By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 7.7
The 2015 Volvo S60 sedan is largely carryover, with the exception of what's under the hood. The new Drive-E T5 and T6 4-cylinder engines are the first in a whole new series of powerplants from the Swedish manufacturer that will eventually replace all of its current engines. They're a nicely modern addition to this car, which already boasts one of the most accommodating interiors in its class. Performance is eager, with responsive handling and, topping it off, there's Volvo's long-standing reputation for the utmost in safety features and occupant protection. The 2015 S60 comes in both front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) – although the Drive-E engines are only available on front-drive models for now – all wrapped up in a sleekly elegant exterior and competitively priced.
For those who want a first-class and highly-attractive sports sedan in the European mode, and also want to stand out from the crowd, the 2015 Volvo S60 looks great, goes quick and sets the standard in safety features.
The 2015 Volvo S60 has the performance goods, but if you want an impressive badge to show to your friends, enemies and frenemies, you'll probably look elsewhere.
KBB Expert Ratings
With a thorough refresh last year, the only real change to the 2015 Volvo S60 is the addition of the Drive-E 4-cylinder engines. Available in either turbocharged T5 or turbocharged and supercharged T6 models, the new engines are the first of a family that will eventually replace all of Volvo's existing engines.
As good a time as we've had driving the Volvo S60 since it was introduced a few years back, the new Drive-E engines up the ante with smooth power deliver...
... and surprisingly good fuel economy. The front-wheel-drive T5 and T6 models feature the new engines, with the T6 offering just over 300 horsepower. It's plenty quick, too, with Volvo estimating the front-wheel-drive T6 will reach 60 mph from a standstill in just 5.6 seconds. All-wheel-drive models use the older drivetrains, but regardless of which model you choose, the S60 earns some pretty high marks. All of the S60 sedans are tuned for comfort, with a Sport package that amps up handling, but not at the expense of ride quality. For the die-hard corner carvers, the R-Design version and its Sports Chassis is the perfect choice. Still, we figure the Touring Chassis will be the best pick for most Volvo buyers.
These new 4-cylinder engines put Volvo and the S60 sedan in the forefront of engine technology. Smooth, refined, powerful and fuel-efficient, they change the game for the Swedish company, making it an even better alternative to German brands.
PEDESTRIAN DETECTION WITH FULL AUTO BRAKE
Saying the name takes longer than the feature takes to save a life. The technology alerts the driver to a potential collision with a pedestrian and stops the car as quickly as possible if the driver doesn't immediately react.
One of the most enduring attractions for Volvos has been their comfortable and highly supportive seats, and the 2015 S60 maintains that reputation, with T5 and T6 sedans fitted with standard sports-inspired seats that are engineered and built for the long-haul ride. Heated seats are available for both front and rear occupants. As you would expect, the instrumentation is easy to see and mostly logical to operate, although the single-knob controller for the infotainment system isn't very intuitive. Sound quality from the audio system, thanks to the application of Audyssey Laboratories' MultEQ technology, is clear and crisp throughout the range.
Clearly, boxy Volvo sedans are a thing of the long-ago past. The S60 is one of the sleekest sedans on the road. While it retains certain Volvo styling cues, the S60 is more than merely contemporary. The new front end looks smoother and cleaner and the detailing, including numerous LEDs for various lighting functions, shows much attention to the little things that matter. The sloping rear end, in the currently-fashionable "4-door coupe" profile, does, however, betray a somewhat smallish trunk.
The standard-equipment list for the 2015 Volvo S60 includes everything a potential upmarket-sedan buyer would reasonably expect, including every safety and occupant protection feature imaginable. Some of the more notable standard features include City Safety (which helps avoid low-speed collisions in slow, stop-and-go traffic), Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake (to sense an impending collision and alert the driver to help avoid or reduce the severity of a crash), and Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake (which can automatically stop the car if a pedestrian walks out into the vehicle's path).
For 2015, the Volvo S60 Premier trim level gains 17-inch Sadia aluminum-alloy wheels and other features. The Premier Plus level brings active dual xenon headlights and front and rear park assist. The Platinum level offers a premium 12-speaker, 650-watt sound system, navigation with real-time traffic and auto-dimming mirrors. The Technology Package includes Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, and the addition of Cyclist Detection to Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake. A new Sport Package for the sedan includes sport seats, paddle shifters, alloy wheels and the Dynamic chassis. There is also a Blind Spot Information System Package.
With the introduction of the Drive-E 4-cylinders, the 2015 Volvo S60 now offers four different engines. The turbocharged Drive-E T5 puts out 240 horsepower from its 2.0 liters, while the turbocharged and supercharged Drive-E T6 puts out 302. Both engines are available only in front-wheel-drive models, and are connected to a new 8-speed automatic transmission. AWD models get carryover engines: The T5 gets an inline 5-cylinder with 250 horsepower, while the T6 R-Design gets a 3.0-liter inline-6 making 325 horsepower. The AWD drivetrains all use a 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (FWD only)
240 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1.500-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/37 mpg
2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged inline-4 (FWD only)
302 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 2,100-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/35 mpg
2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5 (AWD only)
250 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
266 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (AWD only)
325 horsepower @ 5,400-6,500 rpm
354 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000-3,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg
With a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just over $34,000, the "base" 2015 Volvo S60 T5 is less expensive than its BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan competitors. That advantage diminishes as you climb the ladder though. The FWD S60 T6 and its 302-horsepower Drive-E engine starts at just more than $39,000, for example. All-wheel-drive models are basically the same story: The T5 AWD's base price starts around $35,500, while the T6 R-Design is closer to $44,000. Despite that, it's a good bet that incentives and discounting will keep the S60 at a very affordable price level in comparison to the German luxury cars. On a 5-Year Cost-to-Own basis, the Volvo S60 is a stellar buy. Low initial purchase price plus low maintenance and repair costs make the Volvo S60 a good choice, and its safety story is, of course, unsurpassed.