Home / Auto / Volvo S60 2019 REVIEW – Diesel-free saloon is one of Volvo's best

Volvo S60 2019 REVIEW – Diesel-free saloon is one of Volvo's best


Volvo S60 2019

Volvo S60 2019 (Image: VOLVO)

For despite its conservative nature on the surface, this latest four-door saloon from the Swedish firm is a ground-breaking car for both Volvo and the car industry as a whole.

The reason is that this S60 is the first Volvo to be developed produced without a diesel engine.

As part of the first step towards the full electrification of its range, Volvo has ditched diesel for its new model ranges (they will still be available in existing cars until they’re replaced) meaning that all new cars like this S60 will only be available with petrol or petrol-electric hybrid power.

With sales of new diesel cars in free fall at present, that might seem to be a wisely prescient move on Volvo’s part, but at the same time the hybrid market is still in its relative infancy (making up just 6 per cent of sales) and this is a car mainly aimed at business drivers which still largely prefer diesels due to their higher mileage and lower tax rates.

Yes it’s a decision with one eye already looking to the future, but at the same time, that future has yet to entirely materialise. In the short term at least, Volvo’s initial sales of this new S60 might suffer, especially until the hybrid and petrol market is fully established.

At least the S60 looks the part then. Volvo’s design department has been producing some of the best looking new cars in showrooms of late, especially the S60’s sister car, the V60 estate, and this latest is no different.

We like the dominant front with the over-sized grille and ‘Thor’s hammer’ front LED headlights and also the sporty crease lines along the car’s flanks.

The rear, echoing the C-shaped lights of the larger S90, doesn’t look quite so smart to our eyes, but overall the car boasts a distinctive style that stands out and is pleasing to the eye.

Volvo S60 2019

Volvo S60 2019 (Image: VOLVO)

Volvo S60 2019

Volvo S60 2019 (Image: VOLVO)

It’s certainly more recognisable from a distance than the likes of the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series or Mercedes C-Class.

With that lack of a diesel, under the bonnet there’s a choice of four engines, two turbo-petrol and two petrol-electric plug-in hybrids.

All S60s come fitted with automatic gearboxes with no manual available. The two standard petrols in the T4 and T5 are both 2.0-litres with either 190bhp or 250bhp.

In the latter form, this gives the T5 a 0 to 60mph time of 6.5 seconds with a 149mph top speed, while at the same time returning 47.8mpg average fuel economy (on paper at least) and 152g/km emissions.

Volvo S60 2019

Volvo S60 2019 (Image: VOLVO)

Volvo S60 2019

Volvo S60 2019 (Image: VOLVO)

A third petrol, called T6 also gets a supercharger and four-wheel drive along with 310bhp and is under consideration for a late 2019 arrival.

The S60’s big news, however, is not just that absence of a diesel option but also that the flagship models are a pair of plug-in hybrids, badged as T8, with 2.0-litre turbo petrol engines plus a 10.4kW battery boasting either 390bhp or, in Polestar form, 405bhp.

As Volvo’s still-relatively-young performance brand, the Polestar model certainly isn’t for any shy and retiring types. Both T8 models boast four-wheel drive and manage the 0 to 60mph sprint in under 5.0 seconds with a 155mph top speed.

The Polestar version adds to that with uprated suspension, brakes and handling to live up to the brand’s sportier image.

Volvo S60 2019

Volvo S60 2019 (Image: VOLVO)

Clever hybrids aside however, the S60 has some stiff competition in the form of the forthcoming new BMW 3-Series, especially when even the current outgoing 3 is hardly a slouch.

On the road, the S60 certainly feels refined enough when cruising, with a good road stance and sharp, direct steering.

The T8 is also devastatingly fast both from a standing start and particularly mid-range when overtaking thanks to that battery pack.

The bad news is that while offering a 21-mile only electric only range, the battery pack also adds a significant 31 stone to the S60’s weight.

Volvo S60 2019

Volvo S60 2019 (Image: VOLVO)

Volvo S60 2019

Volvo S60 2019 (Image: VOLVO)

Volvo S60 2019

Volvo S60 2019 (Image: VOLVO)

While that weight feels low down within the car and is controllable, the car doesn’t feel as chuckable through tighter turns with rapid direction changes compared to the likes of the 3-Series.

However, there is creditable little body roll and on longer more flowing bends the Volvo feels more planted and controllable, enabling you to really lean on the grip provided by the tyres.

The nice and responsive gearchange paddles behind the steering wheel help you to keep up a good rhythm too.

That said, while this S60 undoubtedly drives better than many recent Volvos (and bodes well for the stand-alone Polestar coupe car due next year), there’s still room for improvement with more involved steering and better suspension control over undulating surfaces.

Volvo S60 2019

Volvo S60 2019 (Image: VOLVO)

Volvo S60 2019

Volvo S60 2019 (Image: VOLVO)

Volvo S60 2019

Volvo S60 2019 (Image: VOLVO)

While it does sit on large 20in wheels, the ride quality is far too fidgety over broken surfaces as well.

When switching between regenerative braking to charge the on-board batteries and friction braking with the actual pads themselves, the brakes could be a lot smoother and more progressive at low speed.

Drive the non-hybrid S60 and the differences are noticeable, with that lack of battery weight showing obvious improvements to the car’s feel on the road, although the ride is still on the firmer side.

Inside there’s the usual portrait-style upright central screen on the dashboard with its very intuitive infotainment system similar to a tablet.

Volvo S60 2019

Volvo S60 2019 (Image: VOLVO)

Volvo S60 2019

Volvo S60 2019 (Image: VOLVO)

The front seats themselves are very comfortable with adjustable lumbar and under-thigh support.

In the rear there is also plenty of head and legroom, although a third central passenger won’t thank you for any longer journeys as the central transmission tunnel, housing the batteries, is large and intrusive and takes up legroom.

The boot meanwhile is a decent 442 litres and the rear seats fold for extra space.

Like its V60 estate brother, overall it’s hard not to step out of this new S60 thinking that it would be a very easy car to live with day-to-day.

Volvo S60 2019

Volvo S60 2019 (Image: VOLVO)

Volvo S60 2019

Volvo S60 2019 (Image: VOLVO)

As an alternative non-German choice too, it’s a far better all-rounder than the likes of the Lexus IS, although Jaguar’s XE provides stiffer competition.

The lack of a diesel engine in the range may well harm its potential success in the shorter term, but in the long view the fact that many of its rivals have either temporarily dropped or don’t offer a plug-in hybrid at this level means that this S60 already has a head-start.

That technology, plus the Volvo’s comfort and styling mean that we think it definitely deserves to be on the shopping list of anyone after a small executive car.

For a company normally famed for its estates, this could be one of the best saloons that Volvo has ever produced.

Volvo S60 2019

Volvo S60 2019 (Image: VOLVO)

Logbook Lowdown

Model: Volvo S60

On sale: April 2019

Price range: est £37,000-£52,500

Engine range: Turbo-petrol – 2.0, 2.0-litre 250bhp; petrol-electric – 2.0 plus 10.4kWh battery, 2.0-litre 405bhp

Power: 0 to 60mph in 4.7 seconds, 155mph top speed (2.0 hybrid 405bhp)

Average fuel economy: 47.8mpg (2.0)

CO2 emissions range: 44-169g/km

Rivals: Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Jaguar XE, Mercedes C-Class

Rating: 9/10



Source link

About admin

Check Also

New BMW 8-Series: A question of sport

BMW’s 8-Series is more of a grand tourer than an out-and-out sports car (Image: NC) ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: