I’ve got to hand it to Volvo. It is on a roll with its impressive new vehicle lineup that started with the XC90, S90, XC60, and XC40 -- and now brings us the all-new S60.
The S60 is a compact sports sedan in its third generation that absolutely benefits from all the efforts Volvo put into the design, technology, performance and safety of the vehicles that came before it and I think Volvo has another winner on its hands.
The S60 offers Volvo luxury, exceptional safety technology and it’s a great daily driver with a dose of unexpected sportiness and handling that makes it anything but boring. All of these things make it competitive with the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Built in Volvo’s new manufacturing facility in Ridgeville, South Carolina, the S60 is the first Volvo built in the U-S. The S60 comes in four trims, the more conventional and elegant Momentum and Inscription trims, along with the sportier R- Design, and a Plug-In Hybrid T8 Polestar model.
My R-design test model has available All-Wheel-Drive. The T6 features a feisty 2.0-liter super and turbo-charged four-cylinder engine mated to an 8-speed automatic. You get 316-horsepower and 295 lb.-ft of torque. And yes, it has stop/start that you can turn on and off.
Aside from just being flat-out enjoyable daily driver, the S60 also came to play. The R Design has three drive mode options --- Eco, Comfort and Dynamic. Dynamic mode is where the real fun can be had especially with the paddle shifters.
The sound of the turbo and supercharged engine was great during acceleration and overall the ride was quiet in the cabin, albeit for a rather loud turn signal.
My R Design did not have the optional $200 sports chassis for its best handling. But I am not complaining (ok, well maybe a little.) But overall,I really enjoyed the handling on the AWD model as it was - steering could admittedly have been a bit tighter. But the S60 was without a doubt fun to drive, handled great. I found the braking to be confident as well in my excursions around town. I didn’t notice any body roll in the great supportive contoured sport seats when I put it to the test in highway roundabouts.
Built on Volvo’s new platform, the S60 has a low-slung stance and is longer and wider than its predecessor. Its styling is similar to its larger sibling the S90. A long hood slopes down to an R-Design black mesh lower and outer black grille It’s flanked by Volvo’s signature LED Thor headlights. An optional advanced package get you full active bending LED headlights and high beams as well as fog lights. Power folding mirrors feature glossy black mirror covers. My R-Design rides on optional 19-inch alloy wheels ($800). In back there are dual integrated tailpipes.
One look at the interior and you know it was designed for driving enthusiasts. It’s modern, uncluttered with metal mesh aluminum decor and diamond patterned finishes. You’ll find an R-Designed leather steering wheel (heated is optional) and gear shifter. A center console features a toggle to turn the car on, as well as a drive mode selector, electric parking brake and auto brake hold.
A large colorful 12.3-inch digital tachometer displays driver info on the right hand side. On the left side you see large road sign icons with speed limit and school zone info.
My R Design’s contoured and bolstered seats are on my list of favorite seats ever. The Nappa Leather-trimmed upholstered sport seats are 10-way power adjustable with power lumbar as well as a power thigh extender. Volvo did a great job with these making them comfortable and supportive without being too firm. They are heated, but cooled isn’t an option for the R Design.
The new S60 feels quite roomy throughout the cabin and has more room in the backseat than its predecessor. In back, there is an electric folding 2nd seat, as well as dual-zone climate controls. The trunk opens to a large, deep cargo area with a power outlet. You get 11.6 cubic feet of space back there, a lot for the segment. The lineup gets a standard panoramic moonroof.
There are very few buttons in the cabin because you control almost everything through Volvo’s Sensus system. Its 9-inch touchscreen is fantastic with amazing resolution, mapping and the best backup camera I’ve come across. You scroll through pages of safety, entertainment and app information, which includes both standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Responding to complaints, Volvo says it has a faster processor that makes the system respond 50% faster than it used to be. On the safety page you can activate various driver assist features and do things like turn off the stop/start system and fold down the rear headrests. Sensus is also where you control the climate.
My test model comes with an upgraded and exceptional 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system ($3200) with some sharp-looking speakers throughout the cabin and on the dash. It’s worth every penny if you love music like I do. It has a Concert Hall mode engineered to make it sound like you’re actually at a concert.
Volvo is a leader is safety technology. Standard S60 lineup features include City Safety Collision Avoidance with Large Animal Detection, Oncoming Collision Mitigation and Lane Keep Assist, along with Road Sign info. The R-Design comes additionally with Rear Park Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic with Auto Brake Hold. Plus, a $2500 Advanced Package on my test vehicle includes:
- Full LED Headlights with/ active bending lights
- Headlight high pressure cleaning
- Visual park assist
- 360-degree surround view camera
- Head up display
- Pilot assist - semi autonomous system
Pilot Assist is a semi-autonomous driving system with adaptive cruise control that provides gentle steering support to help keep the vehicle centered in its lane and at a set speed, up to legal highway speeds. If there's a vehicle in front of you, it can adapt your speed to help keep a set distance. But you have to keep your hands on the wheel, otherwise it will shut off, as you’ll see in my video.
What You’ll Pay
The base S60 Momentum starts from around $35,000. The T6 R-Design starts from around $42-grand but my loaded model stickers for $55,490. The S60 is also available as part of Volvo’s subscription model.
My AWD model gets a 25 combined MPGs, 21 city and 32 highway. By the way, it’s capless fueling.
Bottom line, the S60 R Design is a well-executed, great-looking daily driver for someone with a sporty side. It’s full of luxury, comfort and packed with leading safety and driver assist technology and worth more than a look if you’re in the market for this type of vehicle. Everything just works.
2019 Volvo S60 R-Design
- What I liked most: Performance, Interior, technology, B&W Premium Audio System.
- What I would change: Add options for a wireless charger, along with cooled and massaging front seats.
- MSRP: Base price $40,300, total as equipped, $55.490.
- Fuel Economy: 21 city/32 highway/25 combined.
- Official Color: Fusion Red Metallic ($645)
- Odometer reading when tested: approximately 5,351 miles.
- Weight: 3,907 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Temporary Spare Wheel with Jack Kit.
- Length-Width-Height: 187.4” long/80.3” wide/ 56.6” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 15.9 gallons with the filler on the passenger side.
- Towing Capacity: N/A.
- 2019 Volvo S60 R-Design in a few words: A sporty, luxurious Volvo that came to play!
- Warranty: 48-month/50,000 mile Limited Warranty Coverage, 144-month Corrosion Protection “Unlimited Mileage”, Volvo On-CALL Roadside Assistance. Complimentary Factory Maintenance for first 3 years or 30,000 miles.
- Final Assembly Location: Ridgeville, South Carolina
- Manufacturer’s website: