Upscale efficiency in a stylish package.
The Volvo S60 has always been a bit of an outlier. As such, Sweden's niche alternative never really had the same success as the more established German alternatives. But the latest S60 is an all-in hand from Volvo, a seamless combination of luxury and style that makes it a genuinely compelling choice in a class with very good alternatives from companies like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
But there are some things you should know before going out and buying a brand new S60 – like exactly which version is right for you. Our tester, a nearly fully loaded T8 Inscription model, has a fantastic plug-in hybrid powertrain with up to 21 miles of electric range, a more lavish cabin than some of its lesser counterparts, and a few trim-exclusive options... but it also costs $64,190 as tested.
The Volvo S60 T8 has a pretty complex setup: a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine plus an electric motor, combining for a total system output of 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet. And it's easy to see why this powertrain is great. Torque arrives the second you put your foot down, and the transition between gas and electric is seamless, meaning the S60 has a nice, linear stream of thrust all the way up to redline. And this is a genuinely quick car, able to hit 60 miles per hour in about 4.4 seconds.
When you're not gunning it, though, the S60 T8 feels perfectly pleasant around town. The estimated electric range is usable for daily commutes at 21 miles, while 30 miles per gallon combined is better than what you get on most purely gas-powered alternatives. And standard all-wheel drive means the S60 T8 can tackle even the toughest road conditions.
The S60 has one of the nicest cabins in the class. The Nappa leather finishes and wood-grain trim pieces are sublime in quality. The S60 also has unique touches, like the jeweled gear lever, which give it a distinctive edge. And impressive sound deadening means the cabin whisper is quiet, even on the highway. There's abundant space, both for passengers and in the trunk, and a bunch useful storage compartments throughout.
Outside of the Alfa Romeo Giulia, the Volvo S60 is one of the best-looking luxury cars in the class. Sporting the latest Volvo design language, complete with “Hammer of Thor” headlights and C-shaped LED taillights, the S60 has a simple and sleek look that makes it very eye-catching overall. The body itself is sharp and muscular, while the optional five-spoke, 20-inch wheels top off the tapered styling compared to the standard 18 inchers.
At 4,484 pounds, the T8 is extremely heavy – about 200 pounds heavier than the nearest T6 model. And the S60 certainly feels big on the road with a harsh ride and tons of body movement in the corners. The big battery pack and all-wheel-drive system are definitely the main contributors to that curb weight, but the stiffness issues are especially noticeable, further compounded by the optional 20-inch wheels over the standard 18-inch units. We're not sure how much more comfortable the S60 would be with bigger sidewalls on the tires, but our guess is “slightly more.”
Not Engaging To Drive
Not only does this particular S60 feel heavy and a bit harsh, but it's also not the most engaging to drive. The steering is overboosted and lacks feedback, the suspension is firm, but not in a good way, and as mentioned, the massive weight makes the T8 feel wafty in the corners. We understand this isn't a performance model (we can attest that the R-Design and Polestar Engineered drive much better), but the T8 could still be a bit more engaging overall.
Lack Of Physical Controls
We like Volvo's Sensus infotainment system and the 9.0-inch vertical touchscreen for the most part, but this is where the company might have taken the oversimplification approach a bit too far. There's no physical tuning knob, nor any physical A/C controls. The infotainment system manages everything. At least the climate control menu pulls up with only one touch, but we still prefer physical dials to touchscreen controls any day.
2020 Volvo S60 T8 Inscription