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2019 Volvo S60 first drive: A Swedish revelation

2019 Volvo S60 first drive: A Swedish revelation


The 2019 Volvo S60 has so much to reside as much as. Following a collection of award-winning new fashions just like the XC90, S90, and XC40, it’s the third-generation of an enduringly-popular sedan recognized for being protected, even when not sporty. That omission is one thing Volvo actually needs to vary with its 2019 S60 T8 Polestar Engineered, too. It’s additionally the first car off the road at Volvo’s new $1.1bn Ridgeville, SC facility, the automaker’s first US manufacturing line.

Throwing cash at an organization to show it round doesn’t all the time reap rewards, however Volvo is a sterling instance of reinvention. The mixture of Geely’s deep pockets and the Swedes’ refusal to compromise on their very own quirky fashion, security, and luxurious obsessions is a case research match for a textbook. Higher nonetheless, it’s a variety of automobiles and SUVs that just about fulfill wherever you look.

For the US at the least, the 60 Collection had been the final, lingering reminder of the previous Volvo. Now, inheriting the perfect and brightest of the automobiles which have impressed earlier than it, the 2019 S60 has advanced into one thing deeply particular.

The acquainted and the brand new

Just like the S90 sedan, the S60 makes use of Volvo’s Scalable Product Structure. It’s one other instance of the platform’s flexibility: the 2019 S60 is Four.9-inches longer than the outgoing mannequin, in addition to Three.Eight-inches longer within the wheelbase and 1.Eight-inches decrease. Nevertheless, it’s additionally noticeably extra compact than the S90.

The aesthetics arguably go well with this smaller four-door extra. Volvo’s barely concave grille, flanked by the distinctive “Thor’s hammer” headlamps, are the lead level for a triumph of cautious surfacing. There’s one thing sculpted and stylish concerning the automotive, from the brief overhangs and prolonged hood, to the best way the bodywork catches the sunshine and performs with shadow.

It’s taut and stylish, and will age properly with out wanting stodgy at present. Volvo has used integral hyperlink rear suspension and double-wishbones on the entrance, whereas the engine line-up ought to come as no shock to anyone midway acquainted with the automaker’s current fashions.

The S60 T5 kicks issues off with front-wheel drive and 250 horsepower from Volvo’s four-cylinder, turbocharged 2.Zero liter fuel engine. Anticipate 258 lb-ft of torque and an eight-speed automated transmission; the EPA hasn’t finalized financial system numbers but, however Volvo is predicting 24 mpg within the metropolis, 36 mpg on the freeway, and 28 mpg mixed. If you would like all-wheel drive, you want the S60 T6, which provides a supercharger for 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. There, determine on 21/32/25 mpg for metropolis/freeway/mixed.

Volvo has some pretty aggressive electrification objectives, promising some type of EV choice – whether or not delicate hybrid, plug-in, or full BEV – on all new automobiles from 2019, and concentrating on gross sales of 1m such automobiles by 2025. For the 2019 S60 it’s the T8 Plug-In Hybrid that performs into that dedication, bringing collectively a 313 hp fuel engine and an 87 hp electrical motor for a complete of 400 horsepower.

It’s a intelligent system, although not good. The fuel engine drives the entrance wheels whereas the electrical takes care of the rear; there’s no mechanical connection between the 2. Volvo’s battery runs alongside the middle of the automotive, entrance to rear, delivering a reasonably underwhelming 21 miles of all-electric vary. Pre-EPA numbers are 27/34/30 mpg for metropolis/freeway/mixed, or 72 mpge.

There’s one remaining mannequin, the 2019 S60 T8 Polestar Engineered Plug-In Hybrid. Because the identify suggests, it’s the common T8 given the tuning remedy of Volvo’s in-house Polestar group, which has taken trip from fettling its Polestar 1 hybrid coupe to squeeze 415 hp out of the S60.

Easy trims with loads of tech

Volvo retains the trim stroll simple. The entry-level is Momentum, obtainable on the T5 and T6 from $35,800 and $40,300 respectively, although it’s no hair shirt expertise. 18-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, LED lights entrance and rear, leatherette seats – with 10-way energy adjustment within the entrance – and an Eight-inch digital instrumentation show are all normal, as is Volvo’s Sensus Join infotainment with a 9-inch touchscreen. That will get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus a 4G WiFi hotspot.

Subsequent comes R-Design, the extra sporting trim, obtainable on the T5, T6, and T8 at $41,900, $46,400, and $54,400 respectively. Together with a sport tuning improve to the chassis and totally different 18-inch wheels, a lot of the outside chrome is switched to gloss black. Inside, there’s a much bigger, 12.Three-inch driver show, paddle shifters, R-Design leather-based and textile sports activities seats, and a special steering wheel. Volvo additionally throws in cross-traffic and blind-spot warnings.

Inscription is the highest spec, priced from $42,900, $47,400, and $55,400 respectively for the T5, T6, and T8 automobiles. You get navigation and Four-zone local weather management, a cooled glove compartment, upgraded leather-based consolation seats, and nicer supplies ending off the dashboard. Each R-Design and Inscription get a Harman Kardon audio system, parking help, keyless entry, and another consolation options.

The $2,500 Superior Package deal, in the meantime, throws in Pilot Help, Volvo’s driver help tech combining adaptive cruise management and lane-keeping. It additionally provides a 360-degree encompass view digital camera and lights that angle their approach round corners. There’s a $2,200 Inscription-only choice so as to add ventilated therapeutic massage seats up entrance – distinctive to the S60’s phase – together with totally different leather-based.

S60 T6 on the street

I cut up my time between the S60 T6 R-Design and the Polestar – extra on which in a second – in a mixture of irritating LA stop-go visitors and a few much more satisfying mountain roads. The latter proved that Volvo’s description of the brand new S60 as a sports activities sedan wasn’t simply advertising hyperbole.

Chances are you’ll solely have a four-cylinder engine, however the mixture of first supercharging after which mixing into turbocharging does a convincing job of mimicking V6 energy. It sounds nice, too, all vrooshes and keen thrumming if you push more durable. The eight-speed by no means left me wishing for a special gear, although you’ll be able to notch the selector over and go to city with the paddles when you so choose.

In Consolation mode, the S60 eases alongside properly. Solely the lesser legroom within the rear may remind you that you simply’re not in an S90. Dynamic mode, although, is the place issues are fascinating. Stab the fuel pedal and its reactions are extra quick, and there’s a meatier really feel to the steering. It’s not wild – and Volvo admitted that it had 19-inch wheels fitted, moderately than the usual 18-inchers – and also you’ll get extra aggression elsewhere, however there’s a throwable enthusiasm that belies the automaker’s smart status.

S60 T8 Polestar Engineered

First disappointment: the 2019 S60 T8 Polestar Engineered was black, not that superb cyan blue that’s now so intently related to the tuning division. Second disappointment: in the event you weren’t among the many first to leap on the $1,100 Care by Volvo Polestar deal when the order books opened again in June, you’re out of luck. Solely 20 of the 2019 mannequin yr automobiles have been earmarked for the US, and all have been snapped up in a matter of minutes.

You possibly can see the attraction from the curb. With the darker exterior trim and sculptural 20-inch wheels, behind which glint gold six-piston brake calipers to clamp the Brembo discs, it seems to be suitably menacing. Underneath the pores and skin there are Öhlins adjustable dampers and a few software program tweaks that raise complete energy to 415 hp and torque to 494 lb-ft. It’s sufficient, Volvo says, for Zero-60 mph in Four.5 seconds.

Abruptly the mere 21 mile electrical vary makes much more sense, because the S60 Polestar makes use of it to get you away from a standing begin extra quickly. The soundtrack is sweet, too, although it’s truthful to say that this isn’t a light-weight automotive. You discover that within the corners, the place the hybrid’s roughly Four,000 pound weight results in inevitable physique roll. Sarcastically the lighter R-Design automotive, with out the electrification to hold, corners extra tightly.

The third disappointment proved to be the brakes. As within the common T8, there’s a mix of regenerative braking and the bodily brakes, however the transition between the 2 nonetheless wants some work. Making an attempt to deliver the Polestar to a clean halt inevitably concerned a jolt. The excellent news is that Volvo is aware of it’s not proper, and continues to be engaged on the mix.

A cabin match for a Swede

Instrumental to Volvo’s successes because the new XC90 again in 2015 has been its inside design, and the 2019 S60 carries on that custom. Certainly you’d want a well-trained eye to identify the variations between the dashboard of the S60 and that of the S90. That’s excellent information for the smaller sedan.

A lengthy strip of metallic runs the span of the cabin, twisting sinuously across the Sensus show. It’s inset with quite a lot of woods, relying on trim degree, together with a somewhat nice driftwood inlay. Bodily controls are at a minimal, Volvo preferring you to work together with the touchscreen as an alternative. Fortunately, it’s one of many higher infotainment techniques on the market.

The house display consists of 4 sections – navigation, media, telephone, and apps – atop a persistent HVAC management panel. Swipe left or proper, and you discover the settings and controls for the varied driver help and different options, together with apps like Spotify and Pandora. Plug in your iPhone or Android, in the meantime, and CarPlay or Android Auto occupies a slice of the general display, which suggests you don’t lose entry to the remainder of Volvo’s interface.

Volvo says the chipset powering Sensus Join is now 50-percent quicker, resulting in swifter startup, quicker entry to the backup digital camera, extra responsive voice management, and faster recalculations within the navigation app. It has undoubtedly misplaced a few of the annoyingly lag that dragged down earlier Sensus implementations. Nonetheless, I’m notably wanting ahead to Volvo’s next-gen system, which it’ll construct with Android, the Google Assistant, and Google Maps.

Past the infotainment, the cabin is only a usually nice place to be. Volvo’s seats are supportive and cozy, although the very fact you possibly can’t have the R-Design sports activities seats with the therapeutic massage function appears a missed alternative. The Polestar’s cabin, with its black wooden and black leather-based, is lifted ever so barely by vibrant gold seatbelts, although the Swedish crystal shift knob feels at odds with the remainder of the automotive’s type: extra overt luxurious than sporting.


Volvo’s Metropolis Security package deal is normal on the 2019 S60, with automated emergency braking for pedestrians, cyclists, automobiles, and enormous animals. It’ll steer out of the trail of potential oncoming collisions, whereas brake help will lend a heavier foot if your personal is just too timid.

Run-off Street Mitigation will attempt to hold you on the street in the event you’re close to the sting, in addition to shield you if the worst does truly occur. Do you have to stray off the asphalt, there at the moment are crumple zones within the seat buildings. Seems, Volvo says, a automotive can come down violently when you depart the street, and that power sometimes goes proper by way of into your again. Deforming seats might help take up it earlier than that occurs.

Then there’s Pilot Help. Volvo is fast to remind drivers that its help know-how is a hands-on-the-wheel Degree 2 system, and positive sufficient when you take away your grip for longer than a couple of seconds the automotive will bleat its frustration at you. As an alternative it’s designed to comply with the lane at speeds of as much as 80 mph, slowing in line with visitors forward. It really works properly, although I can’t assist however want that Volvo had adopted Cadillac’s lead and used a Tremendous Cruise type visible consideration system as an alternative.


Volvo has achieved one thing large over the previous 4 years: given its automobiles a dynamic and technological overhaul whereas additionally instilling in them an actual sense of appeal. The 2019 S60 is good-looking and stylish, not shouty in its styling however someway nonetheless distinctly Swedish each in and out. It cherry-picks the most effective of the S90 and different Volvo fashions that arrived earlier than it, and finally ends up much more interesting in consequence.

The restricted availability of the S60 T8 Polestar Engineered means Volvo’s feistiest 60 Collection shall be rarer than a supercar. Fortunately you possibly can settle your sorrows with the S60 T6 R-Design, which is arguably extra cohesive as an all-rounder. Even on the Momentum finish of issues, although, beneficiant gear ranges keep away from the sensation of bargain-basement disgrace that you simply may endure in a less expensive C-Class or Three Collection.

The 2019 Volvo S60 could also be one of many final of the automaker’s US-bound automobiles to get upgraded, however it’s on no account the least. Competitively priced and succesful on the street, it’s a compelling various to the go-to decisions from Mercedes, Audi, and BMW.

(slashgear.com, http://bit.ly/2q1CINI)


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