Volvo S60 saloon

Price  £21,255 - £36,725

Volvo S60 saloon

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Comfortable interior
  • Plenty of space for four
  • Lots of safety equipment
  • Boot is small compared to rivals'
  • Not as fun to drive as a BMW 3 Series
  • Hi-tech safety equipment costs extra

At a glance

"The Volvo S60 is a comfortable, stylish and understated alternative to a BMW, Mercedes or Audi."

The Volvo S60 is the Swedish brand's rival for the familiar German compact executive trio of the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class. As such, it's a premium, high-quality car that offers better performance and greater desirability than we've come to expect from Volvo.

However, the manufacturer is quick to point out that this car very much upholds its reputation for safety and comfort. So even though the S60 is more compact than many of its competitors, it's still comfortable and great at smoothing out rough roads.

Objectively, the S60 isn’t quite a match for its German rivals – especially when it comes to the driving experience – but it's by no means a bad car and will particularly appeal to those who like to do their own thing and not follow the herd.

There's a choice of four petrol and three diesel engines – as well as four-wheel drive on the rugged, range-topping Cross Country model. The 2.0-litre D2 diesel model is the most efficient and emits less than 100 grams per kilometre of CO2, so owners pay no road tax, but depending on how many miles you do per year, the T3 petrol may be more cost-effective, so make sure you do the sums before you buy.

Unfortunately, the S60's ride and handling aren’t quite up to making the most of this range of efficient and powerful engines – although it is a refined and comfortable car that's totally at home cruising for long distances on the motorway.

The S60 is available in Business Edition, SE, SE Lux, R-Design, R-Design Lux and Cross Country Lux specifications. As its name clearly suggests, Business Edition is aimed squarely at company-car users, with lots of standard kit so the car's tax liability isn’t increased with optional extras. SE and SE Lux are the most popular trims and the ones we think offer the best value for private buyers.

R-Design gives a sporty edge to the S60, adding unique alloys and an eye-catching bodykit to the package, while the Cross Country is a rugged version with a raised ride height that's designed to cope with light off-roading. It's available with either two or four-wheel drive.

Find out what we think is the best compact executive car by watching our video below.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.2 / 5

The most efficient Volvo S60 diesel model will return almost 75mpg

Engines, drive & performance

3.6 / 5

Powerful yet economical diesel engines are the pick of the Volvo S60 range

Interior & comfort

4.3 / 5

Road and wind noise is extremely hushed inside the Volvo S60

Practicality & boot space

3.1 / 5

The Volvo S60 has spacious rear seats, but boot space is limited

Reliability & safety

3.4 / 5

The Volvo S60 carries on the tradition of extremely safe Volvos and reliability should be pretty good, too

What the others say

3.6 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
The S60 balances the needs of driver appeal and on-board comfort unusually well. It handles crisply and has plenty of grip, while the suspension provides a smooth ride over any surface, yet controls body movement over big bumps and through corners well.
3.5 / 5
For those who prefer a comfortable life to ultimate cornering precision the Volvo should be at the top of your list. Despite all this talk of stiffened suspension, beefed up dampers and quicker steering the S60 is actually still a comfy place to spend time in.
3 / 5
Inside, the S60 offers a fine mix of wood, light-coloured leather and dark, soft-touch plastics. The seats are superbly comfortable – although taller drivers may find getting a perfect driving position is tricky, as the seat doesn’t go back far enough.
4 / 5
So is it sporting? No, but the damping control of the body is excellent and the steering feels more positive than any Volvo before. This is still a Volvo though and that means safety systems have priority over handling balance.
What owners say 
4.2 /5 based on 103 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
15 Jul 2015
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