2018 Volvo S60

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MSRP: $34,100 - 60,000

2018 Volvo S60 Review

The 2018 Volvo S60 is a decent luxury sedan that places in the bottom half of our rankings. Though it has few faults, it has a hard time standing out in such a competitive class.




Critics' Rating: 8.1
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 7.6
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Extremely comfortable front seats
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Complicated, distracting infotainment system
  • Cramped rear legroom in base trim

Is the Volvo S60 a Good Car?

The Volvo S60 is a great choice in the luxury small car class. It has comfortable front seats, an impressive array of safety technology, and above-average fuel economy. Unfortunately, the S60’s flaws lower its appeal. For example, its infotainment system is difficult to use and requires too many steps to carry out simple functions.

Should I Buy the Volvo S60?

You should consider purchasing the Volvo S60 if you’re shopping for a daily commuter with an adequate amount of upscale features. However, if you frequently have back-seat passengers, you'll want to bypass the base model for the Inscription trim, which has additional rear legroom. The S60 has a smooth ride and a decent amount of power for daily driving, but there are several alternatives that are more fun to drive. The BMW 3 Series is more athletic and better suited for thrill seekers. If you have extra room in your budget, the Audi A4 should be on your short list. It’s also sportier and more refined, and its interior feels more modern than the S60.

Compare the S60, 3 Series, and A4 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Volvo S60?

The 2018 Volvo S60 is part of a generation that began with the 2011 model year. There have been some changes over the years, but nothing too significant. The 2016 model year saw the introduction of a long-wheelbase model that increased rear-seat legroom. The 2017 model year gained a new trim (the Polestar) and dropped the five-cylinder engine option. There are no noteworthy changes for 2018.

With so few changes over the years, you can shop for a significantly less expensive used S60 and get essentially the same vehicle as a new one. If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2016 Volvo S60 and 2017 Volvo S60. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 S60 »

We Did the Research for You: 66 Reviews Analyzed

For our Volvo S60 review, we've collected a rich assortment of information and assembled it into one easy-to-read assessment. Our overview comprises 66 professional evaluations, specs such as fuel economy ratings, a listing of standard and available features, and comparisons with rivals from brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi.

Our 2018 Volvo S60 review includes applicable research and reviews from every model year of the current generation, which spans the 2011 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

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How Much Does the Volvo S60 Cost?

Buying a new Volvo S60 will cost you a little less than the average luxury small car. Starting prices range from $34,100 for the base T5 Dynamic trim to $60,000 for the S60 Polestar. Most trims are front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive available for $2,000 (uplevel trims like the R-Design come standard with all-wheel drive). For great savings at your local Volvo dealer, check out our U.S. News Best Price Program.

Volvo S60 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Volvo S60 or Audi A4?

The Audi A4 is a superior choice to the S60. Compared to the Volvo, it has a higher starting price by $1,900, but that’s money well spent. The A4 has a long list of advantages over the S60, including a ton of infotainment features and cutting-edge available technology. The A4 has a nicer-looking interior than the S60, and it provides spirited performance that’s superior to the S60’s.

Which Is Better: Volvo S60 or BMW 3 Series?

The BMW 3 Series is proof that you don’t have to spend more to get more. It has a starting price that’s similar to the Volvo S60’s, but the BMW has a lot more going for it. It boasts a more athletic ride, a stronger engine lineup, and a roomier cabin. We recommend the 3 Series over the S60.

Which Is Better: Volvo S60 or Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

If having a posh cabin is your top priority, consider the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Its luxurious interior features high-end materials and comfortable, supportive front seats. There are plenty of standard features. Options include an available Burmester surround-sound system, an available cabin fragrance system, and a key fob upgrade that allows you to remotely open and close the windows and sunroof.

Compare the S60, A4, and 3 Series »

S60 Interior

How Many People Does the S60 Seat?

You can seat five people in the Volvo S60. Taller travelers will be clamoring to sit in the front seat because the rear seat is stingy with legroom, and back-seat cushions aren't as supple. The front seats more than compensate for these shortcomings and are extremely comfortable. Volvo also offers an antidote for the base Dynamic's cramped rear quarters: the Inscription trim. This long-wheelbase version of the S60 has an extra 3.4 inches of legroom, and it's a must if adults regularly ride in the back.

S60 and Car Seats

Every seating position in the rear has a tether anchor that's clearly labelled and easy to use. There are also lower anchors on the two outboard seats. Once you unearth the hardware (these anchors are a bit deep in the seat cushions), installing a child safety seat takes little effort.

S60 Interior Quality

The S60 features entry-level luxury appointments. Amenities like dual-zone automatic climate control and a moonroof come standard, and uplevel trims receive real wood inlays and supple upgraded leather seats. From the buttons to the trim, the build quality feels solid, and plenty of soft-touch points adorn the cabin.

S60 Cargo Space

The S60 has 12 cubic feet of trunk space. That's about what you'll find in the back of the average luxury small car, and it's enough space for about nine grocery bags. A few standard features add convenience, including hooks on the seatbacks to hang shopping bags, rear seats that fold with a 60/40 split, and a pass-through for long items (like skis).

S60 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The S60's small screen (only a 7-inch display is available) and multitude of buttons make the center stack feel outmoded. This is especially apparent when the S60 is sitting alongside more-recently updated Volvos – like the 2018 XC60 – that feature a large, sleek touch screen. Between the crowd of buttons, the infotainment system's complicated menus, and the unintuitive controller knob, this system requires more attention from the driver than it should. Eight speakers and Bluetooth come standard, and the few available infotainment upgrades include navigation and a 12-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system.

Read more about interior »

S60 Performance

S60 Engine: Frisky Four-Cylinder Engines

The majority of S60 trims are T5 models, which are equipped with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rated at 240 horsepower, this refined setup moves this small sedan with ease. Look to the T6 models for brisker takeoffs. These feature a 302-horsepower four-cylinder engine that's both supercharged and turbocharged and can sprint to 60 mph in as little as 4.7 seconds. Both engines come with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. The S60 Polestar also comes with the twin-charged T6 engine, but this version has been tuned to a higher output of 362 horsepower.

S60 Gas Mileage: Fuel-Sipping Small Car

The S60 has one of the highest fuel economy ratings in our luxury small cars rankings. With its base engine, it gets 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The more powerful engine in the T6 models isn't as thrifty, with a 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway fuel economy rating.

S60 Ride and Handling: Polished Ride

The S60 is a front-wheel-drive sedan. Uplevel trims (like the T6 AWD R-Design) come standard with all-wheel drive, which you can add to any front-wheel-drive model for $2,000. This vehicle's road manners are polished and well-balanced, presenting a smooth ride over most surfaces, precise steering, and good composure in the corners. Still, this Volvo isn't as lively as some rivals or as buttery smooth as others. S60 Cross Country trims come with a raised suspension and all-wheel drive.

Read more about performance »

S60 Reliability

Is the Volvo S60 Reliable?

According to J.D. Power, the 2018 S60 has a predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five. A score of three is considered average for a new car. The S60's score is better than that of the 2018 Audi A4 and the 2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Volvo S60 Warranty

The 2018 S60 comes with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty.

Read more about reliability »

S60 Safety

S60 Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awards the 2018 S60 five out of five stars for every crash test it conducts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety names it a Top Safety Pick and gives it the highest rating of Good in five crash tests.

S60 Safety Features

The S60 comes standard with Volvo's City Safety, a system that checks for pedestrians and vehicles in front of you, alerts you if a collision is possible, and automatically applies the brakes when necessary. The S60 does not come standard with a rearview camera, but one is available. Volvo also offers front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, automatic parallel park assist, and lane keep assist in the S60.

Read more about safety »

Which Volvo S60 Model Is Right for Me?

When selecting the best S60 for you, ask yourself how much horsepower you want and how much interior room you need. There are two engines to choose from: the turbocharged four-cylinder engine in T5 models and the supercharged/turbocharged four-cylinder engine in T6 models. In T5 variations, the S60 is available in the base Dynamic trim or the long-wheelbase Inscription and Inscription Platinum trims. T6 models include the R-Design and Polestar trims.

If your roster regularly includes rear-seat passengers, or if you're looking for the trim with the best value, set your sights on the S60 Inscription. Up front, you'll enjoy leather seats, navigation, and a rearview camera, while the back seat impresses with added legroom – for extra comfort and easier loading – and power sunshades on three sides. The Inscription's $36,950 starting price is also a good deal, as it grants these goodies (and more) for only $2,850 more than the base model.

Volvo S60 T5 Dynamic

The base S60 T5 Dynamic has a starting price of $34,100 (or $36,100 with all-wheel drive). It comes with Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system, a 7-inch display screen, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker sound system, and a USB port. Leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a moonroof, and Volvo’s City Safety (which includes automatic emergency low-speed braking) are also standard.

The S60 Cross Country comes with the T5 powertrain, all-wheel drive, and a raised suspension system that gives you 7.9 inches of ground clearance. It comes with most of the features included in the Inscription Platinum (detailed below) and starts at around $44,000.

Volvo S60 T5 Inscription

The S60 T5 Inscription ($36,950) has more amenities, including navigation, power sunshades for the three rear windows, a rearview camera, and parking sensors. This trim's other notable feature is its extra 3.4 inches of rear legroom, granted by its long-wheelbase design.

The uplevel Inscription Platinum ($41,150) uses the same long wheelbase and adds upgraded front seats, a Harman Kardon sound system, walnut inlays, a proximity key, push-button start, and advanced safety technology such as adaptive cruise control, a driver alert monitor, and lane keep assist. You can add all-wheel drive to both Inscription models for $2,000.

Volvo S60 T6

The S60 T6 R-Design features a four-cylinder engine that's both supercharged and turbocharged, with 302 horsepower. This trim includes all-wheel drive, sporty design elements (like aluminum inlays and sport front seats), and most upgrades included in the Inscription trim. Pricing starts at $47,550.

The S60 Polestar also comes with the twin-charged T6 engine, but this version has been tuned to crank out 362 horsepower. For around $60,000, you get all-wheel drive, unique styling elements, sport seats, heated front and rear seats, a DVD player, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, and collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian and bicyclist detection.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volvo dealer.

See 2018 Volvo S60 specs and trims »

The Final Call

As Volvo's entry-level luxury sedan, the 2018 S60 is a pretty good car with an appealing price tag. Its cabin feels posh and comfortable, with sumptuous front seats and a smooth ride among its standout attributes. A laundry list of available advanced safety features and a history of excellent crash test ratings bolster the S60 as a top pick for commuters. This isn't the highest-rated model in our luxury small car rankings, though. Before you buy, you may want to consider rivals like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 (which offer more excitement behind the wheel) or the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (a pricier model with one of the most lavish interiors in the class).

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "After nearly a decade on the market, it would be easy for the 2018 Volvo S60 to look dated compared to its luxury-sedan rivals, but it's quite the opposite. Its looks are still classy, and all of the modern safety equipment you'd expect from Volvo is helping to keep this four-door Scandinavian competitor relevant." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2017 Volvo S60 isn't just another fancy midsize-luxury sedan. It's a truly versatile platform offering consumers a wide range of variation, power and pricing. … The luxurious 2017 S60 Inscription delivers luxury on par with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and its stretched wheelbase permits an additional three inches of rear-seat legroom. With a starting price undercutting most competitors and a range of powerful yet fuel-efficient turbocharged and supercharged engines, Volvo's S60 line for 2017 is a tempting prospect worthy of consideration." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "Among the premium compact sedan class, the 2017 Volvo S60 is one of the oldest models. Luckily, its elegant styling and comprehensive safety features keep it in contention. The range includes a long-wheelbase Inscription version and a high-performance Polestar model, so there's plenty of choice." -- Autotrader (2017)


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