The Volvo S60 is the smallest sedan currently offered by this Swedish automaker. It is an entry-level premium sedan and an alternative to pricier models from BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Volvo’s reputation for safety and minimalism is evident here.
The S60 line is represented by the standard wheelbase model in T5, T6, T6 AWD and Polestar editions. A stretched wheelbase Inscription and a Cross Country line with a higher ground clearance are marketed separately.
What's New for 2017
For 2017, the Volvo S60 returns largely unchanged. Under the hood, however, you’ll find a pair of 2-liter four-cylinder engines. The first engine is turbocharged. The second engine is turbocharged and supercharged. Gone are the previously available five- and six-cylinder engines.
Choosing Your Volvo S60
Your first step in outfitting your S60 begins with your engine choice. An eight-speed automatic is standard across the model line. Both T5 models are powered by the 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Choose front-wheel drive and your S60 makes an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. All-wheel drive models are rated at 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.
The T6 model is an all-wheel drive only model. It is powered by a 2-liter supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. This model makes 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.
The Polestar edition features the same engine as the T6, but with some important changes evident, including a larger turbo, dedicated connecting rods, a larger intake, and a higher capacity fuel pump. This model makes 362 horsepower and 347 pound-feet of torque. The Polestar makes an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.
Depending on the sub-model chosen you’ll also find various package upgrades available, including the BLIS safety suite, climate, vision, technology, navigation and audio, and sport.
You’ll find competitive value in the 2017 Volvo S60. The T6 offers the best combination of equipment, performance, and handling, with well-equipped models coming in for just under $50,000.
Since arriving in its current form in 2011, Volvo has made a few significant changes to its S60 sedan (not to mention its wagon-bodied twin, the V60 [listed separately]), including a lifted Cross Country variant (also listed separately) and the elimination of the 2.5-liter turbocharged engine in 2017. But these changes and Volvo's penchant for building very safe vehicles hasn't helped the brand steal consumers away from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Lexus.
Could the handful of changes coming to the 2017 S60 put it Volvo's most affordable four-door in a position to challenge the the 3-Series and C-Class sedans of the world? Continue reading to find out.
Pricing and Equipment
As with all Volvos, the 2017 S60 caters to a premium crowd. So, while it’s MSRP ranges from $34,945 to $60,995 (including $995 destination charge), most buyers will find themselves most comfortable in the middle-of-the-pack $41,795 T5 Inscription Platinum trim. This trim comes standard with:
Twelve-speaker audio Harman Kardon
Adaptive xenon headlights
Wood interior trim
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
Rear window sunshades
Power front seats
Additional sound deadening material
For buyers who live in cooler climates, the Climate Pack adds heated rear seats, steering wheel, windshield, and washer nozzles for $1,300. Rear-seat passengers can enjoy the dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system for $2,170. Other options include the Blind Spot Information System Package for $925, heated front seats for $500, and Park Assist Pilot for $500.
Standard in all T5 models is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that comes with a respectable 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. On the T6 models, Volvo uses a twincharged – that's a turbocharger and a supercharger – 2.0-liter with 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are available with front- or all-wheel drive, and they both come with an eight-speed automatic transmission. And if you go really mad, the S60 Polestar model takes the T6 powertrain and boosts it to a heady 362 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque.
302-hp T6 unit is noticeably more potent than the base engine
The S60 Polestar is probably the most dynamic Volvo on the market.
Good handling and steering feel, regardless of trim.
The upgraded chassis on the R-Design delivers a noticeable difference in the corners.
Base four-cylinder engine lacks refinement.
Options are limited to just two engines.
Eight-speed transmission doesn’t feel the part of an upscale unit.
The S60 Polestar's 362 hp sounds like a lot, but a BMW M3 is much more powerful for only a
Simple, well-put-together cabin.
High-resolution virtual gauge cluster is clear and easy-to-read.
Amazingly comfortable front seats.
Plenty of room for taller adults.
The Inscription's slightly longer wheelbase gives it almost 37 inches of second-row legroom.
Some premium-car shoppers (particularly the younger crowd) may find the interior a little boring.
A good bit of engine noise enters the cabin in the T5 models.
Standard-wheelbase sedan lacks in leg room next to its competitors.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
Many manufacturers have packages like the R-Design, but they are little more than lip service. On the Volvo S60, however, this package delivers on its promises of a tighter ride, better responsiveness, and improved braking. Sure, it’s no track monster, but it’s a marked improvement over the other trims.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
Unrefined powertrains really have no place in the luxury car realm, and the S60’s T5 unit needs some work. It’s simply too buzzy, and its automatic start/stop system is too rough for a luxury sedan.
The Bottom Line
Volvo is built on one primary foundation: safety. The S60 easily fulfills that mission with its Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the IIHS, and it has shown steady improvements in the other departments. However, it still falls short in some areas discerning luxury car buyers won't overlook, namely engine noise, harshness, and style.