February 18, 2018


Volvo’s S60 is the Swedish firm’s response to the familiar German trio (BMW 3-Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class).

Boasting sharp looks, comprising steeply raked windscreen and rear window, a coupe-like profile, with a raised rear end and square-edge exhaust pipes, the S60 certainly grabs your attention visually far more than other Volvo models. This sportier R-Design spec has an even more purposeful, dynamic appearance, thanks to a body kit, rear spoiler and larger, 18-inch alloy wheels. Last year’s facelift included changes to the horizontal lines at both the front and rear, together with details such as a wider grille, daylight running lights and a new LED light guide on the tail lamps.



The S60 lineup comprises: entry-level Business Edition, mid-range SE and SE Lux, plus R Design, R Design Lux and R Design Lux Nav (tested here). There are four petrol and three diesel engine options to choose from.

Once inside you’re greeted by a luxurious, yet sporting cabin, which features very comfortable and supportive seats. There’s plenty of storage for odds and ends, including large cupholders, and generously sized cubbies. The car feels very well made, with a pleasing mix of leather, soft touch plastics, chrome and carbon effect trim.

Overall the S60’s interior is spacious and front occupants are well catered for. Once seated, taller rear passengers will find legroom only average though, especially if there’s someone tall sitting up front. However, the bench is supportive and comfortable. Surprisingly rear headroom is plentiful, despite the low swooping roofline, but entry and exit to and from the rear of the S60 is a tad restricted, due to narrow door apertures.

Rear seats can be lowered via switches in the boot, but the seats don’t fold completely flat. Also, because of the false floor, housing the spare wheel, boot space is quite shallow, although the load lip is wide.

Volvo’s trademark floating centre console consolidates a large amount of the dashboard’s switchgear into a central cluster, although lots of actual physical buttons remain. The infotainment screen is on the small side, but is located high up on the dashboard. Bundled with the £500 Sensus Connect option is Premium Sound by Harmon Kardon, which delivers a big improvement in quality over the standard audio system.

The S60 is packed full of clever active safety systems, dubbed IntelliSafe. Volvo’s world-first City Safety technology plays an important part. Fitted as standard, this works at speeds of up to 31 mph. There are lots of additional clever optional electronic driver safety aids in the S60 – most coming with the £1,900 optional Driver Support Pack. These include Pedestrian Detection with full auto brake, which watches out for people walking into the car’s path and automatically brakes the vehicle if there is an impending impact. Parking Assistance Camera (front blind view), enables the driver to get a better view of the road they’re emerging into. BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) alerts the driver to any vehicle lurking in the car’s blind spot. As part of the optional Winter Illumination Pack, you get Auto dimming Interior and exterior mirrors, which are very effective at preventing dazzle from following vehicles.

On the road the S60 R Design is a dynamic drive – unlike Volvos of old. There’s very good body control and the car responds sharply to driver inputs thanks to its direct steering and high levels of front-end grip, although like most modern electric power steering systems, the steering lacks much in the way of feel.

The 2.0-litre D4 diesel engine is quiet and smooth, yet with 181 bhp is capable of strong performance (0-62 mph in 7.4 seconds), coupled with class-leading efficiency (67.3 mpg) and low CO2emissions (99 g/km manual, 109 g/km auto). This Geartronic model’s eight speed automatic gearbox is smooth and efficient yet responsive for overtaking.

Around town and on poorer road surfaces the ride feels firm and unsettled, but calms down once on faster A roads and motorways, where the S60 proves to be an effective long distance mile-muncher.


The Volvo S60 R Design D4 Geartronic has a spacious and comfortable cabin, responsive driving dynamics, effortlessly strong performance and high-tech safety options, but counting against it are a smallish boot, slightly numb steering, and rather firm ride. Overall though, these niggles fail to detract from what’s a cracking executive saloon package from the Swedish firm.


Tech spec:

Volvo S60 D4 Geartronic R-Design Lux Nav
Priced from: £33,845
Model as tested, with options: £41,270
Engine: 1969cc, In-line 4 cyl. Turbodiesel
Gearbox: 8 speed automatic
Max power: 181PS
Max torque: 400Nm
0-62 mph: 7.4 seconds
Top speed: 143 mph
CO2 emissions: 109 g/km
Economy: 67.3 mpg (combined)

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