Volvo S60

#12 in Luxury Small Cars Overall Score: 8.1 / 10
2016 Volvo S60 View More Photos » Volvo Cars of North America
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2016 Volvo S60 Overview

The 2016 Volvo S60 ranks 12 out of 17 Luxury Small Cars.

The 2016 Volvo S60 is available with four powertrains, all providing strong acceleration. Our research shows that the base model is one of the most appealing options because it has more than enough power for ...

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Pros & Cons

  • Fuel-efficient base model
  • Supremely comfortable front seats
  • Top safety scores
  • Fussy infotainment controller
  • Cramped legroom in back seats

Notable for 2016

  • Long-wheelbase Inscription model introduced
  • New Cross Country model with raised suspension

Volvo S60 Rankings and Research

The 2016 Volvo S60 ranking is based on its score within the Luxury Small Cars category. Currently the Volvo S60 has a score of 8.1 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 59 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.


Overall: 8.1
Critics' Rating: 8.2
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 7.8
Safety: 10.0
Reliability: 3_0


2016 Volvo S60 Pictures

2016 Volvo S60 Review

By Courtney Jones July 21, 2016

The 2016 Volvo S60 is available with four powertrains, all providing strong acceleration. Our research shows that the base model is one of the most appealing options because it has more than enough power for city and highway driving, in addition to its excellent fuel economy estimates. The S60 is a great car for making long commutes more pleasurable, as its front seats will cradle and comfort you all day. It’s also one of the safest cars on the market. However, families of more than two people will find the S60's poor back-seat legroom challenging in models without the extended wheel base. Additionally, the S60's infotainment system controller can be a pain to use, even for the tech-savvy.

Performance Summary

The Volvo S60 has four engines to choose from, and you'll be happy with the power output from any of them. For both city and highway driving, the 2016 Volvo S60 T5 Drive-E base model has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is up to the task. It feels smooth and is quiet. A stronger five-cylinder engine is available with the all-wheel drive (AWD) T5 model.

For something that will get you moving even faster, consider the S60 T6 model, which has a turbo- and supercharged four-cylinder engine with power at the ready for exciting acceleration when you pull away from a red light. The top-of-the-line T6 AWD model has a strong turbocharged six-cylinder engine that delivers stellar speed for those who enjoy a thrilling ride.

The gear shifts are nearly imperceptible with the Volvo S60's standard eight-speed automatic transmission, and you can use sport or manual shift modes for a more spirited, connected driving experience.

The S60 earns an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway – top-notch figures for the class. The S60's steering is acceptable. It will move the car in the direction you point it, but it isn't particularly quick to do so. The S60 has a comfortable ride. If you want a livelier driving experience, a Sport chassis is available. AWD drive models offer excellent road grip on slick roads and when turning corners.

Read more about performance »

Interior Summary

The Volvo S60 has a distinguished-looking cabin made with premium materials. The front seats provide fantastic cushion and side support, so you'll feel not only comfortable, but also securely planted in your seat when the road gets twisty. Legroom in the back seats may be cramped for lanky adults, but an available long-wheelbase Inscription model solves the problem.

The S60’s trunk is on the small side for the class, so don't expect to use it for much more than grocery bags or a couple of small suitcases. The S60 also doesn’t have split-folding seats or a middle pass-through for long items.

Volvo's Sensus infotainment system has a control knob that is hard to use and requires the driver to look away from the road to operate it. These kinds of control knobs are common in luxury cars, so the S60 isn't alone in this shortcoming. The fact that the S60's control knob is mounted on the dashboard, however, can make it more difficult to use than rivals' knobs, which are usually located near the center console. Additionally, the S60's touch screen is small. Paired with an unwieldy infotainment knob, this diminutive screen can create big distractions for drivers.

The Volvo S60 can be equipped with lots of safety features, including a driver drowsiness monitor that alerts you when it senses that you’re drifting out of the lane. The S60 can also be equipped with a road sign information system that can scan road signs and provide you with pertinent information as you drive. The sedan certainly lives up to Volvo's reputation for safety, earning perfect ratings across all four of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s crash tests, as well as top scores in all five of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's crash tests.

For projected reliability, the S60's ratings are slightly better than average.

Read more about interior » 

Details: 2016 Volvo S60

The 2016 Volvo S60 seats five and comes in several trims, ranging from the base T5 Drive-E to the T6 AWD R-Design Platinum, as well as the new-for-2016 Cross Country model, which features a raised suspension, and the Inscription model, which has an extended wheelbase. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission is standard in the S60 T5 Drive-E, as is front-wheel drive. Higher trims feature all-wheel drive and more-powerful engines. The S60 hasn't seen major changes since its last full redesign for the 2011 model year, so this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2011 through 2016 model years.

Standard equipment on the 2016 S60 includes Bluetooth, satellite radio, HD Radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-speaker sound system, auxiliary and USB inputs, and Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system, which includes a 7-inch display screen. Volvo’s City Safety system, which can help prevent low-speed collisions by automatically applying the brakes, is also standard. Available features include a moonroof, proximity key, a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system, navigation, and a Harman Kardon audio system. Available driver-assistance features include forward collision warning, a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, driver drowsiness monitoring, lane-keep assist, pedestrian and cyclist detection, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, parallel park assist, and a road sign information system, which can give the driver alerts based on information the car scans from road signs.

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  • "Long noted for safety and more recently for styling as well, Volvo has been a solid contender in the entry-level luxury sedan market with its S60 lineup for several years now. The automaker bolstered its position in 2015 when it rolled out its new family of strong and fuel-efficient turbocharged engines. For 2016, Volvo is better able to challenge leading German rivals in this class with the debut of the roomier S60 Inscription models." -- Edmunds
  • "With two powerful 4-cylinder engines, plus available all-wheel drive and a 6-cylinder engine, the S60 family is a strong alternative to luxury sedans like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Lexus IS." – Kelley Blue Book
  • "However, the Swedish contribution to the luxury sedan market is noteworthy both for its safety and clean, simple styling. The 2015 Volvo S60 is a prime example of a car every bit as enjoyable as an Audi A4, Lexus IS or Cadillac ATS, but far less common." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "In spite of (or, perhaps, because of) its oddness, the S60 won me over. There's nothing boring about this sedan and there's also so much to love about the performance and daily driving experience." -- CNET (2015)
  • "Overall, S60 offers a likeable blend of vivid performance, distinctive styling, and upscale interior trim-as well as the safety features expected of a Volvo. While the sporty AWD R-Design has more power and sharper handling, its stiffer ride and much higher price make it a less compelling choice." -- Consumer Guide (2015)

Other Cars to Consider

If curve-hugging handling doesn't interest you as much as comfort, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a great choice. While the base model emphasizes ride comfort, there are still options to customize your driving experience. An available sport-tuned suspension sharpens the C-Class' driving dynamics, while an optional comfort-tuned suspension makes its ride even more pillow-soft. When equipped with an adjustable air suspension, you can enjoy a ride between those two extremes. The C-Class has a range of powerful engines, and its base model earns above-average fuel economy estimates. The C-Class has a very handsome interior, with first-class material quality that you won't find in most competitors' cars.  

When it comes to performance, few cars in the class can match the BMW 3-Series' well-balanced handling, which offers both comfort and sportiness, giving you the best of both worlds. You will be more than satisfied with the power from any engine in the 3-Series' lineup – from the base's turbocharged four-cylinder to the high-performance M3's twin-turbo six-cylinder. 

The BMW 3-Series gets good fuel economy, and test drivers agree it has responsive handling. Some reviewers also note that the 3-Series’ iDrive infotainment system is easier to use than the systems in rival cars, and they say it has a roomy back seat. The 3-Series has a larger trunk than the S60 as well. The BMW 3-Series' interior tech won't give you a headache. Its iDrive infotainment system is one of the most user-friendly in the class, with on-screen menus that respond quickly to your selections and are easy to sort through. The system's controller is mounted near the gear shift, which you and your front-seat passenger easily reach.

Compare the S60, C-Class, and 3-Series in more detail »


Research Prices: 2016 Volvo S60

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$34,150 - $59,300
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