KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
Launched in late 2000 for the 2001 model year, the Volvo S60 helped launched a styling revolution that transformed the brand'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, and its turbocharged engines provide both performance and good fuel economy, an ever-important attribute for fuel-conscious buyers. With a roomy cabin, notably comfortable front seats and a long list of comfort and convenience items, the 2008 Volvo 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 2008 Volvo 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 deletion of a manual transmission may also deter purists. The 2.5T is also not as powerful as many similarly-priced V6 models.
What's Significant About This Car?
The high-performance S60 R is no more. All 2008 Volvo S60 models receive upgraded audio units, while T5 models feature leather sport seating, a power sunroof and a five-speed Geartronic automatic transmission.
Both the 2.5T and T5 offer good handling and acceleration, with the more powerful T5 providing a bit more thrill. Torque steer (a front-wheel-drive car's tendency to pull to one side or the other) is evident during hard acceleration, but the traction and stability control system helps mitigate the problem. The S60's steering does not feel as connected and precise as those of the BMW 3 Series or Infiniti G35, but its smooth ride and comfortable cabin certainly compare well with the Lincoln MKZ and Audi A4. Without a manual transmission, the S60's sporting intensions are somewhat muted, although the five-speed Geartronic transmission does allow for manual gear shifting. Volvo's excellent front seats cradle the occupants without pinching and provide excellent support on long drives.
The leather sport seats on the T5 strike a good balance between comfort and body-holding ability.
The optional navigation system features a retractable screen positioned atop the dash instead of integrated into the audio unit.
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. 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 2008 Volvo S60's front end has a soft, 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 and bold exterior colors to enhance the S60's appearance.
Notable Standard Equipment
The 2008 Volvo S60 has a five-speed Geartronic 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 CD and auxiliary input jack, 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's seat, leather sport seats, a power sunroof, auto-dimming rear view mirror with compass, sport suspension and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Notable Optional Equipment
Options vary by trim and include all-wheel drive, power glass sunroof, heated seats, headlamp washers, rain-sensing wipers, Pro Logic surround sound, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, navigation, Active Bi-Xenon headlamps with washers, rear park assist, 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 Geartronic automatic transmission, though somewhat lazy shifts left us wishing for a manual option. The high-pressure turbo of the T5 model 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.
2.5-liter in-line 5 Light-Pressure Turbo
208 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1500-4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (FWD), 18/26 (Geartronic, AWD), 17/26 (automatic, AWD)
2.4-liter in-line 5 High-Pressure Turbo
257 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2100-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26
The 2008 Volvo S60 2.5T's base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price ranges from just over $31,500 for the front-wheel-drive version to about $33,500 for the all-wheel-drive model. Pricing for the sporty T5 starts just under $35,000 and tops out near $39,000 when fully loaded. The S60's pricing and features are competitive with the Audi A4, Lincoln MKZ and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. 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, however, does hold slightly higher residual values than the base 2.5T.