Volvo S60 Review

The Volvo S60 is an upmarket saloon car with a stylish interior and plenty of space for passengers. It’s not particularly thrilling to drive, however, and you can’t get it with any diesel engines

7/10
Wowscore

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Lots of passenger space
  • Comfortable to drive
  • Stylish looks

What's not so good

  • No diesel engines
  • Unintuitive touchscreen
  • Alternatives are sportier to drive

What do you want to read about Volvo S60?

Overall verdict

The Volvo S60 is an upmarket saloon car with a stylish interior and plenty of space for passengers. It’s not particularly thrilling to drive, however, and you can’t get it with any diesel engines

The Volvo S60 is a smart saloon car that’s comfortable to drive and comes with a plush, spacious interior. There aren’t quite as many engines to choose from as in the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 but you can get it as a rapid Polestar-tuned hybrid model.

Regardless of which S60 you pick, you get a slick interior that looks and feels well put together. Almost every surface of the dashboard, centre console and doors comes with a soft plastic or brushed aluminium finish and you get lots of lovely cold-to-the-touch metal switches and handles dotted about the place, too.

You’ll find similar trims in many German alternatives, but a large portrait infotainment display really helps the Volvo S60 interior stand out from the crowd. It looks great but isn’t quite as easy to use as the systems you get in the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. Unlike these cars, you get a slick digital driver’s display as standard in the Volvo S60.

It doesn’t just come with lots of tech, the Volvo S60’s cabin is also very practical. There’s an impressive amount of space in the front and ample space in the rear seats for two six-foot-tall adults to get comfortable. Unfortunately, carrying three in the back is made a little more cramped by a large lump in the rear floor in T8 models.

Traditionally, Volvos have had larger boots than most alternatives. Sadly, the same can’t be said of the S60. It trails the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 by a fair margin, but at least there’s still enough space to carry a few large suitcases or a baby buggy and a few soft bags. Unlike in some saloon cars, the Volvo S60’s back seats fold down flat to let you load much larger items.

Range-topping Polestar Engineered models do their best to shake Volvo’s stodgy-not-sporty image, but they still aren’t quite as fun to drive as some simpler non-hybrid alternatives

Mat Watson
carwow expert

Unlike the larger V60 estate, the S60 saloon is only available with petrol engines – ranging from an affordable T5 model to a seriously fast Polestar-tuned T8 version. The mid-range T6 makes a good choice if you spend lots of time on motorways, while one of the hybrid T8 cars is worth considering if you do lots of short journeys and have somewhere to charge the onboard batteries in between trips.

Whichever model you pick, you get an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard and plenty of advanced safety systems designed to prevent avoidable collisions. Pay extra for the upgraded Intellisafe pack and you’ll find driving the Volvo S60 very relaxing indeed. This feature will accelerate, brake and even steer the car for you on motorways – providing you keep your hands on the steering wheel, that is.

If you’d rather do the driving yourself, you’ll find the Volvo S60 feels relatively agile, if not quite as sporty as the likes of the BMW 3 Series or Alfa Romeo Giulia on a twisty country road. Even range-topping Polestar Engineered T8 models with upgraded brakes and suspension don’t feel quite as nimble as these lighter rear-wheel-drive alternatives.

Putting handling prowess aside, the Volvo S60 is a very capable car with a stylish interior and some of the best safety equipment of any car on sale. If you’re looking for a sensible, spacious saloon car, then, it’s definitely worth a closer look.

Read more about the Volvo S60 in our interior, practicality, performance and specifications review sections.

What's it like inside?

The Volvo S60’s simple, stylish cabin looks nothing like what you get in most other saloon cars, but you’ll struggle to use its portrait infotainment system on the move

Flying in the face of the S60’s neat, understated Swedish design are the luminous yellow seat belts you get in top-spec Polestar Engineered models

Mat Watson
carwow expert

How practical is it?

You won’t have any trouble carrying tall passengers in the Volvo S60’s back seats but Polestar Engineered versions lose out on some storage space, however

Unlike the capacious load bay in the V60 estate, the S60’s boot is comparatively small. Thankfully, it makes up for this with a set of very spacious back seats

Mat Watson
carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
442 litres
Boot (seats down)
-

Space in the Volvo S60’s front seats is generous and there’s plenty of seat adjustment to help you get comfortable – even if you’re very tall. Electric seat-height adjustment comes as standard across the range and the seats themselves are very well padded and hold you nicely in place when you’re driving. The steering wheel adjusts for height and reach as standard, too.

Every Volvo S60 comes with adjustable lumbar support – just the thing to prevent backache on a long drive. Unfortunately, in cars with electric lumbar support and an extendable seat base, you have to use the touchscreen to select which area of the seat you wish to adjust before tweaking the buttons on the seat itself.

Rear-seat space is very impressive in the Volvo S60. Even with the front seat adjusted for a six-foot-tall driver there’s enough space in the back for an equally tall passenger to get very comfortable. There’s ample knee- and head-room and there’s just enough space for them to push their feet forwards under the front seat and stretch out, too.

Things aren’t quite so comfortable if you need to carry three adults side-by-side. The middle seat is harder than the outer two and there’s a large lump in the rear floor that gets in the way of your middle passenger’s feet – especially in T8 and Polestar Engineered versions with their large underfloor battery packs.

That said, there’s plenty of space for three kids to get comfortable and it’s a doddle to fit a child seat thanks to the Volvo S60’s wide rear-door openings. The Isofix anchor points are easy to reach behind folding plastic covers and you won’t have to stop down a great deal to strap in a child, either.

The Volvo S60 comes with a fair number of storage bins to help you keep its cabin looking neat and tidy. The glovebox is large enough to hold a pair of 1.0-litre bottles and you get two decent-sized cupholders in the centre console under a sliding cover. Sadly, while most S60s come with a generous storage bin under the front central armrest, T8 and Polestar Engineered version have to make do with a small tray only large enough to hold a mobile phone.

The front door bins aren’t particularly generous but they’ll still carry a 1.0-litre bottle. Those in the back are tighter still, but at least your back-seat passengers get a folding rear armrest with two built-in cup holders and a recessed storage tray.

The Volvo S60’s 442-litre boot lags behind the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 by around 40 litres. Pick a model with a spare wheel and the raised boot floor reduces its capacity further to just 392 litres.

That being said, the Volvo S60’s boot is still relatively easy to load. There’s a slight boot lip that you’ll have to hoist luggage over, but the boot opening itself is wide and square so bulky items fit without any hassle.

There’s space in the boot for a pair of large suitcases or a bulky baby buggy, and you get a handy hatch in between the back seats to let you carry very long luggage (such as skis) without folding the back seats down.

If you do need to flip the seats down, they fold away in a two-way (60:40) split. Rather annoyingly, there aren’t any levers in the boot to release the back seats – instead, you’ll have to walk round to the back doors and push a button hidden up behind each rear headrest.

With both back seats folded down, there’s enough space in the Volvo S60’s boot to carry a bike. The boot floor itself is flat with only a very slight ramp up behind the back seats so it’s a doddle to push heavier items right up behind the front seats.

Pay extra for the convenience pack and you get hooks to secure shopping bags and a netted cubby on one side to help stop smaller items rolling around. You also get a 12V socket in the boot – perfect for plugging in a portable vacuum cleaner or for keeping a few boot-bound gizmos fully charged.

Read full interior review

What's it like to drive?

Top-spec T8 models are rapid

The Volvo S60 is comfortable and quiet, and top-spec T8 models are impressively quick, but you can’t get any versions with a diesel engine

Top-spec T8 models come with a huge amount of very clever technology, but they’re rather expensive and don’t have as much electric-only range of other less rapid hybrids

Mat Watson
carwow expert

You can get the Volvo S60 with four petrol engines – all 2.0-litre units fitted with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The most affordable model – the turbocharged T5 with 250hp – is the model to go for if you’re sticking to a tighter budget and do mainly to short journeys. It’s pretty nippy – accelerating from 0-62mph takes a very respectable 6.5 seconds – and Volvo claims it’ll return around 35mpg.

The 310hp supercharged and turbocharged T6 is faster – it’ll sprint from 0-62mph in 5.6 seconds – but it trails the T5’s fuel economy by around 3mpg. It’s definitely worth checking out if you live somewhere prone to particularly icy water weather, however, because it comes with four-wheel drive as standard.

Also available are two T8 hybrid models. These use the same turbocharged and supercharged petrol engine as T6 versions to drive the front wheels but adopt an electric motor under the boot floor to drive the rear wheels. Together, the engine and motor produce 400hp in the standard T8 and 415hp in range-topping Polestar Engineered versions. As a result, the Polestar model will leap from 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds while the standard T8 takes a few tenths of a second longer.

These models aren’t just designed to provide sportscar-like performance in a practical saloon package – they’re also ideally suited to pottering around town. With the batteries fully charged, both T8 models can drive for around 20 miles in near-silent electric-only mode before the petrol engine is called upon to lend a hand. Don’t go thinking they’re particularly frugal, however – even with a relatively gentle touch on the accelerator you can expect T8 cars to return around 35mpg.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox you get in all models is relatively smooth, but it doesn’t respond particularly quickly which makes the Volvo S60 feel a little lethargic when you accelerate to overtake slow-moving traffic.

The plug-in hybrid models feel more spritely thanks to the instant power delivery of their electric motors, however. They also come with an additional ‘B’ setting for the gearbox which uses the motors to slow the car when you lift off the accelerator – recharging the car’s batteries in the process.

The Volvo S60 makes a very accomplished motorway cruiser. You’ll hear barely any tyre noise at speed and almost no wind noise makes its way into the cabin, either. It’s especially stress-free to drive if you opt for the optional Intellisafe Pro pack. This adds adaptive cruise control and Volvo’s Pilot Assist systems which let the car accelerate, brake and even steer for you on motorways – providing you keep your hands on the steering wheel.

Thankfully, you don’t have to pay extra for automatic emergency braking – a system that’ll apply the brakes if the car senses an obstacle in the road ahead. In fact, the Volvo S60 is the first mid-size saloon able to detect not just cars, but pedestrians, cyclists and large animals and react accordingly. You can rest easy knowing that these high-tech safety features should help the Volvo S60 score very highly when it’s crash-tested by Euro NCAP.

Also helping you stay relaxed behind the wheel is the Volvo S60’s comfortable suspension. It isn’t quite as wafty as a Mercedes C-Class fitted with optional air suspension, but it’ll soften the jarring thud of pretty severe potholes very nicely – especially if you avoid the larger 19-inch alloy wheels on R-Design models.

The same can’t be said of the Polestar Engineered version, however. These sporty models come with upgraded suspension designed to make the Volvo S60 feel as nimble and as sporty as possible, but you’ll feel them fidget more on poorly maintained roads than the standard car. They do lean less in tight corners, however, but you don’t get a particularly good idea of what the S60’s front wheels are up to when you’re driving quickly on a twisty road. Accelerate hard through a corner and you’ll find they start to drift towards the centre of the road more so than the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Jaguar XE and Alfa Romeo Giulia.

Another mild complaint you can level at Polestar-spec cars is that their upgraded Brembo brakes aren’t particularly progressive at slow speeds which makes coming to a smooth stop at a set of traffic lights rather difficult.

Also slightly tricky is threading the S60 through tight city streets. The rather large pillars between the windscreen and the doors produce some fairly large blind spots and you don’t get a particularly good view out of the rear windscreen, either. That said, you can get it with a 360-degree surround view camera system to help make parking as easy as possible.

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Volvo S60
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