I am TFL’s resident Volvo nerd. My first car was a Volvo 240 and I find myself interested in much of what the Swedish brand has to offer. So, I was very excited when Volvo flew me out to Santa Monica, California to drive the all new 3rd generation 2019 Volvo S60 Sedan and 2019 Volvo V60 Wagon.
I spent most of my time driving the S60, with only about two hours spent in the wagon. However, the two vehicles are nearly identical in most measurable statistics. As a result, they drive very similar. I will detail the major differences later on, stay patient.
The 2019 Volvo S60 has finally been updated to match the rest of Volvo’s lineup in the styling department. This design language originated with the introduction of Volvo’s scalable product architecture (SPA) back in 2014. The most distinctive feature has to be the “Thor’s Hammer” t-bar headlight design. I had a chance to speak with Volvo’s design director, T. Jon Mayer. He informed me that there are a few throwbacks to older Volvo models that can be seen on the 2019 S60 and V60. Most notably, the design takes inspiration from the Volvo P1800 series, both the S, and the ES. Take a look at both side by side and the similarities are noticeable. Furthermore, those headlights that are so prominent in this design take influence from some of Volvo’s older, vertical tail light designs from cars like the Volvo 850.
There are three powertrains on the S60, T5 FWD, T6 AWD & T8 eAWD. The T5 powertrain is front-wheel drive only and features a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to those four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. The T6 is all-wheel drive only. It features the same 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder but Volvo has also added a supercharger to this engine. The ‘twin-charged’ motor makes 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed auto sends power to all four wheels. The T8 is a strange motor. It uses the twin-charged motor from the T6 in combination with an electric motor at the back axle. Total output is 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque. In this arrangement, the front wheels are powered by the gas motor, thanks to that 8-speed auto. The rear wheels are powered by the electric motor alone.
Volvo could not tell us MPG at this time. But, we make a good guess thanks to the S90. That is the S60’s larger sibling and it uses the exact same powertrains as the S60. However, the S90 weighs about 400 lbs more than the S60. The S90 T5 gets 27 MPG combined, while the T6 gets 25 MPG combined. The T8 is the most efficient at 29 MPG combined or 71 MPGe. It is fair to assume, given the weight difference, that the S60 will perform a bit better than the S90.
Ride & Handling
The S60 has been set up with a double wishbone front suspension and an integral link rear suspension. That’s all great but what does it mean for the ride? I am happy to report that the ride is exceptionally comfortable, and relatively quiet. Bumps are soaked up nicely, while still delivering positive feedback to the driver through the chassis. When the road gets twisty, this complicated suspension setup keeps bodyroll to a minimum, making the S60 feel planted.
The front-biased drivetrain detracts a little from the sporty experience though. I would equate the driving dynamics to be closer to an Audi A4 than a BMW 3-series.
For 2019, Volvo has made the S60 considerably larger. This new model is 4.9-inches longer overall and 3.8-inches longer in wheelbase. The result is a significantly larger interior and a significantly larger trunk. In stark contrast to the last generation, I was comfortably able to sit behind my 6’2″ self. Plus the trunk gained 3.6 cu-ft of cargo space, reaching a total of 15.6 cu-ft, class leading in its segment.
Oddly, Volvo have made the new S60 slightly over an inch shorter than the old one. But, thanks to a lower seat, there is actually a little more headroom than the previous model.
The S60 is a compact luxury sport sedan. Key competitors include the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Infinity Q50, Genesis G70, Cadillac ATS & the Alfa-Romeo Giulia.
I think the S60 makes a compelling offer in this very competitive segment. The styling, drive experience, and luxury feel are all right there with the best and, as we’ll discuss shortly, the value proposition is pretty compelling as well.
Base pricing on the S60 is dependent on your trim level, as well as your choice of engine. There are the three engines I mentioned above, plus three trims: Momentum (base), R-Design (sporty), and Inscription (luxury). To make it easy to read, I have made a table.
|T5 FWD||T6 AWD||T8 eAWD|
We don’t know pricing on the V60 just yet. However, the previous generation was $3,000 more expensive than its sedan counterpart. We expect the price difference to be similar.
Polestar Engineered (PE)
Volvo presented us with a very special, very limited, high-performance version of the S60 T8 called the Polestar Engineered trim. I’ll let you down easy right away. Volvo is only going to bring 20 of these to the US in 2019. And they’re all sold out. In fact, they sold out within 40 minutes of being released on June 28th, 2018.
The Polestar Engineered S60 comes with some really cool performance upgrades, though. Gold, 6-piston Brembo brakes, manually adjustable Öhlins dampers, gold seatbelts, special 20-inch alloy rims. Plus, a slight power bump. The PE trim comes with 415 horsepower and 494 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 in 4.3 seconds. It is a proper fast Volvo and I feel lucky to have driven one.
There is hope for those who want to buy one still. Volvo hinted that there is a possibility that they will bring over more of them, if there is enough customer demand.
The 20 that are coming were released through Volvo’s new subscription service, Care by Volvo.
What is Care by Volvo?
Think of Care by Volvo like a 2-year all-inclusive lease. You give Volvo a monthly payment and receive your car, insurance (in any state), 24-hour concierge service, maintenance, and wear & tear items like tires and wipers. You are allowed 15,000 miles per year with this plan.
Volvo allows you to resign after 12 months, at which point you can swap cars, and sign on for another 2 years. Or, you can wait until the end of your contract and buy your car outright from Volvo.
Right now, pricing for the S60 will start at $775/month for the Momentum trim and $850/month for R-Design. The 20 lucky bastards that found themselves a Polestar Engineered will pay $1,100/month for the privilege.
What if I want a wagon?
The 2019 Volvo V60 felt very similar to the S60, so much that I didn’t feel it warranted its own article, but rather a paragraph. First, some key similarities. Obviously the two cars share a chassis. They are the same length (overall and wheelbase) and they weigh roughly the same amount. Oh, and both can be had in any of the three trims mentioned above.
There are plenty of differences. The V60 is a wagon, so cargo space is much larger, 23.2 cu-ft behind the rear seats. The V60, does not have, and likely will not be receiving, a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Only the T5 and T6 engines are available. Though they make exactly the same amount of power.
The V60 does have one particularly interesting feature setting it apart, a seat upholstery known as ‘city weave’. This is a modern looking cloth pattern available exclusively on the V60 that I found to be really cool actually (’cause I’m a nerd for this stuff). When asked why they brought it over only on the wagon, Volvo told us it was because they figured someone making the choice to buy a wagon, would also probably be interested in some obscure cloth choice too. I think they were right.
The last major difference I want to point out is the fact that the two vehicles, despite sharing so many parts, are built on two different continents. The S60 is going to be the first Volvo built in the US in the new Charleston, SC plant. The V60, by contrast, will be built in Torslanda, Sweden and Gent, Belgium.
I found these two cars to be stylish, fun to drive, comfortable for long distances, utilitarian in many regards and wonderfully Swedish. The S60 and V60 offer a good value for money and come with a competitive set of standard features for their segment. I would urge anybody to look into the Volvo options, not just those trying to avoid BMW, Mercedes or Audi.
To hear more of my thoughts on the 2019 Volvo S60, please watch the full video review above.
Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for the latest news, views & real-world reviews and, of course, a full review after we have these cars in the office for a week.