Shoppers in the compact luxury sedan class have plenty of excellent choices, and the Volvo S60 is a worthy rival. In addition to understated elegance and Volvo’s reputation for safety, the S60 is available with a wide selection of engines and equipment, aiming to attract a broad segment of the market.
Volvo added some new features at mid-season, for its 2015.5 models, including Sensus Connect and Volvo On-Call. Premium, Platinum, and all T6 models added Sensus Navigation with Map Care. A new Harman Kardon Premium sound system went into Platinum trim levels.
What's New for 2016
A new Inscription series, with a three-inch longer wheelbase, joins the lineup, replacing the previous S60 T5 Platinum as the top trim level. Built in China, Inscription models include power steering personalization (front-drive) or speed-sensitive steering (AWD), as well as 18-inch wheels, rear Park Assist camera, contour seating, power rear sunblind, and rear side-window sunblinds. Platinum T6 and R-Design models no longer include a digital compass.
Choosing Your Volvo S60
Picking an engine is the first, and foremost, step in choosing an S60:
Drive-E front-drive models use a 2-liter four-cylinder, making either 240 horsepower in the T5, or 302 horsepower in the turbo/supercharged T6.
All-wheel-drive T5 models get a 2.5-liter five-cylinder, at 250 horsepower (but more torque than the Drive-E engine).
In the T6 R-Design, a 3-liter V6 produces 325 horsepower.
Drive-E models mate with an eight-speed automatic transmission, while AWD versions get a six-speed automatic that incorporates a manual-shift mode,
Fuel economy estimates range from as much as 26 mpg city/38 mpg highway with a four-cylinder engine, to a significantly less frugal 18/27 mpg with the V6.
Four models are offered, differentiated by engine; each come sin two or four trim levels:
Volvo offers several option packages:
Sport Package (for T5 Drive-E) includes paddle shifters, sport chassis, and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Technology Package includes adaptive cruise control, collision warning with full auto brake and pedestrian/cyclist detection, Distance Alert, Driver Alert, Road Sign Information, Lane Keeping Aid (on Drive-E), and Lane Departure Warning (T5 AWD and R-Design).
Convenience Package includes keyless drive, rear park assist camera, HomeLink and power retractable mirrors.
Climate Package has heated front/rear seats and steering wheel, heated windshield washer nozzles, and Interior Air Quality System.
Technology and Convenience packages are included with Platinum trim.
With so many choices of engine and trim level, the S60 covers a broad spectrum of potential buyers; but picking one isn’t that easy. Toward the lower end, we lean toward the thrifty T5 Drive-E. If you need extra space, though, that new extended-length Inscription might be worth a look. Remember that total price rises rapidly if you add option packages.