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Volvo S60 2019 review

By Elise Elliott, 19 Sep 2019 Car Reviews

Volvo S60 2019

Long before the birth of the SUV, Volvo made its reputation with sensible, safe but sometimes staid sedans. The S60, though, is nothing like its forebears

WHAT IS IT?

It's Volvo’s new generation mid-sized sedan.

The Volvo S60 comes with two different engines and three different levels of specification: the entry-level T5 Momentum, the T5 Inscription, the T5 R-Design and the more dynamic T8 R-Design.

volvo s60

I tested the top-spec T8 R-Design plug-in hybrid, which uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo- and supercharged petrol engine, coupled with an electric motor.

Reviewed 2019 Volvo S60

I confess I wasn’t overly excited about meeting my S60 date at Adelaide airport and driving to the Barossa Valley for lunch.

When I think of the Swedish car manufacturer I think of safety. Sexy? No.

volvo s60

After all, the Volvo 240 was our family wagon throughout the 1970s. It was a brick on wheels. In addition to the Volvo Factor, sedans seem somehow spiritless in a world where SUVs and hatchbacks reign supreme.

Volvo, however, wants to reinvigorate that body style.

volvo s60

And to be honest, I was delightfully surprised to meet the muscular, dynamic, yet elegant S60 waiting for me at the valet parking lot. Perhaps it's not a dull date after all…

Read next: Volvo introduces fixed-price servicing package

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

The T8 is a powerful beast. Athletically hunched on those 19-inch alloy wheels it sports a grrr-looking grille and dual integrated tail pipes. Once out of the stop-start stultifying suburbs, the T8 feels smooth meandering through the Adelaide Hills.

What’s exciting is the claim of 0-100km/h in just 4.3 seconds. I put this to the test and floored it while slicing through the golden canola fields and wineries; yep, it’s damn quick.

volvo s60

As expected with a Volvo, the safety gear is top shelf and includes auto emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, head-up display and 360-degree parking camera. Adaptive cruise control is a breeze to set. Unfortunately, though, wrestling with the overly burly lane-keeping assistant is exhausting.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO LIVE WITH?

The interior doesn’t disappoint. I appreciate the luxe look of the leather trim used on the seats, steering wheel and stubby gear knob. Metal mesh inlays top off the sophisticated feel.

Keyless entry and hands-free tailgate opening are a bonus.

Read more: Volvo S60 Range Review

The 9.0-inch multimedia touchscreen is orientated vertically, which initially I found unsettling. There is a lot of swiping side-to-side, too — a pet irritation of mine. Annoyingly, ventilation controls are run through this system as well.

volvo s60

Mercifully, there is still a good old-fashioned volume knob and the dash isn’t too busy. The entertainment system supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

I think Volvo is smart enough to know drivers prefer bringing their own tech to the party. I am a creature of habit and run Google Maps through the system to make sure I don’t veer off the beaten track on my way to St Hugo’s winery.

The boot is a so-so 390 litres, thanks to the intrusion of the electric engine’s battery. Staring into this less-than-cavernous cargo space, and contemplating the general lack of storage, it occurs to me the S60 isn’t the ultimate family car.

The back seat isn’t overly roomy, either. This car better suits cool couples whose kids have flown the nest.

volvo s60

IS IT WORTH THE MONEY?

The S60 range kicks off at a very competitive $54,990 (plus on-road costs) for the entry-level T5 Momentum. This is cheaper than German competitors like the Mercedes-Benz C200 ($64,500), Audi's A4 35 TFSI ($56,100) and BMW's 320i ($64,900).

The T8, however, is a pricier $85,990 (plus on road costs).

volvo s60

If you desire the premium pack — which includes panoramic sunroof, rear window sun curtain, a big-sounding Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system and metallic paint — the T8 will set you back $92,490 (plus on-road costs). That’s getting up there in terms of pricing.

MORE Volvo introduces fixed-price servicing

Thanks to electric power that can run the car for around 40 kilometres, claimed fuel consumption is a staggeringly — and almost questionably — low 2.1L/100km. Guaranteed, once you've exhausted the battery's reserves and you're exclusively sipping premium unleaded, the consumption will jump to a figure that's closer to eight or nine litres per 100km.

volvo s60

Volvo is committed to electrifying its entire product line-up. While I wouldn’t gush about my car date in such terms, the S60 is definitely a sporty, seductive ride. I feel we have arrived at the winery in style.

Indeed, the Swede has delivered an oxymoron: a sexy Volvo sedan.

PROS: Fuel-efficient; fast as; sleek, muscular design

CONS: It’s a sedan; short on storage; pricing not as competitive at the top of the scale

RATING 3.5/5 

Elise has been a journalist across the trifecta of TV, radio and print for more than twenty-five years. When not shackled to her computer or beloved kid, you’ll find this working mum indulging her other passions — skiing powder off piste or trying to catch a wave on her 8’ Mini Mal.

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