The 2020 Volvo S60 is a premium compact sedan that serves as an interesting alternative to the more mainstream offerings in this segment. The fact that it’s not one of Volvo‘s excellent SUV crossovers doesn’t mean it’s a poor relation — all the design and engineering talent that went into the marque’s bigger offerings is apparent here as well.
Let’s talk about safety for a moment, since Volvo is famous for it. The new S60 offers several driver aids that can prevent or at least lessen the severity of an accident, and the basics are also well-addressed. This is all part of the company’s mission to ensure that no one is killed or seriously injured in a Volvo by 2020. With 2020 only a year away and this generation only just beginning, that’s certainly a bold goal.
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 you’re looking to indulge in a little spirited driving. Granted, spirited driving isn’t usually an activity that Volvo cars inspire, 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 2020?
The 12.3-inch infotainment system is now standard on all 2020 models. A Polestar Engineered high-performance plug-in hybrid variant has been added to the lineup as well. See the 2020 Volvo S60 models for sale near you
What We Like
Excellent fuel economy
Well-appointed and stylish interior
Great front seats
What We Don’t
$36,050-$65,445. T8 versions may be eligible for state and federal incentives.
Front-wheel-drive versions of the new S60 employ the T5 drivetrain, which is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 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 23 miles per gallon in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 27 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) that drives the rear wheels — this is not a full-time AWD system. The total output is 400 hp and 495 lb-ft of torque (415 hp in the Polestar Engineered model), which goes through an 8-speed automatic transmission. The EPA estimates an electric-only range of 22 miles, which makes the equivalent of 69 MPGe combined. When running as a regular hybrid, the T8 achieves 30 mpg combined. All 2020 S60 drivetrains require premium gasoline.
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 Volvo S60 comes in Momentum, R-Design, Inscription, and Polestar Engineered variants. These come with T5, T6 or T8 drivetrains.
The Momentum T5 ($36,050) 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 and headrests, a 12-volt outlet in the trunk, City Safety with 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 12.3-in infotainment touchscreen, voice control, a 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 ($40,550) adds the 316-hp engine, AWD and heated front seats.
The R-Design T5 ($43,545) receives various cosmetic alterations, keyless entry/ignition, hands-free trunk lid operation, power-folding/self-dimming side mirrors, fog lights, real leather upholstery, sport front seats, 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-side knee airbag and a 13-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
The R-Design T6 ($48,045) brings the T6-related features listed above. The R-Design T8 ($56,045) is the point where the 400-hp PHEV drivetrain becomes available in the 2020 S60. It adds active bending LED headlights, heated front seats, Pilot Assist (partially autonomous driving with adaptive cruise control), a 360-degree camera system, a heads-up display, and an Orrefors Crystal gearshift knob.
The Inscription T5 ($43,545) has its own cosmetic treatment inside and out, including driftwood trim accents and a leather-covered dashboard and gearshift knob. This version doesn’t supply the extra driver aids like other models, but it does have navigation and the Harman Kardon audio system.
The Inscription T6 ($48,045) adds the other T6-type features. The Inscription T8 ($56,045) follows the T8 formula.
The Polestar Engineered ($65,445) has been added for 2020 as a high-performance hybrid model with a 15 hp increase. It comes exclusively with the T8 powertrain plus a distinct exterior, Nappa leather seats, performance exhaust, a Polestar-tuned chassis, lane-keeping assistance and Bowers & Wilkins premium audio.
Many standard features in the 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).
The trunk space of 11.6 cu ft. is about the smallest there is in this class.
The S60 has a full complement of airbags, anti-lock disc brakes and traction/stability control systems in addition to a system to counteract whiplash.
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 in the T5, which offers acceptable acceleration and excellent fuel economy. The turbocharged and supercharged T6 delivers V6-like power and response (more low-end torque than the T5, thanks to the supercharger) but still achieves decent fuel economy. The T8 setup 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 and provide excellent body control over larger bumps. Over rough stretches of pavement, the ride remains composed.
Volvo’s interior design approach of simplicity and elegance 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 if there’s another 6-footer up front.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia – The new Alfa Romeo Giulia is ultra-stylish, has a nice turbocharged 280-hp engine and comes with an engaging chassis.
2020 BMW 3 Series – The new BMW 3 Series strikes a fine balance between comfort and athleticism and has excellent turbocharged engines. Like the S60, the 3 Series is fresh off a 2019 redesign.
2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class – This Mercedes C-Class is luxurious, refined and capable, and it’s offered with a lot of tech.
2020 Lexus IS – Someone would have to make an extreme effort to find a bad choice in this class. The build quality for the new Lexus IS is wonderful, and the dealership experience is one of the best out there.
Used Volvo S90 – The Volvo S90 is the bigger, more luxurious Volvo sedan, and the current generation has remained excellent since its release in 2017. Used and certified pre-owned examples can be found at price levels similar to those of new S60s.
The R-Design T6 seems to have a good combination of equipment and power. With any luck, this option might leave some budget for the added driver aids — after all, no one needs a crystal gearshift. Find a Volvo S60 for sale