Review update: The 2020 Volvo S60 looks more expensive than it is

Redesigned for 2019, the 2020 Volvo S60 rolls into the new decade with a swagger built on sophisticated style, advanced safety, and easy-to-use technology.

The luxury sedan needs every advantage to compete with German stalwarts such as the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, as well as upstarts such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Genesis G70.

With a TCC Rating of 7.3 out of 10 the 2020 Volvo S60 hits big with gorgeous design, first-class seating, and easy-to-use technology. It misses the mark with dull steering feedback, mediocre real-world fuel economy, and a smallish trunk.

2020 Volvo S60

Hit: Just look at it

My S60 tester came in Fusion Red in the sportier R-Design trim. R-Design models come with 18-inch aluminum wheels, front grille with more depth, gloss-black trim, and a revised front bumper that gives the S60 a sporty look. The horizontal LED headlights and C-shaped taillights give the S60 visual width. A long front end and short rear deck with simple yet effective sculpting make the S60 second only to the Giulia for best-looking in the class.

2020 Volvo S60

Miss: Lacks feel

As good as the S60 looks, it doesn’t speak to you while behind the wheel. The steering is well weighted but never gives a good indication as to what’s going on at the wheels. It’s hard to gauge how close to the edge the S60 is when pushed around a corner. The Pirelli Sottozero winter tires didn’t help matters but did help with grip in the cold.

2020 Volvo S60

Hit: First-class interior

At $51,990 as tested, the S60 in sporty R-Design trim punched above its price tag. The interior is covered in soft touch materials, real metal trim, leather, cloth, and high-quality plastics. Fit and finish was exceptional and the design is one of simplicity with a mere seven buttons and a volume knob. A 9.0-inch touchscreen on the center of the dashboard compliments the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. The R-Design’s nappa leather-covered sport seats coddle four passengers, but five isn’t really going to happen thanks to a narrow rear bench and wide drive tunnel. The front bucket seat fit my 5-foot-10-inch frame like a glove and is the definition of road-trip worthy.

2020 Volvo S60

Miss: It drinks gas

The EPA fuel economy ratings for my tester’s 250-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 were 23 mpg city, 34 highway, and 27 combined. I saw far less. In a week and nearly 200 miles of suburban winter driving in Minnesota the trip computer reported an average of just over 20 mpg. The cold didn’t help the S60’s fuel economy, but the EPA-rated 23 mpg city is bad for a luxury sedan when an Audi A4 has a city rating of 27 mpg and a BMW 3-Series gets 26.

2020 Volvo S60

Hit: Easy-to-use

Volvo’s terrific 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display sits front and center on the near-buttonless dashboard. The tile-based system is simple and clean. A child that can use an iPad can control the S60’s infotainment system, no master’s degree needed. The system uses a faster processor than what debuted on the XC90 five years ago, but still takes a second to boot up on cold start.

2020 Volvo S60

Miss: Pack light

For everyday uses, the S60’s 11.6 cubic feet of cargo room in the trunk is sufficient, but family vacations could pose a challenge. A few roller bags will fit, but pile two kids, their parents, and the dog for a long weekend and someone’s not bringing everything they want. Families might be better suited with the S60’s longroof sibling, the 2020 V60 wagon.

2020 Volvo S60

Hit: Plenty of power

The S60 tester had the base turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 with 250 hp, but the same engine can be had with a supercharger bolted to it for 316 hp with all-wheel drive for an extra $4,500. A plug-in hybrid powertrain ups output to 400 hp and the price by $19,995. Don’t spend up for the more powerful engine options. The 2.0-liter turbo-4 is the smoothest operator of the bunch and there’s plenty of punch to get the S60 moving no matter the conditions,
especially on winter tires.

If design, easy-to-use technology, and safety rank high on the priority list, then the 2020 Volvo S60 should be on a contender.

2020 Volvo S60 T5 FWD R-Design

Base price: $37,045
Price as tested: $51,990
EPA fuel economy: 23/34/27
The hits: Gorgeous design, terrific interior, comfortable seats, great tech
The misses: Not fuel efficient, small trunk, no steering feel, seating for four

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