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2018 Volvo S60

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2018 Volvo S60 Expert Review

By Scott Oldham -- Contributing Editor

KBB Expert Rating: 8.5

Available in a wide variety of trim levels with a range of powerful yet fuel-efficient turbocharged and supercharged engines, the 2018 Volvo S60 is a sporty, stylish and sophisticated small-luxury sedan with available all-wheel drive and up to 362 horsepower. Its low starting price of around $35,000 also undercuts many of its competitors including the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Lexus IS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Six trim levels are offered on the new Volvo S60, Dynamic, R-Design, the race-car-inspired Polestar and the unique Cross Country, which combines the rugged style and high ride height of an off-road-ready SUV, only in sedan form. Volvo also offers the S60 Inscription and Inscription Platinum, which have a longer wheelbase and three inches of additional rear-seat legroom.

You'll Like This Car If...

With 240 horsepower, a comfortable interior and emotional styling the 2018 Volvo S60 Dynamic is a strong value at its starting price around $35,000. All S60’s are rated a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Those who think outside the sedan box will like the rugged, all-wheel-drive S60 Cross Country, which adds SUV-like ride height and ground clearance.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Although Volvo offers a plug-in hybrid version of its XC90 SUV, it does not offer an electrified powertrain in the S60. If you’re looking for that technology in this class, BMW offers a plug-in hybrid 3 Series and Mercedes offers a plug-in hybrid C-Class. Some may also find the Volvo’s infotainment system to be outdated compared to others in the class.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 8.5
  • 8.3
  • 8.9
  • 8.7
  • 8.4
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#4

out of 16

Fuel Economy

#9

out of 16

Horsepower
View all rankings
2018 Volvo S60 Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

Changes to the new Volvo S60 are minimal for 2018. Volvo has added a power passenger seat as well as heated front seats and a heated steering wheel to the option list of the S60 Cross Country model.

Driving the S60
2018 Volvo S60 Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

Luxury-sedan buyers who think only BMW, Mercedes and Audi can make a small-luxury sedan that’s powerful and fun-to-drive haven’t driven a 2018 Volvo S60. With a standard 240-horsepower...

... turbocharged engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission with manual mode, the S60 Dynamic is quick. The front-wheel-drive (FWD) model sprints from 0-60 mph in just 6.0 seconds. Impressively it also delivers 26-mpg city and 36 mpg on the highway. And the S60 likes the turns, with a sport-tuned suspension, standard 18-inch wheels and optional all-wheel drive (AWD), which costs an additional $2,000. Sport seats are standard in the Dynamic model. They’re exceptionally well designed and supportive without feeling snug or constricted. With 302 horsepower and standard AWD, the R-Design model is even quicker, and the tire-scorching 362-horsepower S60 Polestar can hit 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds. It’s the ultimate Swedish Driving Machine with AWD, Brembo brakes, Ohlins shocks, 20-inch wheels and high-performance summer tires.

CROSS TRAFFIC ALERT
Volvo’s reputation for safety is legendary. This optional safety system uses sensors in the S60’s rear bumper to scan the sedan’s surroundings and alert you of traffic approaching from the sides when reversing out of a parking space or out of your driveway. It really takes the stress out of crowded parking lots and tight spaces.

DRIVER ALERT CONTROL
Active at speeds over 40 mph, this clever system monitors your steering inputs to see how they compare to your regular driving style. If you’re driving erratically, or you’re showing signs of being drowsy or distracted, it’ll warn you audibly and with a message on the instrument panel suggesting you take a break.

2018 Volvo S60 Details
2018 Volvo S60 Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

With simple Swedish elegance, modern finishes and exceptional fit and finish, the interior of the new Volvo S60 is a quiet and comfortable sanctuary from the outside world. The front seats are exceptionally comfortable and supportive, the instrumentation is easy to see, and the climate and audio controls are mostly logical to operate. Unfortunately, the single-knob controller for the infotainment system can be frustrating to use at first, but you get used to it, and the 7-inch screen seems small. Bigger is definitely better when it comes to the latest Volvo Inscription models and their expanded rear seat. With three inches of additional legroom, the S60 goes from cramped to comfy for rear-seaters.

Exterior
2018 Volvo S60 photo

One of the more aggressively styled sedans in its class, the new 2018 Volvo S60 looks youthful and dynamic with a wide stance and a low, fast roofline. The sloping rear end showcases the currently fashionable "4-door coupe" profile and its dual-exhaust pipes speak of power. All Volvo S60 models get a front end with numerous LEDs for lighting functions. Lengthening the standard S60 could have gone badly, but the stretched S60 Inscription is well proportioned with its elongated roofline and rear doors. But our favorite in the sex-appeal department is the high-riding 2018 S60 Cross Country. Rugged, off-road-theme sedans aren't very common, but the Cross Country’s tall stance, big tires and fender extensions are eye-catching.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Buyers in the upscale-sedan market have high expectations, which the 2018 Volvo S60 handily meets. Being a Volvo, the 2018 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 will stop the car for you to avoid running someone over. Inscription models include three inches of additional rear legroom and upscale interior features, including a rearview camera, walnut wood inlays, additional sound deadening, a power rear-window sunshade, and silk-metal accents.

Optional Equipment

Options for Volvo’s 2018 S60 sedan lineup include 19-inch wheels for the Sport Package, which also adds paddle shifters and sporty chassis enhancements. You can add a Technology Package with its long list of safety systems including Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake. The Vision Package adds keyless entry and start, a rearview camera and rear parking sensors. Not surprisingly, the Swedish automaker also offers a package that adds heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. A harman/kardon premium audio system and a navigation system are also available along with such accessories as ski racks and a dog harness.

Under the Hood
2018 Volvo S60 Engine photo

Power for the Volvo S60 lineup is made up of three engine choices all based on the brand’s Drive-E 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. Dynamic, Inscription and Cross Country models get a 240-horsepower turbocharged version, while the T6 R-Design adds a supercharger to the mix for 302 horsepower. The Polestar sticks with just the turbocharger, but manages a whopping 362 horsepower. All three engines come connected to an 8-speed Geartronic automatic transmission with manual-shift mode.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (T5 Dynamic, T5 Inscription, Cross Country)
240 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/36 mpg (FWD), 23/31 mpg (AWD), 22/30 mpg (Cross Country, AWD)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (Polestar, AWD)
362 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
347 lb-ft of torque @ 3,100-5,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg

2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged inline-4 (T6 R-Design, AWD)
302 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 2,100-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 mpg

The 2018 Volvo S60 T5 Dynamic starts off reasonably enough with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $35,000 and around $48,500 for the S60 R-Design. The FWD Inscription T5 starts around $38,000, while the AWD Cross Country starts just over $45,000. The powerful S60 Polestar is about $60,000. It costs $2,000 to add all-wheel drive to models not so equipped, 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.

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