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2019 Volvo S60 Review By Larry Nutson

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2019 Volvo S60
Made in America

By Larry Nutson
Executive Producer and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Despite the growing SUV and crossover market, a number of surveys support that there is still a decent interest in the marketplace for sedans. When things finally stabilize we’ll probably end up with sedans being about 25% of total new vehicle sales in the U.S.

The midsize sedan segment was once the largest in the U.S., but now that title has shifted to midsize SUVs. However, the midsize sedan segment is still the leader amongst all sedans with compact sedans right behind.

Volvo’s place in the premium spectrum of midsize cars is with its S60. The all-new S60 luxury sedan is Volvo’s first “Made in the USA" car, being built at its new plant near Charleston, South Carolina.

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The 2019 Volvo S60 is available in Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription trims. Positioned as premium, sport, and luxury trims, respectively, prices for each start at $35,800, $42,545 and $43,545.

All three trims are available in either T5 front-wheel drive or T6 all-wheel drive models. Additionally, a T8 all-wheel drive, a hybrid, can be had on the R-Design and Inscription.

The turbo charged and supercharged T8 Twin Engine Plug-In Hybrid delivers 313 horsepower with a rear electric motor adding 87 horsepower for a combined power output of 400 horsepower.  The T5’s 2.0-L turbocharged engine output is 250 horsepower and the T6’s 2.0-L turbo and supercharged puts out 316 horsepower.

For my romp around my Chicago home I drove the S60 T6 AWD R-Design with a base price of $40,300, plus a $995 destination charge. The R-Design package adds $6100 to this.

Also equipped on my loaner/tester was the Advanced Package ($2500), heated rear seats and steering wheel ($750), Fusion Red metallic paint ($645), Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system ($3200), Park Assist Pilot ($200), and 19-inch R-Design alloy wheels ($800). As you can see, the full price ramps up quite a bit to $55,490.

The S60 R-Design is plenty fun to drive with good overall driving dynamics. Zero to 60 mph is knocked off in 5.3 seconds and it’ll top out at 130 mph. The 8-speed automatic is quick shifting and adjustable drive mode settings allow you to pick your level of fun with all-wheel drive helping to keep thing in balance.

One note here on top speed. Back in May, Volvo Cars sent a strong signal about the dangers of speeding and will limit the top speed on all its cars to 112 mph (180 kph) from 2020, beginning with model year 2021.

Overall the S60 has a fairly compliant ride with good handling characteristics allowing you to feel confident in some rapid freeway off-ramp drives or on some twisty-windy country road. The optional 19-inch wheels fitted on our S60-driver looked good however the associated low-profile 40-series tires don’t do a good job of absorbing the imperfections in Chicago streets. As always, tradeoffs!

There’s a full complement of advanced driver assistance safety systems (ADAS) on the S60. If they just once prevent a crash they are worth their weight in gold. I made good use of the Pilot Assist adaptive cruise control and lane keeping on a road trip.

In the cabin, all things are pretty comfortable with a premium and clean look and feel. The large 9-inch touchscreen uses swipe motions to access all the interfaces. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you get set with your preferences its not too big of a hassle. However, when driving its use takes your eyes off the road. I always enjoy Volvo’s concert hall setting for the audio system.

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I found the front seats, with their lower cushion leg extension, quite comfortable and supportive for my 5ft 10 inch frame. A quick jump into the rear seats provided adequate room although the tendency these days for sloping rear roof shapes has me ducking my head a little.

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For urban use the Volvo S60 works our pretty well with the combination of seating for five, a modest 187+inch overall length, 15.6 cu.ft. of cargo space and a nice sized 15.9 gallon gas tank for that weekend road trip.

EPA test cycle ratings are 25 mph combined with 21 city mph and 32 highway mpg. I road tripped the S60 from Chicago to Ann Arbor, Michigan and back and got 34 mpg traveling on this mostly highway run with a speed average of 68 mph.

More information and specification on the Volvo S60 can be found at

Volvo Car USA reported U.S. sales of 9,934 vehicles for the month of June, an increase of 0.7 percent from the same period last year. Year-to-date they have sold 50,120 vehicles, an increase of 5.2 percent from the previous year. This in a down market.

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The 2019 Volvo S60 has gotten some good recognition in the market having been named a finalist for both the 2019 World Car Award and the 2019 North American Car of the Year.

Overall, the S60 is a good value in the premium car segment.

© 2019 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy