By now, you may have heard that the Volvo S60 is the first Volvo made here in the USA. But there is much more of significance to Volvo’s new midsize sedan than just where it’s built. According to Volvo, it’s one of the most exciting cars they’ve ever made. So, let’s see if the S60 gives us the thrills!
The 2019 Volvo S60 marks the 3rd total redesign of Volvo’s midsize sedan. Last gen made headlines, with a stretched version that was the first streetable car sold here that was “Made in China”. Fitting since Volvo is now owned by Chinese carmaker Geely.
But guess what, now the new S60 is being assembled here, in Ridgeville, South Carolina. Talk about a turn of fate! And since it’s now on the SPA platform that arrived with the XC90, we expect some other Volvo models to roll out of that plant as well.
Indeed, the S60’s powertrains are not unique from other vehicles on that platform. By now, we’re all familiar with the 250-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo I4 that comes in base front-wheel-drive T5 models.
T6 adds a supercharger into mix, boosting output to 316-horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque, as well as all-wheel-drive. And finally, a twin-engine PHEV T8 will be available soon.
Regardless of power adders, all S60s feature an 8-speed automatic transmission. Expect 0-60 times to range from 6.2 seconds for the T5 to a pretty thrilling 4.4-seconds in the T8.
While Momentum and Inscription trims hold down the luxury side of things quite well; Volvo is looking to push things deeper into the sport sedan category with the R-Design; which we first sampled in Southern California.
Now R-Design in itself, is more of a sporty trim than a pure performance model. It can be added to either the T5 or T6 and includes unique 21-inch wheels, LED fog lights, and integrated dual exhaust tips.
Inside, there’s also a sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, and upgraded leather and cloth upholstery.
It’s a fabulous looking car, and we enjoy Volvo’s modern take on their classic head and tail light shapes; not to mention Thor’s hammer is still the coolest signature lighting out there.
They’ll also get a car that’s smooth, quiet, and if you go for the turbo-supercharged T6, powerful as well. It’s actually thrilling just merging onto Interstates in the T6, and backroad curves flow together like championship-level ballroom dancers.
Plenty of grip through those corners, the transmission matches output quite well, so the S60 can be a load of fun.
Still, it doesn’t offer much in the hyper-responsive feedback department, though Volvo promises an upcoming limited edition Polestar Engineered version will indeed provide just that.
Those looking for even less engagement, will appreciate the second generation of Volvo’s Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving system which works quite well if you get your thrills that way.
The BorgWarner all-wheel-drive system launches in full all-wheel-drive for ultimate traction, but quickly shifts to mostly front drive once moving.
This S60 is significantly longer than its predecessor, and most of that added length benefits rear seat passengers.
Not that front seat occupants don’t profit as well. You’ll find plenty of space here too, nestled in the extreme plushness of Volvo’s Comfort seats.
The 9-inch Sensus touchscreen mostly dominates the dash. An updated processor for all 2019 Volvo models, means faster start-up and speedier response. Still, it’s easy to get sidetracked with all of the scroll, scroll, hunt, hunting.
Trunk space is more than acceptable at 11.6 cubic-ft.
A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster comes stock with R-Design; with numerous modes, including bringing up the navigation map.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 21-City, 32-Highway, and 25-Combined for T6s; 24-City, 36-Highway, and 28-Combined for the T5s.
Following form, with very sensible pricing; T5 S60s start at just $36,795, T6s at $41,295, and T8s at $55,395. All prices thrillingly competitive for its class.
Seriously, we agree that the 2019 Volvo S60 is an exciting effort for Volvo; both in the performance of our test T6 R-Design, and the fact that they have made a serious American commitment in the new plant.
With the brand’s sales here up significantly over what even they projected, together they are bold moves for a brand that is clearly on the rise.
Engine: 2.0 liter
Torque: 295 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds for T5 & 4.4 seconds for T8
EPA: 21 mpg city / 32 mpg highway for T6