2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design Review - One Sweet Swede

Fast Facts

2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design

2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder (316 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm; 295 lb-ft @ 2,200-5,400 rpm)
Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
21 city / 32 highway / 25 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
11.1 city, 7.3 highway, 9.4 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price
$40,300 (U.S) / $52,400 (Canada)
As Tested
$55,490 (U.S.) / $65,765 (Canada)
Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and $2,115 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can't be directly compared.
2019 volvo s60 t6 awd r design review one sweet swede

Mid-size luxury sports sedans are supposed to strike a balance between comfort, sportiness, and safety. Consider the 2019 Volvo S60 well-rounded.

Riding on the same platform that underpins all 60 and 90 series Volvos, the S60 T6 I tested came with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that is both turbocharged and supercharged to the tune of 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Transversely laid out, this engine connects to an eight-speed automatic transmission and the drivetrain is all-wheel drive.

Nearly 300 lb-ft of torque from a car weighing in the neighborhood of 3,700 pounds translates into a 5.3-second 0-60 mph time, according to Volvo’s testing. Having no test equipment handy, and also having a healthy desire to avoid more speeding tickets, I can’t verify that time, but I can verify that the car was swift off the line.

Straight-line performance wasn’t the only thing I liked about this stylish Swede. It proved competent in corners thanks to a double-wishbone setup up front and an integral link rear-suspension setup, and adjustable drive modes that dialed up the fun factor.

Not all was perfect — the accurate steering suffered a bit from artificial feel, although its heft was appropriate.

Ride didn’t suffer too much in the name of fun, but as one would expect from a sport sedan, it was a bit on the stiffer side. Nothing that commuters can’t live with, but just enough to annoy those who want to be coddled.

Style-wise, the S60 has a mostly no-frills look, but the headlights, lower front fascia, and grille form up to show aggression appropriate to a sedan with sporting intent. The look is quieter out back, despite swoopy taillights and large exhaust outlets that are vaguely rectangular in shape.

The star of the show inside the cabin is the 9-inch vertical touchscreen that houses all the infotainment bits, including Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and navigation. Such a tall screen makes for easy reading, but manipulating it to change menus was at times an exercise in frustration. It does become easier to use over time as one acclimates.

Acclimate one must, since Volvo has relocated many of its controls to the touchscreen. While the lack of buttons gives the lower dash a cleaner look, prepare for confusion until you get used to the various menus.

I did dig the digital gauge cluster, which had the ability to show the nav screen between the speedo and tach.

At $55K as-tested, this Swede doesn’t follow in the footsteps of a certain Swedish furniture-maker — pricing is on the premium side. True, the $40K base tag is a bit more reasonable, and it includes things like blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, the digital cluster, the tall touchscreen, nav, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, lane-keep assist, collision avoidance, moonroof, two USB ports, Bluetooth, 18-inch wheels, heated seats, and leather seats.

Opting for the R-Design package costs you over $6K and adds fog lamps, premium audio, and a plethora of unique design elements. A $2,500 Advanced Package added a head-up display, LED headlights, a 360-degree camera, a semi-autonomous driving system with adaptive cruise control, and self-cleaning headlamps.

Other options included heated rear seats and steering wheel ($750), a different premium sound system, ($3,200), the metallic paint job ($645), Park Assist Pilot ($200), and 19-inch wheels to replace the 18-inchers ($800). The destination charge was $995.

Fuel economy for the T6 R-Design car is listed at 21 mpg city/32 mpg highway/25 mpg combined.

The S60 isn’t a perfect sports sedan, but its flaws are minimal, and it strikes a nice balance between sporty, sleek/stylish, safe, and sedate.

A balance that leans just enough towards sporty while still being well-rounded, thus making this Volvo one of the stronger choices in the mid-size sport-sedan class.

[Images © 2019 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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2 of 63 comments
  • Daniel J Daniel J on Jul 19, 2019

    I guess the question is, how much better is this than the Mazda 6 Signature or Honda Accord Touring? I get neither can be had in AWD, but still...just seems too pricey for what it is.

  • Banker43 Banker43 on Jul 20, 2019

    Anyone seriously looking at this car would be making a mistake to not consider the current A4 over this, or at least give it a test drive. I’ve driven several 2019 A4s and I am extremely impressed with the powertrain, and cabin setup is beautifully done with nice controls/buttons that are a pleasure to use and easy to figure out. Audi really nailed the ride/handling balance in this latest gen, too. I’d buy one, but my current 2014 A4 manual is paid for, runs great, and is fun to drive. The A4 is still made in Germany and owed by Germans—the whole Volvo Chinese ownership thing kinda irritates me I guess,too.

  • Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.