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2019 Volvo S60 Review

The 2019 Volvo S60 is an all-new premium compact sedan. But just because it’s not one of Volvo’s excellent SUV/crossovers, that doesn’t mean it’s a poor relation. All the design and engineering talent that’s gone into the marque’s bigger offerings is clearly apparent here.

Let’s talk about safety for a moment. Volvo is famous for it. The new S60 offers several driver aids that can prevent or at least lessen the severity of an accident. But even the basics are well addressed. This is all part of the company’s mission that no one should be killed or seriously injured in a Volvo by 2020. That’s only a year away and this generation has just begun.

Now let’s touch on comfort, another Volvo specialty. The S60’s front seats are well-shaped and well-padded, providing lateral support not just for the torso but also for the thighs. This is an advantage when indulging in a little spirited driving, something that Volvo cars haven’t typically inspired, but the S60 has something of a sporty side.

The engines, meanwhile, are modern masterpieces of forced induction, with a couple deploying turbochargers and superchargers simultaneously. This means useful muscle without paying a fuel economy penalty.

What’s New for 2019?

The S60 enters a fresh generation for this model year, so virtually everything is new. It’s built in South Carolina. See the 2019 Volvo S60 models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Responsive engines
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Well appointed and stylish interior
  • Great front seats

What We Don’t

  • Small trunk

How Much?

$36,795-$57,040. T8 versions may be eligible for state and federal incentives.

Fuel Economy

Front-wheel-drive versions of the new S60 employ the T5 drivetrain, which is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard, along with a stop/start feature. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel economy at 24 miles per gallon in the city, 36 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg in combined driving.

The T6 setup consists of a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that’s both turbocharged and supercharged to generate 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission sends this energy to all four wheels. The EPA numbers run to 21 mpg city/32 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined.

The T8 drivetrain is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and is also all-wheel drive. Again, there’s a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, which is augmented here by an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery (running along the center of the car’s floor) which drives the rear wheels (this is not a full-time AWD system). Total output is 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque, going through an 8-speed automatic transmission. The EPA estimates an electric-only range of 22 miles, which contributes to the equivalent of 74 MPGe combined. When running as a regular hybrid, the T8 achieves 31 mpg combined.

All 2019 S60 drivetrains require premium gasoline.

Standard Features & Options

The 2019 Volvo S60 comes in Momentum, Inscription and R-Design variants. And with T5, T6 or T8 drivetrains.

The Momentum T5 ($36,795) has 18-in alloy wheels, LED headlights with automatic high beams, LED daytime running lights, heated windshield washer nozzles, rain-sensing wipers, a panoramic moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats with memory settings, a cabin air quality system, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a leather-wrapped gearshift knob, selectable driving modes, hill start assist, a self-dimming rearview mirror, power-folding rear seats/headrests, a 12-volt outlet in the trunk, City Safety w/Steering Support (forward-collision warning with pedestrian/cyclist/large animal detection), road sign information, remote services, lane-keeping assist, an 8-in driver information display, a 9-in infotainment touchscreen, voice control, USB port, Bluetooth phone/audio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, HD/satellite radio, and a 10-speaker/220-watt audio setup.

The Momentum T6 ($41,295) adds the 316-hp engine, AWD and heated front seats.

The R-Design T5 ($43,540) receives various cosmetic differences, plus keyless entry/ignition, a hands-free trunk lid operation, power-folding/self-dimming side mirrors, fog lights, real leather upholstery, sport front seats, a 12.3-in digital driver information display, navigation with real-time traffic updates, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, rear collision mitigation, front/rear parking sensors, a driver’s-side knee airbag and a 13-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

The R-Design T6 ($48,040) brings those T6-related extra features. The R-Design T8 ($56,040) is the point where the 400-hp PHEV drivetrain becomes available in the 2019 S60, adding active bending LED headlights, heated front seats, Pilot Assist (partially autonomous driving with adaptive cruise control), a 360-degree camera system, a head-up display, and an Orrefors Crystal gearshift knob.

The Inscription T5 ($44,540) has its own cosmetic treatment inside and out (Driftwood trim accents and a leather-covered dashboard, for example), and it’s back to the leather-covered gearshift knob. Nor does this version supply those extra driver aids. But it does have navigation and the Harman Kardon system.

The Inscription T6 ($49,040) adds the other T6-type features. The Inscription T8 ($57,040) follows the T8 formula.

Many standard features in higher-spec models are available as options further down the order. Other extras include an adaptive suspension, sport suspension (R-Design), a heated steering wheel (R-Design and up), heated rear seats (Inscription) and a Bowers & Wilkins 1,100-watt/15-speaker audio system (R-Design and up).

Trunk space of 11.6 cu ft. is about the smallest there is in this class.

Safety

The S60 has a full complement of airbags, anti-lock disc brakes and traction/stability control systems, plus a whiplash protection system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to crash-test the new S60. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has put the car through its grueling process and awarded it top marks in every crashworthiness category.

Behind the Wheel

The engines are smooth and quiet, the T5 offering acceptable acceleration and excellent fuel economy. The turbocharged and supercharged T6 delivers V6-like power and responses (more low-end torque than the T5, thanks to the supercharger) while still achieving decent fuel economy. The T8 setup, meanwhile, brings serious muscle with superior fuel efficiency. In each drivetrain, the 8-speed automatic transmission delivers swift yet silken gear changes.

The S60’s chassis covers both comfort and precision. The standard suspension is tuned to absorb small undulations, while providing excellent body control over larger bumps. Over rough stretches of pavement, the ride remains composed.

Volvo’s interior design approach of simple and elegant works just as well here as it does in all the company’s other models. Passenger space is ample. The rear seats can accommodate 6-footers with ease, even when there’s another 6-footer up front.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia — Ultra-stylish, nice turbocharged 280-hp engine, engaging chassis.

2019 BMW 3 Series — The 3 Series strikes a fine balance between comfort and athleticism, and has excellent turbocharged engines. All-new for 2019.

2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class — Luxurious, refined, capable and offered with a lot of tech.

2019 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 plenty of space. A certified pre-owned (CPO) version also comes with a great warranty.

Autotrader’s Advice

The R-Design T6 seems to have a good combination of equipment and power. With any luck, that could leave some budget for the extra driver aids. No one needs a crystal gearshift, after all. Find a Volvo S60 for sale

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