By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 8.7
For 2016, the Volvo S60 gets two new models. First up is the 2016 S60 Cross Country, an off-road version of the S60 sedan with raised ride height, all-wheel drive (AWD), and tough-looking fender flares. The other is the luxurious 2016 S60 Inscription, which not only lays on a thick layer of luxury but also gets nearly three inches of additional legroom. This is good news, as the Volvo S60 is already a solid luxury car and something of a bargain as well, thanks to a starting price of around $35,000. With two powerful 4-cylinder engines, plus available all-wheel drive and a 6-cylinder engine, the S60 family is a strong alternative to luxury sedans like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Lexus IS.
If you're looking for a safe luxury sedan and must buy European, there's probably a 2016 Volvo S60 just for you. The longer S60 Inscription solves the rear-seat problem, and off-highway enthusiasts will like the Cross Country. Plus it's a Volvo, so safety is part of the deal.
The Volvo S60 is a familiar face, which means it blends in a bit too much for the flashy crowd. Additionally, while it has the performance goods, the Volvo badge doesn't have quite the cachet of its German rivals, sure to be off-putting to fashion-conscious buyers.
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The 2016 Volvo S60 luxury-sedan lineup heads into unexplored territory, quite literally with the new S60 Cross Country model thanks to its raised ride height and off-road-ready suspension. The 2016 S60 Inscription extends the S60's appeal by extending the car for an additional three inches of rear legroom.
The biggest advance in driving the Volvo S60 came last year, when the company debuted its new Drive-E family of 4-cylinder engines. Available in the front-wheel-drive (FWD) T5 and T6...
... models, the new engines pack a punch, with the T6 getting from a standstill to a freeway-friendly 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds. If you opt for all-wheel drive you'll end up with the older engines, but that's no reason to skip over them if you live where AWD is a necessity. Regardless of what you choose, you'll conduct business from one of the most comfortable driver's seats we've ever had the pleasure of sitting in, with a quiet and refined interior as well. An available Sport package amps up handling without ruining ride quality, but if you want the ultimate in Volvo handling, the R-Design version and its Sports Chassis is the perfect choice.
The long-wheelbase version of the Volvo S60 is something we've wanted for a while, since the standard S60's cramped rear seat is one of its few shortcomings. Along with premium materials and an emphasis on luxury, this Chinese-made model could be a hot seller.
PEDESTRIAN DETECTION WITH FULL AUTO BRAKE
Volvo's reputation for safety now extends even to those who aren't in the car itself. The company's pedestrian-detection system will slam on the brakes all by itself to prevent hitting someone if the driver doesn't react.
Bigger is definitely better when it comes to the new 2016 S60 Inscription and its expanded rear seat. With nearly three inches of additional legroom, the sedan goes from cramped to comfy for rear-seaters, allowing them to appreciate the rest of the finely crafted interior. The driver's seats are exceptionally comfortable and supportive, and the instrumentation is easy to see and mostly logical to operate, although the single-knob controller for the infotainment system isn't very intuitive. Audyssey Laboratories' MultEQ technology helps make the audio system's quality clear and crisp throughout the range.
Lengthening the standard S60 could have gone badly, but the S60 Inscription actually looks quite nice, with the elongated roofline and rear doors nicely proportioned. The S60 Cross Country, on the other hand, is definitely peculiar-looking. High-riding sedans aren't very common, but Volvo says it sees a market, and the addition of ride height and fender extensions is definitely eye-catching. All Volvo S60 models get a front end with numerous LEDs for various lighting functions. The sloping rear end showcases the currently fashionable "4-door coupe" profile, but also betrays a smallish trunk.
Buyers in the upscale-sedan market have high expectations, which the 2016 Volvo S60 handily meets. Being a Volvo, the 2016 S60 starts with safety, including three active systems: City Safety helps avoid low-speed collisions in slow, stop-and-go traffic; Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake senses an impending collision and can brake to reduce the severity of a crash; and Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake that also auto-brakes [see Favorite Features]. Inscription models include upscale interior features as well as more room, including a rearview camera, walnut wood inlays, additional sound deadening, a power rear-window sunshade, and silk-metal accents.
Options for the 2016 Volvo S60 lineup include new 19-inch wheels for the Sport Package, which also adds paddle shifters and sporty chassis enhancements. You can add Volvo's Park Assist Pilot self-parking feature to the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) package. A Convenience package adds keyless entry and start, a rearview camera and power-folding exterior mirrors. Not surprisingly, the Swedish automaker also offers a cold-weather package that adds heated front seats, windshield, steering wheel and windshield-wiper nozzles. Stand-alone options include different-sized wheels, a harman/kardon audio system (get this), and a variety of accessories.
Power for the Volvo S60 lineup is a bit confusing. The new Drive-E engines are only available in the front-wheel-drive models, with the Drive-E T5 putting out 240 horsepower from its 2.0 liters, while the turbocharged and supercharged Drive-E T6 puts out 302. Both engines come connected to a new 8-speed automatic transmission. If you want all-wheel drive, the T5 comes with the older 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
The 2016 Volvo S60 T5 starts off reasonably enough with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $35,000. The FWD Inscription Premiere T5 starts at just under $40,000, while the Cross Country starts at about $45,000. It is roughly $1,500 to add all-wheel drive, but even then the Volvo S60 generally undercuts competitors like the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, although some Lexus and Infiniti models are more price competitive. Before buying, be sure to check out KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price tool to see what others in your area are paying. Based on 5-Year Cost-to-Own, the Volvo S60 is a stellar buy. The 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.