Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Volvo S60 saloon review

"The Volvo S60 is an impressive all-rounder but the hybrid models hold the most appeal, particularly as company cars"

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Owners Rating

5.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Beautiful interior
  • Generous specification
  • Impressive acceleration

Cons

  • Lacklustre handling
  • Smaller boot than rivals
  • Real-world fuel economy doubts for hybrids

The Volvo S60 saloon – sister to the Volvo V60 estate – was touted as an important model in the brand's range, one tasked with tempting buyers away from the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4. Sadly for Volvo, this current generation of S60 hasn’t struck a chord with European buyers; one source says only 7,200 S60s were registered in Europe in 2020, compared with over 118,000 examples of the 3 Series.

Advertisement - Article continues below

That makes the V60 an unusual choice but it’s still a compact executive saloon with plenty of appeal. Like all current Volvos, it’s smart and eye-catching, and the interior is just as upmarket as its rivals. There’s plenty of technology on board and a plug-in hybrid model provides great tax benefits for company-car drivers, who are the main target market in this class. The V60 is expensive compared with a 3 Series, however, and not as good to drive.

Volvo is undoubtedly one of the first marques that comes to mind when plug-in hybrid technology is mentioned. The Swedish brand has now electrified its entire range, so every model is available as a plug-in hybrid or fully electric car.

Volvo took the decision not to offer diesel engines in its new models in 2018, so there’s a petrol-powered S60 called the B5 and a powerful T8 hybrid. The petrol B5 has 247bhp, making it a punchy performer, and fuel consumption of up to 42.1mpg isn't too bad at all. Not offering a diesel model seems to have affected S60 sales, although a similar number of Alfa Romeo Giulia models are sold each year and that car offers petrol and diesel engines.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

More reviews

The Recharge T8 has a huge 449bhp from a combination of an electric motor and a petrol engine. A Polestar Engineered version was previously available, offering sporty upgrades. If you choose the T8, it's the only plug-in hybrid model that can rival the performance of such sporty premium saloons as the Mercedes-AMG C43 and BMW M340i. It’s also a rival to the Mercedes C-Class C 300 e and BMW 330e plug-in hybrids, although it’s much faster and has a price to match.

Rather than looking like a shrunken Volvo S90, the S60 has an individual look of its own, with sportier proportions and shorter overhangs front and rear. All the recent Volvo styling cues are present and correct, including the 'Thor's Hammer' headlight design. In R-Design trim, there's a subtle bodykit and rear lip spoiler that doesn't overplay the sporty theme, which makes the fact that the T8 can race from 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds all the more surprising. From 2022 there are just two trim levels, called Plus and Ultimate.

Yet this is a car for which Volvo claims 400mpg (that’s not a typo) and exhaust emissions from as low as 17g/km. That comes courtesy of an all-electric range of up to 56 miles on a full charge - more than most plug-in hybrids. Those emissions mean the S60 T8 can slip into a lower Benefit-in-Kind bracket than the BMW and Mercedes plug-in hybrids, so the Volvo brings a remarkably low rate of company-car tax for a car with this much performance.

The S60 has an interior that compares well with its rivals in terms of quality, and it arguably beats them for layout and aesthetic appeal. It's virtually unchanged from the V60 estate, with restrained, upmarket looks and a high-tech feel thanks to a big, portrait-oriented central display that controls infotainment and convenience features and runs Google-based software.

There's no shortage of driver-assistance technology either; Volvo's 'Pilot Assist' system is on hand to make motorway driving safer and more relaxing, and nobody aboard will complain of tight interior space. In what may seem a break from tradition, neither the S60 saloon nor V60 estate are the most capable load carriers in their class.

We remain unconvinced that the S60 Recharge T8 really stacks up as an alternative sports saloon. The less expensive BMW 330e isn't much slower, is more appealing to drive, and still offers tax advantages to those who can make use of them.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Hot car deal: DS 9 executive saloon for just £292 a month
DS 9 saloon - front 3/4
Deals
24 May 2024

Hot car deal: DS 9 executive saloon for just £292 a month

Top 10 best plug-in hybrids 2024
Best plug in hybrids
Best cars
23 May 2024

Top 10 best plug-in hybrids 2024

BYD Seal U review – lots of kit, but vague to drive
BYD Seal U front quarter driving
In-depth reviews
21 May 2024

BYD Seal U review – lots of kit, but vague to drive

Peugeot 508 hatchback review – a sleek, efficient compact executive car
Peugeot 508 2024 front quarter
In-depth reviews
13 May 2024

Peugeot 508 hatchback review – a sleek, efficient compact executive car

Most Popular

Speed awareness course: what to expect and who’s eligible?
Police car - open boot
Tips and advice
17 May 2024

Speed awareness course: what to expect and who’s eligible?

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
24 May 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

Cat S and Cat N cars explained: guide to buying an insurance write-off
Cat S and Cat N car
Tips and advice
15 May 2024

Cat S and Cat N cars explained: guide to buying an insurance write-off

More on S60

Volvo S60 saloon (2010-2018)
In-depth reviews
29 Apr 2019

Volvo S60 saloon (2010-2018)

“The Volvo S60 is a handsome, comfortable and subtle alternative to conventional executive saloons from Audi, BMW and Mercedes”
The new Volvo S60 will cost from £37,920
Volvo S60 R-Design
News
14 Mar 2019

The new Volvo S60 will cost from £37,920

The US-built Volvo S60 saloon will launch in R-Design Edition spec in May
Volvo overhauls engine range - full details
News
28 Apr 2015

Volvo overhauls engine range - full details

Swedish brand makes comprehensive replacements - new Drive-E engines more fuel efficient
Volvo S60 and V60 Cross Country - full details
News
24 Apr 2015

Volvo S60 and V60 Cross Country - full details

Volvo adds four-wheel drive and raised suspension to its mid-sized saloon and estate models
Volvo tests driverless cars
News
7 May 2014

Volvo tests driverless cars

Technology will be installed on new Volvo XC90 and previews completely autonomous car
Volvo announces efficient new engine range
News
28 Oct 2013

Volvo announces efficient new engine range

Powerful Volvo D4 diesel engine is now capable of less than 100g/km CO2

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024