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View all Volvo S60 reviews
Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3

Volvo's 3 Series rival is more than just a left-field choice

Volvo S60 Saloon (19 on) - rated 4.3 out of 5
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PROS

  • New Volvo saloon is distinguished by gorgeous styling
  • Interior looks good and is spacious compared to rivals
  • R-Design handling is sporting and has good body control

CONS

  • Keen drivers might miss last degree of road feel
  • Range limited to just one petrol-engined model
  • Some buyers might miss the option of a diesel version

PROS

  • New Volvo saloon is distinguished by gorgeous styling
  • Interior looks good and is spacious compared to rivals
  • R-Design handling is sporting and has good body control

CONS

  • Keen drivers might miss last degree of road feel
  • Range limited to just one petrol-engined model
  • Some buyers might miss the option of a diesel version

Other Volvo S60 models:

Verdict

After the strong performance of the Volvo V60 estate car and XC60 SUV, we’ve been expecting great things from its new saloon-bodied cousin. The 2019 Volvo S60 needs to be good, though, because if it’s going to break the stranglehold of the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3 Series.

And Volvo isn’t alone at wanting to beat the German premium market establishment. To that aim, the S60 will have to see off other impressive rivals such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Jaguar XE and Lexus ES – all cars that have strong USPs and image to match. The good news for Volvo is that in its latest generation of models, it’s been able to tick those boxes.

Volvo says that the new US-built S60 saloon is good enough to disrupt this market sector, and it’s easy to see why. It looks disarmingly handsome inside and out, and it’s a company first (well, one in a very long time) in being unavailable with diesel engines. So far, only Lexus offers this petrol-only approach in this market sector.

Volvo S60 – maximising design, tech and safety

One area where Volvo is doing so well is in its design. All its new models look handsome and interesting, and the S60 continues the theme, thanks its sharp-V60 like front end, which combines with flowing flanks and almost Jaguar-like haunches. It’s topped off by a truncated boot for a sporty profile – something BMW has mastered with the 3 Series.

These looks are a real departure for the company that’s made such a name in recent years with its SUV and estate car styling. These curves might be un-Volvo like, but the headlight signatures, grille and rear lights bring it all back into line – so as not too scare the traditionalists too much – and after spending extended time with the S60, its looks just get better with familiarity.

Safety remains a strong point, and although the S60's not been specifically tested by Euro NCAP, it shares the closely-related V60's five-star rating. Included in its safety regime - as of 2020 - the S60's top speed will be limited to 112mph. It's part of Volvo's Vision 2020 scheme - the aim of which is to not have an occupant of a Volvo car to be seriously injured or killed by 2020.

Tell us more about the new Volvo S60

Volvo S60 interior

The S60 is now on sale in the UK, but is currently only available in 250hp T5 form. That will be joined by the T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid (which you can order now), plus a Polestar Engineered T8, which is also available to order now. The top model will boast an impressive 405hp from its petrol/electric plug-in drivetrain, but for now, if you want an S60, it's petrol only.

Volvo says that an entry-level T4 boasting 190hp should join the range in 2020, and it's looking to extend its plug-in hybrid range with the 320hp T6 Twin Engine model – but won't confirm when that's coming to the UK. We've already driven that one in the USA, and concluded that it's flawed but appealing.

Inside, it's familiar territory for anyone who's driven a V60 or XC60, with the same mix of interesting trims and materials, light and airy design, and the large, portrait-format infotainment screen. For now, the model range looks simple: Inscription Plus and R-Design Plus for the T5 and Twin Engine and Polestar Engineered for the T8 plug-in hybrid.

Is the petrol-only S60 a good company car?

The numbers aren't great, but as Volvo says, the S60 is more likely to appeal to private buyers. The T5 R-Design Plus's CO2 figure is 155g/km and sits in the 34-35% tax bracket. But Volvo is predicting strong resale values, which makes it decently cheap in personal lease and PCP deals.

The Polestar Engineered costs £56,105 from launch in May 2019. Being a PHEV, you'll get a headline-grabbing CO2 figure of 45g/km, which means it encourages 16% BIK – so expect them to start appearing  in a company car park near you soon.

What the S60 is like to drive?

You can read what the Volvo S60 is like on the road in the Driving and Performance section, but needless to say, it's an accomplished effort that's surprisingly different to drive to its V60 estate-car cousin. In T5 R-Design form, it's planted and composed, feeling pretty much the fully-rounded sports saloon.

It's not perfect. Even in the most sporting drive mode, the gearchange can sometimes be slow to respond, leaving keen drivers almost obliged to use paddleshifters when overtaking or pressing on. It’s quiet and unobtrusive, though, but a downside is that the four-cylinder engine sounds dull, and doesn’t really encourage spirited driving.

The T8 Polestar Engineered is a big upgrade over the standard S60, and in many ways, a viable alternative to established performance saloons, such as the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C43. You get sharp steering, grippy, four-wheel drive traction, sublime body control and lots of ability. It still feels a heavy car, with all the issues that come with that, but far less leaden than the standard S60, and you should be able to have some fun when it comes to it.

Volvo S60 Polestar

How much does the Volvo S60 cost?

Volvo S60 prices place it at the heart of the premium market, starting at £37,920 for the T5 R-Design Edition. Volvo says that the S60's PCP finance rates come in at £299 a month (based on a customer deposit of £7,650, a 48-month contract and 10,000 miles per annum), while on personal leasing, you can get an R-Design Plus for £291 (based on an initial payment of £4,500, a 24-month contract and 10,000 miles per annum) with our leasing partner, ZenAuto*.

The Parkers VerdictShould you buy a Volvo S60 saloon?

Yes, if you're looking to move away from the established premium set and don't want to compromise. The Volvo S60 is more than good enough to earn its place at the top table of the premium executive car class. It’s supremely handsome inside and out, with a particularly well-judged interior, and once you’re used to the Sensus infotainment system, and accept there's no diesel version, and you'll have to wait a few months for the plug-in hybrid, it should be a highly-rewarding choice.

Positive points are its impressive crash-avoidance technology, and semi-autonomous Pilot Assist system, which has been incrementally improved for the S60. We can see buyers plucking for an S60 on the strength of its looks alone, but its ability to satisfy are deeper than that – it's relaxing and rewarding to drive, reasonably economical and roomy for your family…

The T5's CO2 figure of 152-155g/km is on the high side for company car drivers, and private owners might find the £530 per year it costs to tax a bit on the steep side compared with its diesel rivals, though. But overall, it's a strong effort from Volvo, well worth looking at as an alternative premium saloon. We'd probably take one over a Jaguar XE or Alfa Romeo Giulia, but going against the tougher German opposition is an altogether different matter. Luckily, we don't all buy on rational grounds.

Volvo S60 rear view

Continue reading for the full Volvo S60 Saloon review

*Deals are correct at time of publication. Everyone’s financial circumstances are different and credit is not always available – Parkers cannot recommend a deal for you specifically. These deals are indicative examples of some packages available this week. Bauer Consumer Media Limited is an appointed representative of ZenAuto Limited for the broking of regulated hire agreements. ZenAuto Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. ZenAuto Limited's registered office is Number One, Great Exhibition Way, Kirkstall Forge, Leeds LS5 3BF. ZenAuto Limited's company registration number is 10967345. ZenAuto is the trading name of ZenAuto Limited. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply.

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