Volvo S60 (2013-2018) Review
The Volvo S60 is a good-value, safe and reasonably practical executive saloon, but it’s not quite as good an all-rounder as alternatives from BMW and Mercedes
What's not so good
Volvo S60 (2013-2018): what would you like to read next?
The Volvo S60 is an executive saloon from the Swedish company that is an alternative to established models, such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class.
Its sleek styling makes it stand out from the German cars that dominate this area of the market, but the cabin looks and feels worthy of comparison with any of them. Arguably, it can’t quite match the high level of quality you’ll find in the Audi, but it’s not far off and it’s all very well built. The controls are largely intuitive and easy to use, too, and the only fly in the ointment is the rather clunky sat-nav system.
The S60 is a practical car, too, and there are a few useful cubbyholes littered around the cabin. All the seats are typically comfy and supportive, with plenty of room in the front. Most passengers should feel quite comfortable in the rear, too, even if this isn’t the very biggest car of its type.
However, what’s very surprising is that this Volvo’s boot isn’t the largest in the class. More than that, it’s actually a fair bit smaller than you’ll find in the other models you might consider.
It’s a similar story on the road. Although Volvo claims – with some justification – that the S60 is the sharpest-driving car the Swedish firm has ever made, this saloon can’t quite match the very best of the alternatives on the road.
Ever so often, something comes along to remind me that I haven’t seen it all. Take the S60, for example - a Volvo that has one of the smallest boots in the class…
That said, there’s plenty that it does well. It has plenty of grip on twisty roads, for example; it’s quiet and comfortable on the motorway; and, when you’re pootling around town, the steering is light and visibility good.
However, it’s not a sports saloon in the way that the BMW 3 Series is. Even the position of the manual gear-shift is best suited to laid-back cruising and the steering is a little too light to make the S60 truly engaging to drive.
Overall, the S60 is at its best as a long-distance motorway cruiser. And, with that in mind, the best engine to choose is the D4 diesel. It produces 190hp, giving the car an impressive turn of speed, but also very good fuel economy. The D2 and D3 diesels are cheaper to buy, but despite promising similarly good fuel economy, their relative lack of performance is only too obvious and makes the D4 worth the extra it costs.
There’s certainly no lack of performance with the T4 petrol engine, which powers the fastest version of the S60. However, in everyday use, the D4 feels every bit as quick without needing to be worked so hard and is far more economical.
As you would expect of a Volvo, the S60 has an impressive list of standard safety equipment – although it hasn’t been crash-tested by Euro NCAP, so we have no independent assessment of its safety. As well as the usual array of airbags and electronic stability systems, every S60 is also fitted with City Safety, an impressive system that recognises when a car in front is decelerating quickly and automatically applies the brakes for the driver if they make no attempt to stop.
Adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warnings and a blind-spot warning system make up a comprehensive list of optional kit, with the Driver Support Pack providing a potentially life-saving piece of tech that scans for pedestrians that are at risk of being struck and brakes the car from around 20mph if there is no driver input.
All models also come with cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and climate control, but despite all this, the S60 is fairly cheap for the type of car it is and shouldn’t cost too much to run.
Overall, it’s not quite as good a package as the classy Audi A4 or sporty BMW 3 Series, but it is a reasonably practical and quiet saloon that is certainly worth short-listing if you’re looking for an alternative to the seemingly ubiquitous German rivals.