Volvo S60 Review & Prices
The Volvo S60 is a safe and stylish saloon car with a plush interior and decent cabin space, but alternatives are more fun to drive and can be had with a wider range of engines
What's not so good
Find out more about the Volvo S60
The Volvo S60 might be the baby of the Swedish brand’s saloon pairing, but it looks every bit as eye-catching as the bigger S90 saloon. It certainly won’t have any trouble standing out in a company car park full of BMWs, Audis and Mercedes, that’s for sure. It looks especially classy with its uncluttered lines and dark exterior trim pieces.
The Volvo S60’s front end looks pretty athletic thanks to its gaping air intakes and Thor’s Hammer (yes, that’s really what Volvo calls them) headlights. Things don’t look quite so cohesive at the S60’s back end, but at least its hook-shaped brake lights do something a little different to the cut-and-paste designs you get on a BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.
Step inside, and you’ll find the Volvo S60’s super-cool minimalist interior is a bit more Scandi-noir thriller than Viking mythology. Everything looks bang up-to-date, from the portrait infotainment display – that looks great but can be a bit fiddly to use – to the digital driver’s display and the unpolished driftwood trims.
The Volvo S60’s seats are another highlight because they come with plenty of adjustment and lots of support to help you while away long journeys in comfort. The back seats are pretty roomy too, although three adults will feel less cramped in a BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. Volvo’s have typically been some of the most practical cars you can buy, but this S60 trails most alternatives for outright boot space.
Range-topping Volvo S60 PHEV models feel sports-car fast thanks to their 405hp hybrid drive system, but they aren’t quite as fun to drive as some lighter petrol-powered alternatives
It also can’t match the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 for engine selection. Rather than a wide range of petrol and diesel engines, you get one mild hybrid petrol and a plug-in hybrid petrol unit to choose from.
The standard 250hp Volvo S60 B5 is quite a bit faster and more powerful than the offerings you get in most entry-level alternatives, which is also reflected in pricing, where premium German saloons start from a lower point, and it comes with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. The even more powerful, and pricier, T8 Recharge model is worth considering if you fancy something faster but still do a fair bit of town driving because it comes with a plug-in hybrid system that boosts power to 455hp and lets the S60 cruise in near-silent electric-only mode for an impressive official figure of over 50 miles.
This Volvo S60 Recharge doesn’t feel quite as agile as less-powerful BMW 3 Series and Alfa Romeo Giulia models, although it does make a good long-distance cruiser thanks to the quiet cabin and host of driver-assistance systems that’ll steer, brake and accelerate for you on motorways.
As a result, the Volvo S60 is one of the safest saloons on sale and worth a look if you’re after something a little different to the usual crop of Audis, Mercedes and BMWs. See how much you can save by heading to our Volvo S60 deals page, or head to our used Volvo area for a selection of nearly new models.
The Volvo S60 has a RRP range of £38,050 to £56,585. Monthly payments start at £725. The price of a used Volvo S60 on Carwow starts at £16,250.
The Volvo S60 is priced above most of its logical alternatives, although the base B5 model is more powerful and better equipped than the entry-level BMW 3 Series, Alfa Romeo Giulia and Audi A4. Mid-spec trims from either of these alternatives brings spec and performance levels in line with the S60, though.
The Mercedes C-Class also comes in slightly under the S60, although it doesn’t have quite as generous a selection of equipment or as much power as the S60. The plug-in hybrid S60 is comparable to the BMW 330e and Mercedes C-Class C300E hybrid; both Germans are slightly cheaper but can’t match the sledgehammer thrust of the 455hp S60.
A comfortable ride and plenty of driver aids make the Volvo S60 great around town and on the motorway. It’s not particularly sporty down a twisty road, though
The Volvo S60 may look rather sporty, but it handles potholes and bumps like a softly sprung luxury car, because that’s what it really is underneath the edgy styling. 19-inch wheels are standard on all models, but even these larger diameter rims don’t detract from the good ride quality.
The great driving position and generous glass area make it easy to place the car in traffic and when parking. You also get plenty of driver aids as standard, including park assist with rearview camera, cross traffic alert and rear collision warning.
On the motorway
If you spend lots of time on the motorway, the S60 should definitely make your shortlist. It glides along with barely any wind or road noise and has plenty of power in reserve for overtaking.
The comprehensive standard safety systems will also give you peace of mind. As standard you get oncoming lane mitigation, driver alert control with lane keeping aid and automatic emergency braking. Adaptive cruise control with distance alert and queue assist is standard on the Ultimate trim.
On a twisty road
The Volvo S60 feels happiest when driven in a calm and measured manner; push it too hard around a twisty road and it loses its composure. There isn’t excessive lean in the corners, although alternatives like the Alfa Romeo Giulia and BMW 3 Series are far more engaging and fun when driven enthusiastically.
The plug-in hybrid S60 is very quick but prefers to deploy its power in a straight line, rather than through and out of tight bends.
Four adults will have no problem getting comfortable in the S60, storage space is adequate if not overly generous, although boot space is less than what you get in most alternatives
Both front seats in the Volvo S60 feel very comfortable, offering adjustment in just about every direction as well as four-way lumbar support.
You need to access the infotainment screen first to select the section you want to adjust before using the buttons on the seat itself. An unnecessary complication, really. The driver’s seat offers electric adjustment and a memory function – great for multiple drivers. Ultimate trims also get electric seat adjustment for the front passenger.
A large glovebox, two cup holders and a pair of average-sized door bins are provided for your bits and bobs. A centre armrest with a storage bin underneath is standard on the B5, but the Recharge trim only gets a shallow storage tray instead.
Space in the back seats
There is plenty of space for two adults in the rear, with generous head and legroom, even when the front seat is pushed quite far back. Both outer seats are also heated as standard.
The centre seat is narrower and slightly raised, with a transmission hump that impacts on the legroom. It is fine for children, but three adults abreast won’t be happy on longer journeys. A BMW 3 Series has a bit more back seat space overall, but the S60 is competitive for this size of car.
Two smallish door bins and a recessed storage tray in the centre seat backrest are provided for the rear passengers, and a pair of easily accessible ISOFIX mountings points are fitted to the outer two seats.
The 442 litres of boot space you get in the S60 is slightly less than the Audi A4’s 460 litres, BMW 3 Series’ 480 litres and 490 litres of a Mercedes C-Class, but it has a minimal boot lip and a wide loading area.
You get a hands-free powered boot opening feature on all trims, something that really comes in handy when you’re loaded with shopping bags. A 12-volt socket is provided, as is a boot lid scuff plate and shopping bag hooks which can be folded away when not needed. The rear seats fold down almost completely flat, and there’s a ski hatch if you need to transport a long item along with a couple of passengers.
Minimalist and elegant, the S60’s interior is a class act, but it's a shame that the infotainment system is not quite as intuitive as the latest systems from BMW or Mercedes
Step into the cabin and the first thing you notice is just how comfortable the leather seats are. All trims get standard heating, lumbar support and electric adjustment for the driver, and an optional Nappa leather/textile covering is available. We suggest the ‘Blond’ leather option combined with driftwood inlays as it gives the interior a light and airy feel. The Ultimate trim comes with a panoramic sunroof, which further enhances the cabin ambience.
Most of the materials feel solid and of a high quality, but some fabrics and plastics don’t quite match up to the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. That’s hardly a deal-breaker, though, and the unique design of the cockpit helps set the S60 apart from the predictable styling and layout you find in some alternatives.
All S60 trims come with a 9.0-inch infotainment screen which is oriented in a portrait fashion as opposed to the more common landscape layout. It’s quick to respond with clear graphics and comes standard with sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Google Assistant and Google Maps are included for four years after purchase. You also get Bluetooth connectivity and a 220-watt 10-speaker audio system on the base Pure trim. A 14-speaker Harman Kardon unit is offered on Ultimate models.
The minimalist, largely buttonless design language means that most major and minor functions need to be accessed via the touchscreen. Adjusting the climate control or changing the lumbar support settings requires a few stabs at the screen, not always easy if you are on the move. It can be frustrating at times and overall useability is not as good as the BMW’s iDrive system.
Wireless phone charging is standard, and you get USB charging points both front and rear.
The Volvo S60 is available with either a B5 250hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine or a T8 455hp 2.0-litre plug-in hybrid setup. Both have an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard, with the B5 sending its power to the front wheels, and the T8 being all-wheel-drive.
The B5 has mild hybrid self-charging technology but it doesn’t offer all-electric driving capabilities or a noticeable fuel economy improvement relative to non-hybrid alternatives from other brands. It’s not slow though, and sprints from 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds, with official figures of 41.5mpg and 154g/km of CO2. This makes it quicker than entry-level offerings like the 184hp BMW 320i and 161hp Audi A4, but both models are far cheaper and more fuel efficient.
The more comparable 245hp BMW 330i is quicker and slightly less thirsty, while the 280hp Alfa Romeo Giulia is also quicker than the B5 S60, but its 39mpg average isn’t quite as good.
The plug-in hybridS60 T8 is quick, with the 0-62mph dash is over in 4.6-seconds, quicker than both the 292hp BMW 330e and 313hp Mercedes C300e. It can do up to 55.9 miles on electric power, which goes some way to contributing to its 403.5mpg combined fuel consumption figure. The Mercedes matches it on fuel economy and manages a slightly longer 65 miles under pure electric power, and it comes in a bit cheaper. Real-world figures will be lower, though, especially in cold weather conditions.
The BMW 330e is less efficient, at 217.3mpg and 38 miles of electric range, but it is significantly cheaper than the S60. So, you pay for the privilege of speed and impressive fuel economy, but the potentially low running costs can make a big difference in the long run. Charging the T8 using a standard wall plug will take just over five hours, and a 3kW wallbox will do the job in just over three hours. The maximum charging rate is set at 3.7kW, so using a fast public charger won’t speed up your charging time.
Volvo has built up a well-earned reputation as one of the safest auto manufacturers around, and the S60 is another feather in its cap. It got a full five-star Euro NCAP rating in 2018 receiving a superb 96% adult occupant safety score and 84% for child occupant safety.
Standard safety equipment is comprehensive and includes emergency brake assist, cruise control, park assist with rearview camera, driver alert and lane keeping aid as well as keyless entry and oncoming lane mitigation. In addition, Ultimate trim models get a Pilot Assist package which includes adaptive cruise control, distance alert and queue assist.
The standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty is pretty average for the class, although this can be extended by an additional year and up to 80,000 miles at an additional cost. The hybrid components on the T8 model are covered for eight years/100,000 miles, which is the industry standard and is in line with alternative offerings.
Being a relatively low-volume seller, there aren’t many owner reviews on the Volvo S60. The brand as a whole performs well in reliability surveys, and mechanically similar models in the range have also proven themselves as reliable vehicles.
There have been a handful of recalls for the S60, including ones for software issues affecting the emergency braking system, fuel level sensor problems and air being trapped in the cooling system.
*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.