The 2019 Volvo S60 is completely new for this model year with new looks, new features, and a new chassis. But I wouldn’t blame you if you said that you’ve seen it before. It looks a lot like a shrunken version of the S90. But is that a bad thing? Not at all.
Engine – Like every other current Volvo model, the S60 is only available with a 2.0L Turbocharged engine. This particular one being a T6, it also has a Supercharger attached to it. This twin-charged engine produces 316hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, exactly the same as it’s S90 bigger brother. But because it is a little bit lighter than the S90, the S60 feels more eager when accelerating. The supercharger provides instant response at low rpms with a healthy amount of torque while the turbocharger takes over above 3,000 rpms to provide the punch when overtaking on a highway. There are also Eco, Comfort, and Dynamic drive modes. There isn’t really much difference felt between Eco and Comfort but in Dynamic mode, the engine feels much more responsive.
Of course leaving it in Dynamic mode all the time will have an impact on the fuel economy. The highest figure I saw in city driving during my test was approximately 15 L/100km (15.6 mpg). But over a combined city & highway drive cycle in Comfort mode, the engine returned 10.2 L/100km (23.1 mpg).
Transmission – An 8-speed automatic transmission is the only choice whether opting for the T5 or T6 engines. It is smooth to change gears in Comfort mode but also quick in Dynamic mode. Using the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters does feel rewarding when you’re blasting through a mountain road as they are quite responsive to inputs.
Braking – The 2019 S60 doesn’t have the 6-piston calipers that are found on the Polestar tuned versions of Volvos but the standard brakes do a good job of bringing the car to a stop. They can be a bit sensitive on a cold winter morning but otherwise brake pedal modulation is easy for a smooth stop. Automatic emergency braking is standard on all S60 trims as is the lane keeping aid.
Handling – The new Volvo S60 shares the same platform as it’s S90 bigger brother which Volvo call “Scalable Product Architecture”, (SPA for short). Compared to its V60 wagon twin, the S60 feels just that little bit more sporty. The suspension resists a tiny bit more body roll, the steering feel is a tiny bit sharper & more responsive, and you just feel like it could go a tiny bit faster around a corner.
Ride Comfort – The optional 19” wheels do give a slightly firmer ride along with the retuned suspension but it’s nothing that your back can’t handle. The V60 with the same wheels does feel a bit smoother but the V60 that I reviewed was not an R-Design trim like this S60.
Interior Space – The new platform is slightly longer than the outgoing S60 and it shows in the back seats. There is more legroom for rear occupants and the clever sculpted back rest of the front seats adds just those extra few inches of knee room. Speaking of which, the front seats are some of the most comfortable in terms of body position and posture. I personally could do with a tiny bit more padding but I’m just nitpicking.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The overall noise level inside the Volvo S60 is low. Whether driving on a highway or on city streets, you feel isolated from the outside world. My only complaint though is the noise of the engine. The amount of noise that it makes is fine it’s just that isn’t not a pleasant noise. There are far better sounding 4 cylinder engines out there.
Interior Design – The interior look of the 2019 Volvo S60 is identical to the interior design of the S90. Same infotainment screen, same gear selector, same steering wheel, same everything. In a way it’s a good thing because it feels familiar so whether you’re stepping into this or another Volvo, you know exactly how it all works.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – The R-Design is the sporty trim in the Volvo lineup but it’s also full of features. This fully loaded S60 with all the packages comes in at around $66,000 CAD. You get basically all the features of the top Inscription trim except for ventilated front seats with massaging, full leather seats (leather & alcantara instead), and different interior trim. And that’s about it.
The only curveball that Volvo is throwing to its customers is that if you only need the 250hp T5 engine, it is only available with front-wheel-drive. All-wheel-drive is only available with the T6 engine. Nevertheless you can customize a S60 to almost however you want.
Exterior Design – The sense of familiarity continues to the outside of the S60 as it looks like a scaled down version of the S90. The “biggest” changes between the two are the slightly protruding Thor’s Hammer headlights towards the grille on the S60. Otherwise they look very similar and like nothing else on the road. Almost all current Volvo vehicles turn heads and fit in just right in any environment.
While the 2019 Volvo S60 is basically a smaller version of the S90, it stands on its own because of that smaller size. The S90 is a big car but the S60 is better proportioned for daily use. However I would not recommend the R-Design trim. A better bang for your buck would be the T6 Momentum with the Momentum Plus, Climate, and Vision Packages for just under $56,000 CAD. You get the 316 hp engine with AWD, nearly all of the same features as the Inscription but for $10,000 less. Plus you can add a few optional extras if you really need that extra bit of comfort and convenience.
Thank you to Volvo Canada for providing the vehicle. www.VolvoCars.com/en-ca