Slick style, Scandi-style. From any angle, in any paint color, Volvo’s S60 sedan is a handsome sedan to behold. It’s a typical example of Scandinavian elegance – at once understated and purposeful. From those Thor’s-hammer headlights to its wraparound C-shaped taillights, there’s a lot to admire. It looks best from the three-quarter angle, with concave doors catching the light very effectively.

Step inside, and the Scandi-chic ethos continues. The front seats are heavily bolstered and as comfortable as you’d expect from a past master of seating. The dashboard consists of a single row of buttons below a large portrait touchscreen which is, admittedly, better to look at than to use on the move. Everything’s pleasingly tactile, though, from the centrally stitched transmission lever to the chunky three-spoke steering wheel. The instrumentation is a masterclass in simplicity, and on a cold day, those outsized air vents distribute some serious warmth into the cabin.

Faster than it looks. Those handsome looks belie a sedan whose performance figures can beat many sportscars, and even give the odd supercar driver a moment of panic. But before we get to that, let’s consider the S60’s more prosaic powertrain. The standard B5 two-liter engine is turbocharged and given a little pep courtesy of a 48V starter-generator. Performance through the eight-speed automatic transmission and optional AWD is smooth, if not ballistic.

If you’re the sort of person who enjoys being pressed back in your seat, take a Recharge model for a test drive. Despite that unassuming name, these thunderous sedans take the standard turbo engine and add both a supercharger and an electric motor. The 0-60 sprint will be dispatched in just over four seconds, while grippy tires and direct steering ensure it doesn’t all fall apart at the first bend. The ride quality can be caught out on pockmarked urban roads, but the suspension sits well at speed; it cushions occupants from larger impacts in tandem with those fabulous seats.

Safety in abundance. The next time someone tells you they bought an SUV because they value safety, politely direct them to their nearest Volvo dealership. The Swedes have spent over half a century leading the world in terms of safety advances, and the S60 is the encapsulation of all that know-how. Little wonder it’s earned top safety scores from pretty much every organization that’s tested it around the world. Excellent visibility minimizes the risk of being unsighted, but every model has blind-spot monitoring with active steering alongside automatic emergency braking, for good measure. You can even delegate steering to the car for short highway stretches.

2023 Volvo S60 Interior

Which model should I choose? Volvo has recently overhauled its model range into the same sort of three-trim setup Audi has popularized. Here, the models are known as Core, Plus and Ultimate. The former includes a smartphone-equipped nine-inch portrait touchscreen, synthetic leather trim and 18-inch wheels, though we’d find the $2,700 required for mid-range Plus trim. As well as real leather and wooden dash inserts, it offers a surround-view camera system and adaptive cruise.

In terms of engines, the standard B5 unit delivers EPA-estimated combined fuel economy of 30 mpg, or 28 if you specify AWD. The hybrid Recharge models return 74 MPGe, and can travel over 40 miles on electric power alone. That’s impressive for a well-equipped and solidly built mid-range sedan.

Final thoughts. The S60 is one of those cars that’s hard to fault. Whichever metric you use to analyze it, it ticks the requisite boxes. Safety is as strong as you’ll find in any modern passenger car, performance from Recharge models is thunderous, the car’s elegant design is matched by impressive build quality, and each well-specified model comes with a four-year warranty plus three years of free maintenance. It’s comfortable to sit in, pleasant to drive, and affordable to fuel and maintain…what else could you ask for?

We really need to nitpick to find faults. Steering and handling fall short of the benchmark set by the BMW 3-Series, and the ride is bettered by Mercedes’ peerless C-Class. The trunk is disappointingly small, though you could always consider a V60 wagon if cargo space is a priority. And that’s pretty much it in terms of negatives. The S60 is a fine car, and it’s doubtful any purchasers will come to regret their buying decision.

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