optional equipment, as well as the vertical touchscreen interface that keeps the cabin design clean. The 2020 Volvo S60 is available in Momentum, R-Design, Inscription, and top Polestar Engineered trim levels.  

The $37,045 S60 Momentum with the T5 powertrain in rear-wheel drive has power features, synthetic leather upholstery, cruise control, USB ports, the 9.0-inch touchscreen with navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, 18-inch wheels, a power moonroof, and LED headlights. 

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, retractable side mirrors, 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 $44,540 R-Design costs the same as the Inscription trim, but adds sportier elements, including a high-gloss black grille with vertical instead of horizontal bars on the Inscription, black mirror caps, sport seats, metal mesh cabin trim, and 5-spoke black alloy wheels instead of the 10-spoke alloy wheels on Inscription. 

Both models come with a digital gauge display, Harman Kardon audio, navigation, paddle shifters, blind-spot monitors. Options range from 19-inch wheels to split end pipes, a slightly lower suspension, automatic park assist, 1,100 watts of Bowers & Wilkins audio, and the T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain for $8,000 more.

The S60 Inscription adds driftwood trim and a stitched dash. The Inscription feels the most natural on the S60, with its natural interior tones and loaded safety and convenience features. The $49,040 S60 Inscription T6 with AWD is our recommended pick.

At the top of the line and pointing Volvo forward is the $66,440 Polestar Engineered T8 eAWD plug-in hybrid. In addition to the powertrain and suspension enhancements, it comes with 19-inch black alloy wheels, dual integrated tailpipes, self-cleaning adaptive headlights, the Bowers & Wilkins sound system, heated seats and steering wheel, adaptive cruise and the full suite of available safety features, including a surround-view camera system.  

Infotainment, subscriptions, and warranties

Volvo’s Sensus interface is displayed on a 9.0-inch touchscreen with a vertical orientation, like a tablet. It’s a simple, clean, user-friendly interface that senses infrared more so than touch. It can be slow on start up, feedback from the voice commands are inconsistent, and the climate controls in the screen would be better off on traditional knobs or buttons, especially in cold-weather states home to many Volvo vehicles.   

Volvo’s Care by Volvo subscription plan has been whittled down to the R-Design T6 for $750 a month. The 24-month program includes maintenance, insurance, and other vehicle costs, and after 12 months, eligible users can upgrade to a new model. 

The 2020 S60 has a 4-year, 50,000-mile warranty, while the T8’s hybrid system has a 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty. Volvo added “Tow for Life” to any Volvo owner inside or outside of the warranty period a free tow to a local Volvo retailer covered under the program.

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5

2020 Volvo S60

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Volvo S60 has good fuel economy and a plug-in hybrid option.

The turbocharged engines in the 2020 Volvo S60 optimize efficiency more than power. The T8 plug-in hybrid available on all but base Momentum trims points the brand forward with a 22-mile electric range. 

The luxury sedan rates at a 5 out of 10, weighted toward more popular all-wheel-drive T6 versions. 

The front-drive T5 S60 gets 23 mpg city, 34 highway, 27 combined, according to EPA estimates. The BMW 3-Series and Audi A4, and Jaguar XE outperform it in this category, but the S60 leads the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Genesis G70. 

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.

Review continues below

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$36,050
MSRP based on T5 FWD Momentum
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7.5
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 9
Features 8
Fuel Economy 5
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