Volvo S60 review 2020

Find out more about the Volvo S60 in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Comfortable and drives well
  • Stylish looks inside and out
  • Good powertrains


  • Expensive
  • Depreciation
  • Only two powertrains currently available
Model review

The Volvo S60 first came onto the mid-size saloon segment in 2000The model acts as a successor to the similarly named S70 – a car which ran from 1997 to 2000 and was itself essentially a facelifted 850 saloon.  


Styling cues for the original version were taken from the ECC concept car, as well as the S60’s bigger sibling, the S80. In addition, the S60 is also built on the same platform as the S80.  


During the first generation’s lifetime, it went through a facelift in 2005, gaining body-coloured side mouldings and bumpers with chrome linings, among other changes. Then, the model was facelifted again in 2008, this time altering features such as the interior, which received a new pattern upholstery. 


For 2010, Volvo introduced the second generation S60. It got an all-new look inside and out, which was sharper and more interesting than its predecessor’s. The cabin featured the manufacturer’s sleek, stylish floating centre console as well. 


But now, for the 2019 model year, there’s a new S60 in town – a third generation – which is the current model.  

Current model

As mentioned before, the current car came about for the 2019 model year. It’s bang up to date with both the segment and other new Volvo models, featuring sleek looks, a premium interior and advanced powertrains. Speaking of which, it can be had with a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) setup which is both economical and quick (and expensive), but we’ll address that later.  


Get the S60 out on the road, and it proves to drive well. The car’s set up so that it can be both responsive and relaxing, and it works rather well. It feels fairly nippy, agile and eager to accelerate upon request, especially the PHEV version. It doesn’t quite match up to the BMW 3 Series in terms of driving enjoyment, but it’s not massively far off. 


Plus, it’s very comfortable, with suspension that does a good job of soaking up bumps and imperfections in the road. The cabin is also well insulated, meaning it proves quite the quiet cruiser 

Value for money

New S60 models start at £38,285. For that price point, buyers can expect to get the entry-level version – a T5 petrol automatic in R-Design Plus trim. In comparison to rivals, the S60 comes out on the more expensive side. For example, the BMW 3 Series starts at £32,565 and the Alfa Romeo Giulia is available from £33,595. 


On the used market, there are plenty of S60s to choose from across all three generations. Cheapest examples go for as little as about £600, which is a bargain – although don’t expect them to be in the best of conditions. For a current gen version, prices start at around £24,000. 

Looks and image

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we think most will agree that the S60 is one of the best-looking cars in its class. There’s nothing particularly radical or striking about the vehicle – it doesn’t even stand out that much from other saloons – but it’s typically modern Volvo, which is to say sleek, minimalistic and sporty. This is best demonstrated when the S60 is dressed in top of the range performance-inspired Polestar Engineered trim. 

Video review

Space and practicality

Those wanting the upmost practicality, should perhaps take a look at the S60’s estate sibling, the V60. However, that being said, the saloon is still very practical and spacious. The cabin is airy, although headroom may prove a tad tight if you’re over six foot. 


Boot space is also plentiful. At 442 litres – in comparison the V60 gets 529 litres – the S60 doesn’t offer quite as much space as the BMW 3 Series and its 480-litre boot, but most won’t notice the difference. Plus, the boot itself is a good, simple shape and so is the opening, making loading items a breeze.  



All S60s are either petrol- or PHEV-powered – there are no diesel units available. The entry-level motor, called the T5, is a 2.0-litre petrol producing 247bhp. It drives the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox, aiding a 0-60mph time of 6.5 seconds, which is fairly impressive for the base engine. 


On the other hand, buyers can opt for a plug-in hybrid version named the T8 TwinEngine. It combines petrol power – from a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-litre – with electric power to help achieve a 0-60mph time of 4.6 seconds, which is pretty rapid. In total, it gets 385bhp – 399bhp in the Polestar Engineered version.  

Running costs

Fuel economy is very good for an engine range which only consists of petrol options. Go for the base T5, and Volvo claims it should return circa 42.8mpg and emit 152g/km of CO2. While this isn’t on par with diesel alternatives, it should still be relatively cheap to run. 


But, those after the most MPGs out of their S60 will want the T8 motor. This PHEV powerplant is said to achieve around 156.9mpg and emit just 42g/km of CO2. Now, don’t expect to be able to hit that magic number of 156.9mpg as it’ll be incredibly hard to get unless you’re regularly topping up the batteries at home or at work, but running costs should be on par, if not above, what a diesel saloon is able to return.  

Things to look out for

In terms of the latest S60, it’s still a tad too early to make any accurate judgements about long-term reliability, or even reliability in general. We can, however, look at Volvo as a brand. With this in mind, S60 buyers shouldn’t have to worry, as the manufacturer has a good reputation when it comes to reliability and often scores well in driver satisfaction surveys. Plus, the S60 shares components with other modern Volvos which also are known to be reliable, such as the highly praised XC60.  



The saloon segment isn’t as booming as it perhaps used to be, but, that being said, the S60 still faces some tough competition from mainstream rivals such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class, as well as cars like the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Jaguar XE and Volkswagen Arteon. The S60 does manage to make a good case for itself thanks to its good looks, plush interior and economical powertrains, although, it is quite expensive. 



Looking through the classifieds, it seems that the S60 does get hit by deprecation fairly hard, most likely due to its high starting price new and the fact that it’s a car from a premium brand, which tend to see this sort of depreciation. So, while new car buyers may have to face losing a bit of cash when it comes to selling it on, it does benefit used car buyers, as they can find a good deal on a nearly new vehicle.    

Trims explained

There are three trim levels to choose from – R-Design Plus, Inscription Plus and Polestar Engineered.

'R-Design Plus'

This is the entry-level trim. Opting for it will get you kit such as a leather sports steering wheel, gearshift paddles, cruise control, sports chassis, keyless drive, front LED fog lights with cornering function, as well as front and rear park assist.

Available from £38,285

'Inscription Plus'

Step up to Inscription Plus, and expect equipment such as a leather gear knob, colour-coordinated door mirrors, chrome window surrounds, 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels and driftwood inlays to be added.

Priced from £39,185

'Polestar Engineered'

This is the range-topping trim level. It comes with a Polestar Engineered chassis and black chrome exhaust pipes, a design by Polestar grille, front tunnel net pocket and a fresh air subwoofer.

Starts at £56,105


  1. The Volvo S60 is a sleek, stylish Swedish saloon
  2. The original, first generation version arrived for the 2001 model year
  3. Volvo introduced the second iteration of the S60 for 2010, improving and building upon what its predecessor established
  4. The current, third generation car came about for the 2019 model year
  5. It’s arguably one of the best-looking models in its class
  6. It’s delightfully practical, although there is the estate version, the V60, if you need more space
  7. A sole petrol and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variant are available
  8. The PHEV is cheap to run, but an expensive box to tick
  9. New models start at £38,285
  10. Used examples can be had for as little as £600