Volvo is on a roll and the all-new S60 is further proof. Completing the current award-winning range of SUVs, saloons and estates, it’s another winner from the Chinese-owned Swedish brand.
The remarkable thing about the S60 is that it’s not simply a saloon version of the V60 estate launched in 2018 – it has a personality and appeal all of its own.
We’re already big fans of the V60 and all-wheel drive V60 Cross Country, so expectations were high for its booted sibling. Thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint.
Perfectly proportioned with a pert rear and Volvo’s instantly recognisable front end complete with “Thor’s hammer” headlights, it certainly cuts a dash, especially in the stunning Fusion Red colour of our test car.
Launched with just the top-of-the-range R-Design Edition trim and priced from £37,935, other more affordable specs will follow.
The first Volvo to be built in the US, it’s also the first from the brand to be offered without a diesel engine option.
Though Volvo will inevitably lose sales in Europe especially, it’s making a brave stand in the face of the demonisation of diesel.
An all-wheel-drive petrol-electric plug-in hybrid will follow, but for now there’s only a choice initially of a 248bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine (badged T5).
Step inside the S60 and the superb build quality and minimalist, premium design will be familiar to anyone who’s taken a peek inside the current generation of Volvos.
Ahead of the driver there’s a 12.3-inch digital display, while the centre console is dominated by a 9.0-inch portrait-shaped touchscreen, offering a full-on pinch and swipe smartphone experience.
The seats are comfortable and particularly plush in leather, while equipment highlights include heated front seats, two-zone climate control, a Sensus navigation system with full European mapping, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, head-up display, 14-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system, plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.
As you’d expect from Volvo, the S60 is also packed with the latest safety and driver assistance tech, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert and Rear Collision Mitigation, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, which controls the car’s acceleration and braking, and assists with the steering, to keep the S60 at the right speed and at a safe distance from any vehicles ahead and correctly positioned in its lane.
There’s also Volvo’s Pilot Assist system which allows you to take your hands off the wheel for short period of time, taking over steering, acceleration and braking on well-marked roads.
Naturally, the S60 was awarded a maximum five-star crash safety rating when it was tested by Euro NCAP.
Inside, it’s spacious with ample space for adults travelling in the rear too – there’s even decent headroom in the back with the full-length sunroof option.
The boot is a generous 442 litres with a useful, wide opening. Flip the split rear seats and there’s an even longer loading space.
Twist the start dial and the engine is nicely refined, only making itself known under hard acceleration.
There’s plenty of torque too, while the eight-speed automatic transmission is suitably slick, giving a 0-62mph time of just 6.5 seconds. CO2 emissions are from 152g/km, while fuel economy is 35.3 to 39.8mpg. Early 30s is realistic, which takes some getting used to after recent 50mpg+ diesels. Alternatively, simply wait for the plug-in hybrid version.
The ride is on the firm side, but there’s a reason for that. After all, this is the sportier version of the car and it is claimed to be “the most dynamic Volvo so far”. Indeed, body roll is well in check during faster corning. It feels effortless and stable on the motorway, while traction generally is superb.
You can use the drive mode selector to fine-tune your experience further (Comfort, Eco, Dynamic or Individual), tweaking the throttle, steering, transmission, and suspension, but Comfort and the occasional foray into Dynamic for fast country roads and overtaking will do just fine.
Needless to say, we think the S60 is an impressive package, and it has to be because it’s up against the likes of the Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4, Alfa Romeo Giulia, BMW 3 Series and Jaguar XE.
However, if SUVs don’t rock your boat and you have no need for an estate, the S60 is a great blend of relaxed cruiser and planted sports saloon.
Verdict: The handsome new S60 is yet another classy addition to the Volvo range. Oozing Scandi chic, beautifully built, comfortable, spacious and safe, it’s also dynamic enough to offer a fun drive if you fancy blowing the cobwebs away.