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2017 Volvo S60: New Car Review

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Used 2017 Volvo S60 T5 Inscription Platinum AWD
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author photo by Autotrader February 2017

Among the premium compact sedan class, the 2017 Volvo S60 is one of the oldest models. Luckily, its elegant styling and comprehensive safety features keep it in contention. The range includes a long-wheelbase Inscription version and a high-performance Polestar model, so there's plenty of choice.

What's New for 2017?

The 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine has been discontinued, leaving a pair of 4-cylinder units -- one that's turbocharged, and another that's turbocharged and supercharged.

What We Like

Responsive engines; excellent fuel economy; well appointed and stylish interior; great front seats; 5-year/50,000-mile warranty with no-cost maintenance plus "wear and tear" coverage.

What We Don't

Tight back seat in the regular version; modest trunk space; lack of differentiation between ventilation controls and audio controls.

How Much?

$34,945 to $60,995

Fuel Economy

The S60 T5 has a turbocharged 2.0-liter/4-cylinder engine making 240 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard, along with a stop/start feature.

For the front-wheel-drive model, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel economy at 25 miles per gallon in the city, 36 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg in combined driving. These figures also apply to the front-drive Inscription version. When this engine is linked to the optional all-wheel-drive system, fuel consumption is estimated at 23 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined.

The 2.0-liter/4-cylinder engine in the T6 is turbocharged and supercharged to generate 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission sends this energy to all four wheels. The EPA numbers run to 23 mpg city/32 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined.

The high-performance Polestar variant has the same turbo/supercharged engine, but it's boosted here to 362 hp and 347 lb-ft and has all-wheel drive as standard. The 8-speed automatic transmission in this car has steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Fuel consumption is 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Volvo S60 comes in T5 Dynamic, T6 AWD R-Design and Polestar versions, along with a few option packages. Inscription models come in T5 form only ("base" and Platinum). All-wheel drive is available in any T5 model.

The T5 Dynamic ($34,945) has 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, automatic xenon headlights, rain-sensing wipers, heated mirrors, dual-zone climate control, a sunroof, leather seating surfaces, a leather-trimmed steering wheel (tilt-telescopic) and shifter, cruise control, an 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support and memory settings, power-folding rear headrests, an 8-speaker audio system with a 7-in display, HD Radio, satellite radio, smartphone integration, Wi-Fi, USB and auxiliary audio inputs, Bluetooth phone and audio, and split-folding rear seats.

The T5 Inscription ($37,795) has most of the above as standard, along with 18-in alloy wheels, navigation, driver-configurable gauges, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, rear sunshades, ambient interior lighting, extra sound insulation and a cabin air-filtering system.

The T5 Inscription Platinum ($41,795) adds adaptive xenon headlights, keyless entry/ignition, a rearview camera, power-folding side mirrors, higher-quality front seats, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon Surround Sound system and more sophisticated electronic safety features (listed in the Technology package below). A self-parking system is included for front-drive versions. There is no Platinum version of the regular S60.

The T6 AWD R-Design ($48,395) builds on things with the gutsier engine, 19-in wheels, a sportier suspension tune, all-wheel drive, special R-Design sport seats, trim and aero kit, and pretty much everything in the Platinum package.

The Polestar ($60,995) comes with virtually all equipment mentioned so far, plus its own aero kit and interior treatment, a bespoke engine tune, stronger front brakes and 20-in alloy wheels.

Many standard features in higher-spec models are available as options further down the pecking order. Other features include the Technology Package (adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation with automatic braking, and various other safety systems) and Climate Package (heated seats, a heated steering wheel, heated windshield-washer nozzles and an interior air-quality system), plus a dual-screen rear entertainment system.

Trunk space of 12 cu ft. is among the smallest in this segment.


In addition to a full complement of airbags, side-impact protection and whiplash-protection systems, there's City Safety -- technology that can minimize or prevent collisions at 31 mph or below by automatically priming or applying the brakes if necessary.

The S60 earned perfect 5-star ratings in all federal crash-test categories. It's also been named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The optional Technology Package adds a pedestrian-detection system (also with automatic braking), driver-drowsiness alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. A blind spot monitoring system, parallel-park assist and a rear cross-traffic alert system are also available.

Behind the Wheel

The S60 has a typical Volvo interior -- well appointed, with lots of soft-touch materials and tasteful metallic accents, plus comfortable, supportive front bucket seats. The sloping roofline adds sportiness but doesn't help rearward vision. Inscription models have an extra 3.4 inches of rear legroom.

A "floating" center stack houses a stylish climate-control panel and infotainment controls. Buyers can warm things up by selecting Urbane Wood inlays sourced from managed forests of nonthreatened species.

The engines are smooth and quiet, with the T5 offering acceptable acceleration and excellent fuel economy. The turbocharged and supercharged T6 makes impressive power (more low-end torque than the T5, thanks to the supercharger) and good fuel economy.

The beauty of the S60 lies in its comfort and precision. Over the roughest stretches of pavement, the ride remains composed. The speed-sensitive steering in T6 models has driver-selectable modes, but even the T5 models' variable-assist steering works well. The basic suspension is tuned to absorb small undulations while providing excellent body control over larger bumps. The optional sport-tuned suspension is never harsh, and its responsiveness is worth the slightly firmer feel.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Audi A4 -- All-new for 2017 and immediately one of the top choices in the class, with plenty of technology available.

2017 BMW 3 Series -- The 3 Series strikes a fine balance between comfort and athleticism and has an excellent range of turbocharged engines.

2017 Cadillac ATS -- Polished, capable and loaded with presence.

2017 Jaguar XE -- Supple and speedy. An intriguing alternative to Germany's finest.

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class -- Luxurious, refined, capable and offered with a lot of available tech.

2017 Lexus IS -- Someone would have to make an extreme effort to find a bad choice in this class. Build quality is wonderful and the dealership experience is one of the best out there.

Used Audi A6 -- Incredibly well-rounded and accomplished. Superb equipment levels and even more space. A certified pre-owned (CPO) version also comes with a great warranty.

Autotrader's Advice

Except for the entertaining Polestar version, Volvo's attempts at sportiness are not as convincing as, say, BMW's. So if comfort and class are the main priorities, a T5 Dynamic with a few options is probably the smart choice.

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Used 2017 Volvo S60 T5 Inscription Platinum AWD
Used 2017 Volvo S60
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2017 Volvo S60: New Car Review - Autotrader