By on July 18, 2019

2019 Volvo S60

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.

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.

2019 Volvo S60

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.

2019 Volvo S60

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.

2019 Volvo S60

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.

2019 Volvo S60

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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63 Comments on “2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design Review – One Sweet Swede...”

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    This is lovely, really.

    My pick would be the V60, however. Sadly, you cannot get the T6 powertrain in any of the V60 wagons. You can only get the base T5 FWD setup in the regular V60, unless you want to pony up nearly $70K for the T8 PHEV. If you want AWD, your only option is to choose the V60 Cross Country (with its cladding and higher ride height), and it only comes with the T5 AWD setup.

    • 0 avatar

      I test drove an S60 T6 Momentum a few weeks ago. I have to say that the power felt strong but not 5.3 0-60 strong. It may have been a combination of the dealership putting regular 87 gas in it, or simply the linear power delivery that tricks the seat of your pants meter. In any event there is a little bit of lag down very low in the rev band. I found the steering to be adequate but didn’t really spend enough time with it to get a complete picture. Generally though, very nice car, the interior is fantastic and the back seat can easily handle 6 foot passengers behind a 6 foot driver, something lacking in so many offerings these days. As an aside, the Momentum trim comes with everything I want save for fog lights. It seems like it is increasingly rare to find so much equipment on base models.

      Of note, I have been looking at these for a while and I swear when the configurator originally came online that the V60 could be had in a T6 AWD. The V60’s in general though are so thin on the ground at dealerships, I am guessing finding the one you want would be near impossible. I believe they will stock and would much rather sell you a Cross Country. Hoping to have a S60 or V60 in my driveway sometime in the next year.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I much preferred the look of the prior generation, and that’s when “T6″ meant you got a smooth 3.0 turbo I6, miraculously turned sideways with AWD, etc all stuffed under the hood.

    But… Volvo reliability is not good, repair costs are ridiculous, and the interiors are disappointingly small. At 6’6″, I can’t drive a car with only 37.4″ of headroom. Jaguars are the same way. Even a Hyundai Accent has 1.5” more.

    • 0 avatar

      Have you tried driving this yet? If not you should. I am 6’6″ as well and took one for a test drive a couple months back. No issues with headroom and they all come with the pano roof standard. I only test drove the T5 but I must say, I really enjoyed the ride, power and interior quality. They have some killer deals on leasing these in ATL so I think that is the way to go. I agree the reliability is a concern but all luxury brands seem to have questionable reliability especially to the German and British (Indian) brands.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Yeah, I too always wondered how Volvo managed to do a transverse I6. It *shouldn’t* have worked, but it did.

      • 0 avatar

        The transverse 6 was never available in the 60, only in the 80 which was wider to accomodate it. I do remember that for the first gen, they had to develop a special version of the manual trans that was shorter. I think the automatics were all off the shelf Aisin 6 speeds, which I guess were already short enough to fit.

  • avatar

    Are they still putting journalist in the eurospec model of this car? Easiest way to tell is that the U.S. model r-design doesnt have rear vents on the back on center console

  • avatar

    It’s a pretty car but unless you live in a place with displacement taxes the T6 seems like an awkward answer.

    It isn’t *slow*, but it is slower than the turbo-6 offerings available in the mid $40k to mid $50k range and the overall experience seems more on par with the turbo-4 competition. There isn’t much of a fuel economy gain with the T6 either. This Volvo’s 25mpg rating matches the M340i and the rest are in area of 22-24.

    If you aren’t looking for big power then might as well go with the T5 and if you are then save some dollars to get the full-hog T8, which is a unique offering in this class and can be had on the S60 for a price in the mid $50s.

    I’ve heard rumors that the T6 is going to be replaced (or supplemented) by a 300hp PHEV soon. I think that would be a good idea.

    • 0 avatar

      Having test drove both the T5 and T6 I largely agree that unless you really need AWD the T5 is the better buy. The T6 is faster, but the T5 is perfectly adequate (and Volvo sells a Polestar tune for ~$1500 that makes the T5 close to the T6 in terms of initial acceleration). The T6 power isn’t enough to be worth its investment. The great thing is Volvo doesn’t lock trims with engines.

      I would avoid the T8 for now though. The reliability of those (on other Volvo models) has been extremely spotty.

    • 0 avatar

      If you’re looking for big power and the experience of driving a fast car, don’t buy a Volvo, even a T8. It’s reasonably quick, but hides that from the driver.
      The USP of Volvo these days is design with a side of comfort.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve admittedly never driven any T8. However, I’d expect the S60 T8 and S60 T8 Polestar to be a little more red mist compared to something like the T8-equipped XC90 or S90. Similar to how my 3.3T Stinger is gruffer than a 3.3T Genesis G90.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m sure they’re objectively quick; it’s more the atmospherics I’m talking about. You get a silent shove from the electric motors followed by a turbo whooooosh, and your champagne flutes in the cabin will certainly not be disturbed.

          Congrats on the Stinger!

    • 0 avatar

      You’re right, ajla, 55K is too much for this car, but I think Tim’s tester was probably loaded up all the way. I just built the same car, with the essentials only (leather, nav, roof, nice wheels, etc) and came out at $48790. That puts it right in line with something like an A4, so it makes far more sense.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re a bit wrong.

      We are averaging around 22.5mpg on our current generation T6 w/Polestar upgrade, compared to 18.5mpg on the prior gen T6 without Polestar. Both of these on an XC60.

      New engine definitely feels faster – much easier to overshoot the speed limit if you aren’t careful.

  • avatar

    TTAC = The new written version of Motorweek, with your reviewer hosts, John H. Davis’ clones, where there are no less-than-good-if-not-great-vehicles.

    Need an acronym change: TAFC


  • avatar

    The VINs of the S60s I see on start with the number 7. Two sources both say that 7 is the country code for New Zealand. L is the country for China. I haven’t found evidence of Geely having a plant in New Zealand.

  • avatar

    A review of a Volvo and barely a mention of the seats.

    • 0 avatar

      Volvo’s current crop of seats look better, but are a tiny bit less awesome than the last generation.

      Still fantastic, but I preferred the last generation seats, especially when you are doing a multi-day road trip.

  • avatar

    The current Volvo range is really cohesive.

    We recently shook up our car fleet. One of the options we considered seriously was to go down from two cars to one (not counting the old Legend). Had we done that, the car would have been a new XC60 T8, basically an S60 on stilts. The T8 powertrain is energetic and surprisingly smooth for a hybrid with a conventional transmission. The air-suspended ride is excellent. The interior is gorgeous and the seats are soooo comfortable. We ultimately decided to stick with two cars, but I was really impressed by the Volvos we test drove, and honestly couldn’t care less if final assembly took place in China.

    • 0 avatar

      “We recently shook up our car fleet.”

      I know you have the Bolt now, what else did you get?

      • 0 avatar

        We replaced the LX570 with a Highlander Hybrid. Hear me out before you hate on what is undoubtedly one of TTAC’s least favorite cars…

        We discovered that the LX570 had exhaust intrusion issues, even with no leaks in the exhaust (the thing was mechanically perfect). My wife has severe chemical sensitivity since a smoke inhalation incident three years ago, and we discovered after some experimentation that she consistently didn’t feel good after rides in the LX. We measured concentrations of CO and VOCs inside the car (yes, we have the equipment to do so) and discovered that, while not high enough to matter to most people, they were significantly above ambient air. That discovery made me want the LX out of my driveway ASAP, replaced with a car that can do road trips but runs the engine as little as possible, So I traded the LX (an ’11 with 71k miles) straight up for a local ’16 HiHy Limited Platinum with 48k miles. I would have preferred a MDX Sport Hybrid but they are still too pricey.

        The HiHy appears to have no exhaust-in-cabin issues so far, and it’s got its virtues–I like it more than I expected.

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t know why anyone would hate on a Highlander – it’s boring, but it’s perfectly competent. Congrats on the purchase!

          • 0 avatar

            The third-gen Highlander is extremely smooth and quiet–nearly as much so as my old LS460. The Hybrid version likes to run the gas engine at very low speed when the car is at city speeds, which gives the car a feeling of low effort and chill. Combined with the “CVT” smoothness it makes for almost a soothing experience driving it through city traffic.

  • avatar

    For $55k you would think Volvo could afford to throw in a few more buttons. The minimalist interior looks great, but I’ll always favor function over form. Bring back the buttons if you want my business, Volvo. And since I’m making unreasonable requests, how about a T6 V60 CC?

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Hmm. This powertrain seems to have conflicting reviews. I remember watching Matt Farah on a pod cast with Savage Geese and he recalled the twin charged 2.0 Volvo as the only car he reviewed where he had to “push the detonate button ” on the review because it was so bad.He called Volvo and told them the review was going to be really bad and gave them the option to not post.
    I’ve never driven a recent Volvo . My sister had so many problems with her mid 2000s V60 or V70?, that I passed on the marque.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

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