KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
The S60 helped launched a styling revolution that transformed Volvo's image from boring box to stylish Swede. Relatively unchanged since its inception, the S60's design has held up well, although newer designs from Audi, BMW and Lexus certainly appear more contemporary. The S60, however, is about far more than just good looks. The car is well-known for its extensive safety features and excellent crash-test marks; it is also available in a number of turbocharged versions ranging from the comfortable all-wheel-drive 2.5T to the tire-smoking S60 R performance sedan. With a roomy cabin, notably comfortable front seats and a long list of comfort and convenience items, the S60 deserves to be near the top of every premium midsize sedan shopping list.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a premium sedan with some style, the S60's sculpted hood, trunk and aggressive wheel and tire packages give it a much bolder look than its understated German and Japanese rivals. The S60 is also a bit wider than most of its competitors, which translates into generous shoulder room.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for the neutral handling only a rear-wheel-drive sedan can provide, the high-powered T5's noticeable torque steer can, at times, become annoying. The all-wheel-drive S60 R somewhat eliminates this concern, but its clutch and shifter are not as refined as those of the BMW M or Audi S4. The 2.5T is also not as powerful as many similarly-priced V6 models.
What's Significant About This Car?
The S60 gets a slight exterior freshening featuring a revised grille and front headlamps, front and rear bumpers and new side mirrors with integrated turn signals. The S60's suspension has also been improved to provide better handling and a firmer ride. Volvo's Dynamic Stability Traction Control (DSTC) becomes standard across the line, as does a tire pressure monitoring system.
Those who crave power should opt for the top-of-the-line S60 R. Though the R's twin-turbo five-cylinder configuration is not as smooth or refined as its competitors' six and eight-cylinder engines, the 300 horsepower it generates should make up for any supposed and slight refinement issues. The all-wheel-drive system enhances the R model's ability to stick to the road but, push this car to the limits, and you may notice the steering response becoming less crisp. As good as it is, the S60 R seems perhaps not quite as communicative as its counterparts from BMW and Audi. Still, the R packs a lot of performance into a sedan that costs less than $40K, and it should prove satisfying to most enthusiast-oriented drivers. And, finally, with any Volvo you cannot forget or ignore the brand's exemplary safety reputation.
The amazingly comfortable sport seats on the Type R grab hold of you and seem to never let go.
The optional navigation system features a retractable screen positioned atop the dash instead of integrated into the audio.
No matter which S60 you choose, all models share two important traits: A roomy, ergonomically-sound interior and an exceptional safety record. The S60's front seats feel great on your back and feature an anti-submarine design to keep you from sliding under the dash during an accident. Functionally, the S60's near-perfect instrument panel has every switch, lever and button within easy reach of both driver and passenger. We love the placement of the optional navigation screen, which rises up from atop the dash rather than being integrated into the audio head unit.
The S60's new front end has a softer, more rounded appearance, although the familiar diagonal badge grille treatment remains firmly in place. The S60's shape is defined by its sharpened V-shaped hood and trunk lines that join to form a truly attractive sport sedan. The swept-back rear roof creates a nice fastback look and allows the rear doors plenty of glass to aid visibility. In recent years Volvo has produced a number of attractive new wheel designs to enhance the S60's appearance. The S60 R receives extra ground effects and a lower front and rear spoiler.
Notable Standard Equipment
The S60 has a five-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), Dynamic Stability Traction Control, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, illuminated remote keyless entry, rear fog light, dual heated power mirrors, AM/FM stereo with cassette and CD, front side-impact and front and rear head-curtain airbags, cruise control, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels, garage door opener and a power driver's seat. The T5 adds aluminum trim, power passenger seat, sport suspension and 17-inch alloy wheels. The premium R model has a 300-horsepower engine, six-speed manual transmission, all-wheel drive, Brembo brakes, xenon headlamps, leather seats and wider 17-inch alloy wheels.
Notable Optional Equipment
Options vary by trim and include a five-speed Geartronic automatic transmission (six-speed on the R), all-wheel drive, power glass moonroof, heated seats, headlamp washers, rain-sensing wipers, Pro Logic surround sound, navigation, active xenon headlamps, leather seats and custom alloy wheels.
Under the Hood
The 2.5T engine provides good acceleration and plenty of passing power. This engine works well with the automatic transmission, though the optional Geartronic's somewhat lazy shifts left us wishing for a manual option. The high-pressure turbo on the T5 seems to be the best choice for the S60, with better low-end torque than the 2.5T and more rush as the turbo builds boost pressure. The S60 R provides a big boost in power, but its performance-oriented nature and higher price tag will probably not appeal to the average S60 buyer.
2.5-liter in-line 5 Light-Pressure Turbo
208 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 (FWD), 20/27 (AWD)
2.4-liter in-line 5 High-Pressure Turbo
257 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 (manual), 20/28 (automatic)
2.5-liter in-line 5 Twin Turbo
300 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
295 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 (manual), 17/25 (automatic)
The S60 2.5T has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of $31,580, the T5 model starts at $33,430 and the high-performance S60 R has an MSRP of $39,680. To be sure you make your best deal, check the Fair Purchase Price, which shows the typical transaction price paid for the S60 in your area. As for resale values, the S60 does not perform as well as similar vehicles from Audi, Lexus, Infiniti and BMW, holding an average five-year residual value on par with the Cadillac CTS and Lincoln MKZ. The T5 and R models, however, do hold slightly higher residual values than the base 2.5T.