Heading into what may be its last year, the current-generation 2018 Volvo S60 offers up a luxurious interior, superb safety scores, and a wide choice of models. But unlike more contemporary Volvos, the S60 lacks their personality and features a design and infotainment system that are dated, while the hottest model can't match the intensity of competitors.

Best Value

The Volvo S60 is offered in five trim levels, a regular and long wheelbase, on- and off-road ride heights, front- and all-wheel-drive systems, and three engine choices. T5 models come with a 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, T6 trims feature a 302-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder, while Polestar models are equipped with a 362-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder. All three engines are coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Pricing starts with the $35,095 T5 Dynamic and finish at over $61,000 for the range-topping Polestar.

Looking for the best value, we'd eliminate the niche Cross Country, pricey T6 R-Design, and fun-but-even-pricier Polestar. Families with rear seat legroom needs might want to consider the longer-wheelbase (by three inches) Inscription, but for everyone else, we'd pick the base Dynamic trim.

Included in the starting price are 18-inch alloy wheels, HID headlights, start/stop technology, an electric parking brake, leather seats, a sunroof, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic climate control, an illuminated gearshift knob, Bluetooth, satellite radio, a power driver's seat, a rearview camera, heated outside mirrors, and low-speed automatic emergency braking. The T5 Dynamic also allows access to option packages that can add everything from advanced safety systems to a navigation system. Here’s how we’d build it:

  • Model: 2018 Volvo S60 T5 Dynamic
  • Engine: 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Output: 240 hp / 258 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: 22 City / 33 Hwy
  • Options: All-wheel drive ($2,000), Technology Package ($1,500, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, driver alert, lane keeping assist, road sign information, automatic high beams, rain-sensing windshield wipers), Vision Package ($1,950, front and rear park assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, TFT instrument display, keyless push-button start), Heated Front Seats and Steering Wheel ($750)
  • Base Price: $35,095 (including a $995 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $41,295

Performance

Volvo S60

The base engine offers ample acceleration, the T6 is noticeably faster, while the Polestar is faster still thanks to a broad torque curve. The ride is well-controlled on base models equipped with 18-inch wheels and even more compliant with the Polestar's Ohlins-supplied suspension with its ability to handle even the roughest pavement while exhibiting little body lean in corners. On all models, handling is sharp, direct, and mildly entertaining, while all but the Polestar attain fuel economy numbers of an EPA-estimated 30-plus miles per gallon on the highway.

On the flip side, the transmission doesn't always shift crisply, the T5 engine sounds coarse when pushed, the T6 engine is only available in the expensive AWD R-Design, while the performance of the Polestar, though entertaining, fails to approach that of rivals from BMW and Mercedes-AMG. At the same time, the 19-inch wheels on T5 models make the ride uncomfortably harsh, the Cross Country's extended ride height is for looks rather than capability, while a hefty curb weight in most models discourages spirited driving.

Interior and Exterior

The S60's classic and subtle exterior design encloses an interior that boasts of comfortable front seats as well as high-quality plastic trim and an abundance of soft touch materials. Fit and finish is excellent, while optional wood and aluminum trim bits give it even more of an upmarket look and feel. In addition, the long-wheelbase Inscription offers plenty of legroom in back, while a split-fold rear seat back and wide opening increase the versatility of the generous 12 cubic feet of trunk space.

The S60's design can look frumpy alongside Volvo's newest vehicles – the oddly-styled Cross Country is the worst offender – and is beginning to show its age. At the same time, back seat leg room on most models falls short of competitors, the dashboard is littered with tiny unintuitive buttons, while the seven-inch infotainment system – sans a touchscreen and Apple CarPlay – is cumbersome and woefully outdated.

The Best and Worst Things

The S60 certainly wows with great safety features and comfortable seats, but it also disappoints with styling cues and a performance personality that are bland.

Right For? Wrong For?

Volvo S60

The availability of a wide range of advanced safety features across the lineup is sure to attract safety-focused luxury buyers.

At the same time, the overall heft, lack of steering feedback found on base models, and pricey performance model that lacks the intensity of competitors will have enthusiasts looking elsewhere.

The Bottom Line

The 2018 Volvo S60's tasteful interior, great safety features, and comfortable ride are offset by bland styling, an antiquated infotainment system, and an engine lineup short on refinement that place it only mid-pack in the luxury compact class.