- Potent turbo engine range
- First-class seats
- Minimalist cabin design
- Available plug-in hybrid
- Great standard safety features
- Cramped rear seat
- Small trunk
- Polestar Engineered is pricey
features & specs
The 2021 Volvo S60 puts power in balance with grace.
What kind of car is the 2021 Volvo S60? What does it compare to?
It’s a five-seat, four-door sedan that rivals some compact and mid-size luxury cars with hallowed names: Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and especially BMW 3-Series.
The S60 can also be had as a wagon known as the Volvo V60.
Is the 2021 Volvo S60 a good car?
It’s an excellent choice, and a satisfying alternative to the cars mentioned above. It’s safe beyond reproach, full of technology and luxury features, and charming to drive. We give it a TCC Rating of 7.7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
What’s new for the 2021 Volvo S60?
Blind-spot monitors and adaptive LED headlights now are standard.
The 2021 S60 embodies the minimalist style that Volvo’s perfected in its latest range of cars. The exterior is toned and athletic, with great proportions and a balanced set of details, from its LED headlights to the C-shaped taillights. The interior’s a star turn, especially in light-toned wood and leather. It’s luxurious without being ostentatious.
The S60 and the similar V60 offer a 250-horsepower turbo-4 in T5 spec, while the T6 adds supercharging for 316 hp. A plug-in hybrid pumps up the ratings to 400 hp and adds on 22 miles of electric driving range, while a Polestar Engineered edition soars to 415 hp output in all, and 0-60 mph times of less than five seconds. The S60 can sound coarse during acceleration, but that’s the only coarse thing about the way the S60 drives. Even in versions with a lowered, sport-tuned suspension, the S60’s cool demeanor dumps the attention-grabbing dynamics of overtuned rivals. It’s calm and responsive, not frantic, with ride quality to be admired and steering response that gets hefty only when the driver selects that mode.
The S60 has great interior comfort for front passengers, and upgrades for leather, heating and cooling. In back, there’s less space, a lower roofline, and not much space for a third full-size adult, even for a short trip. The trunk’s small at 11.6 cubic feet, but the V60 wagon has more than 53 cubic feet of room. All versions have excellent crash-test scores, and automatic emergency braking is standard.
How much does the 2021 Volvo S60 cost?
The $38,745 S60 Momentum is the least expensive model, and even it has a 9.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a sunroof, and navigation. We’d take the $48,995 S60 Inscription T6, with its Harman Kardon audio and paddle shifters. Care by Volvo also offers the S60 by subscription, for $650 a month.
Where is the 2021 Volvo S60 made?
In South Carolina.
2021 Volvo S60
Shapely styling opens the doors to a lovely understated interior on the Volvo S60.
Is the Volvo S60 a good-looking car?
It’s quite attractive, with an exterior that hints at muscle-car speed but an interior that embodies the best of Volvo design. We give it two points for the cabin, one for the body, for a total of 8.
The S60 takes its cues from the bigger S90 sedan. It has short overhangs, a longer nose, and buff fenders that wrap around 18-inch or larger wheels. It’s a toned, fit look that only implies muscle—it doesn’t graft it on, steroidally. Balance is what it’s all about, from the trim vertical bar grille to the hammer-shaped LED headlights.
The companion V60 and Cross Country wagons add a sloping roofline that doesn’t detract at all from the pretty shape.
The S60’s interior brims with confident design. It’s an appealing place, with a balance of modern and classic lines that cohere around a 9.0-inch touchscreen. Wrapped in ribbons of metallic mesh and swaths of synthetic or genuine leather, the S60’s cockpit can range from charcoal black to a lovely blonde driftwood. Nothing stands out too prominently; it all harmonizes in a calm, warm way.
2021 Volvo S60
Smooth but spirited, the S60’s a subtler kind of performer.
Hardcore performance isn’t its game, but the Volvo S60 knows how to ball nonetheless. It’s possessed with quick steering, an absorbent ride, and a quartet of powertrains that let drivers choose how much they want to flex. We give it an 8 for performance, with one point for ride and handling and two for its most popular powertrain.
How fast is the Volvo S60?
Base T5 S60s are quick enough, with their 250-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4; with an 8-speed automatic and front-wheel drive, Volvo promises 0-60 mph times in the six-second range. But most drivers will opt into the T6 powertrain, which has supercharging and all-wheel drive for a net 316 hp, good for 0-60 mph times well below six seconds. With 295 pound-feet of torque, its supercharger zaps any turbo lag while its transmission snips off seamless gear changes—controlled by paddle shifters, if you like.
Two alternatives give pause for extremists. There’s a T8 plug-in hybrid that connects a battery pack and motors with the T6 bits to make 400 hp and to enable up to 22 miles of electric range. There’s also a Polestar Engineered T8 with 415 hp and 494 lb-ft of torque. Both are rare and probably overshoot the S60’s more mild-mannered mission.
The V60 comes in T5 or Polestar T8 versions; the V60 Cross Country, in T5 spec.
Is the Volvo S60 4WD?
Base models are front-wheel drive, but all others come with a basic but useful all-wheel-drive system that can send up to half the power to the rear wheels.
Every S60 has a similar mechanical setup beyond the powertrain. Well-tuned electric power steering takes a strong set on center, and the drivetrain’s selectable modes include a Dynamic setting that loads up weight and helps it grip the contours of the road. The S60’s independent suspension gives it a planted and connected feel that’s amplified in R-Design models that get adaptive dampers and a slightly lower suspension. The M3 and C63 have nothing to worry about in terms of ferocity, but the S60 smothers them with balance. It’s a satisfying car to drive, one that doesn’t need the escapist-fantasy acceleration.
2021 Volvo S60
Comfort & Quality
The S60’s front seats coddle, while the back seats compress.
Volvo’s known for very accommodating interiors. The S60 is no exception, though the gulf between front and back is bigger here than in the brand’s crossovers and larger sedan. We give the S60 a 7 for comfort, with extra points for its front seats and for its fit and finish.
Thin and form-fitting, the front S60 seats have thick bolsters, a low driving position, and power adjustments—most of us can find a great driving position with no problem. We’d still recommend the leather upgrade from the standard synthetic stuff, since it comes with more adjustments including lumbar.
In the second row, Volvo’s penned in a modest 35.2 inches of leg room, and left space under the front seat for feet. Head room’s good, but we’d stick with two full-size passengers or three smaller ones.
The S60’s small trunk is a liability, given that Volvo’s crossovers are so good at space and utility. There’s just 11.6 cubic feet back there, though the split-folding rear seats can help it accept longer objects. V60 wagons have 50.9 cubic feet of space behind the front seats, 23.2 cubic feet behind the second row.
What still impresses us is the S60’s attention to detail, from the materials lavished on the most expensive models to the stitching to the color coordination. Metal trim or wood, leather or otherwise, the S60 screws it all together with confidence. We’ll take the driftwood Inscription trim for its soothing tone.
2021 Volvo S60
The S60 has earned a Top Safety Pick+ award.
How safe is the Volvo S60?
It’s looking good. No NHTSA test scores are available, but the IIHS calls the S60 a Top Safety Pick+. With its long list of safety technology, we think that’s a 9, with potential for a perfect score. All S60s have standard automatic emergency braking and active lane control. This year, Volvo’s made blind-spot monitors and adaptive headlights standard, too. Also free: Pilot Assist, the automaker’s driver-assistance system that allows drivers to remove their hands from the wheel for a few moments at a time, while the car maintains a safe following distance.
The S60 also has good outward vision, thanks to big windows and thin roof pillars.
2021 Volvo S60
Volvo jams all its latest technology in the S60.
The S60’s standard equipment list goes on, and on, and on—and it’s stocked with options, too. The infotainment system is user-friendly and so is the 4-year/50,000-mile warranty, which includes three free maintenance visits. Add it up, and the S60’s a 9 here.
The $38,745 S60 Momentum leads the charge, with standard power features, synthetic leather upholstery, a 9.0-inch touchscreen with navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, and LED headlights.
Options include the T6 drivetrain, 19-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, a head-up display, a surround-view camera system, and Harman Kardon audio.
Which Volvo S60 should I buy?
We like the $48,995 S60 Inscription T6, which comes with navigation, blind-spot monitors, Harman Kardon audio, and paddle shifters. Options include 19-inch wheels, a slightly lower suspension, 1100-watt Bowers & Wilkins audio, and automatic park assist, along with driftwood trim and a stitched dash.
How much is a fully loaded Volvo S60?
The $65,795 Polestar Engineered T8 eAWD is the S60 plug-in hybrid, which has the strongest performance along with standard 19-inch wheels, adaptive headlights, Bowers & Wilkins audio, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view camera system.
Volvo offers the S60 by subscription as well. The program includes maintenance and insurance, and costs upward of $650 a month.
2021 Volvo S60
The S60 earns good gas mileage ratings and has a plug-in hybrid option.
Is the Volvo S60 good on gas?
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 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.