Volvo S60: Close to perfect

VolvoWhat is it?

Volvo is a veritable minnow in a world of European sharks.

But thanks to its current owners bankrolling some deserved R&D, the Swedish company continues to provide a range of vehicles that are just right — like Goldilocks and her porridge.

There’s no need for 17 variants of the same model, nor is there a need to have hunch-backed versions of a normal car.

No, with Swedish pragmatism, Volvo simply gets on with the job, providing only what is required.

Want a large/mid/small SUV? Yup. Want a wagon/tourer/estate? Yup. Want a large or mid-size sedan? Yup.

That’s it.

In late 2019, the company rolled out its latest addition to the S range, a revamped S60.

It’s a three-tier range, with Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription.

There is also a wagon version, badged as the V60.

We drove the entry level Momentum.


What’s it cost?

S60 is priced from $54,990 plus on roads.

The vehicle supplied had an extra $3000 Technology Package fitted.

This comprises Head Up Display, 360 degree camera, and headlights that follow the road as the car turns. 

There is also ambient lighting inside.

It’s Volvo’s typically elegant and high class looking interior.

To start with there’s supple leather trimmed seats with almost sports style bolstering.

They’re heated, but unfortunately not vented . . . sigh.

A power adjust driver’s seat with two-position memory sit next to a centre console that houses Volvo’s knurled Start/Stop rotating dial and drive mode selector.

But there are no rear air vents for back seat passengers.

The 9.0 inch touchscreen is the control centre for Volvo cars.

It covers audio, driver’s LCD screen display, climate control, apps, and contains a user manual as well.

It’s a simple layout for the home screen with four tabs.

A home button is located at the bottom of the piano black surround.

A swipe left or right or from the top brings up the range of sub-menus.

The menu system offers four distinct looks for the driver’s dash dials, plus three options for the centre display — being audio, map, or nothing.

Head, leg, and shoulder room is very good, thanks to a 4791mm length and wheelbase of 2872mm.

This places the front seats around the half way mark and adds to the striking profile.

Cargo space is 392 litres with a low deck lid and long cross section.

The glasshouse is well proportioned too.

Measuring from the roof to the sill, the windows take up a third of the space — sheetmetal the other two thirds.

Being a Volvo, those letters can be rearranged to spell safety.

Grab a cuppa, this’ll take a while.

Direct from Volvo is this list: City Safety: Pedestrian, Vehicle, Large Animals and Cyclist Detection, Intersection Collision and Oncoming Mitigation with Brake Support; Steering Support; Intellisafe Assist: Adaptive cruise control including Pilot Assist, Driver Alert; Lane Keeping Aid; Adjustable Speed Limiter function; Oncoming Lane Mitigation; Intellisafe Surround: Blind Spot Information (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA). 

Take a breath, there’s more.

Front and Rear Collision Warning with mitigation support; Run-off road Mitigation; Hill start assist; Hill Descent Control; Park Assist Front and Rear; Rear Parking Camera; Rain Sensor; Drive mode with personal power steering settings; Emergency Brake Assist (EBA); Emergency Brake Light (EBL); Frontal Airbags, Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) with airbags in front seats, Inflatable Curtains and Whiplash Protection System; Belt Reminder all seats; ISO-FIX outer position rear seat; Intelligent Driver Information System (IDIS).

That about covers it.

Outside it’s the signature Thor’s Hammer combined driving and indicator cluster, full LED front lights, and a double round of C shaped LEDs for the rear.

The sheetmetal of our test vehicle was clad in Ice White, a non-metallic shade and one of 13 colours in the S60 palette.

Underneath are 17 -inch diamond cut alloys with Michelin Primacy rubber, with a 225/50 series profile


What’s it go like?

Volvo’s 2.0-litre turbo four is good for 187kW and a useable 350Nm, between 1500 and 4800 rpm.

Peak power rolls in at 5500 rpm with a gentle transition between peak torque and power.

Fuel consumption is quoted at 7.9L/100km from a 60-litre tank. We finished with a figure of 8.2L/100km, split 70/30 between urban and highway driving.

It’s an all-wheel drive chassis with an eight speed auto that drives that torque nicely through all four paws. 

Drive quality is largely positive.

The turbo typically needs a few breaths to spool up from a standing start, and the transmission has the same hesitation.

Any time after that and it’s as benign and user friendly as they come.

The only other hiccup is the nose.

It’s a good looking thing, but that cute front end scrapes on anything it can find — from driveway, to speed bump, to a 10 dollar note — there is the uneasy sound of plastic on stuff.

Underway and the S60 is pure driving pleasure.

Volvo quotes a non-sedate 6.7 seconds for the sprint to 100km/h.

That may be a tad conservative. 

Mid-range oomph is stupendous, thanks to that mesa-like spread of torque.

Steering is spot on as are the brakes, with a finely adjusted pedal that just about reads your thoughts.

Ride quality has been tuned to err on the sporting side, with just enough bump absorption before easing into silky Volvo softness.

In essence, it’s just on the taut side, but has just the right amount of comfort dialled in.

Just like that porridge, basically.


What we like?

  • Very little to not like
  • Stonking performance from a car that’s not sporting oriented
  • It really is close to the ideal, all-in-one package


What we don’t like?

  • Apart from scraping the nose and unavoidable turbo lag . . . bugger all

The bottom line?

The only thing stopping this car from being the one of the best we’ve reviewed is its presence.

Specifically, it’s a Volvo. It’s not the first brand that springs to mind when sourcing a sedan, nor does it appear on the radar when looking for a good-sized offering that suits a family and a sporting oriented driver.

It’s a shame because it really is the “just right” car. It doesn’t promise anything it can’t deliver and delivers 100 per cent of what it promises — it’s that simple and it’s an absolute pearler.


CHECKOUT: Volvo XC40: what’s the big attraction?

CHECKOUT: Volvo XC60: the Goldilocks option


Volvo S60 Momentum, priced from $54,990
  • Looks - 8.5/10
  • Performance - 9/10
  • Safety - 10/10
  • Thirst - 8.5/10
  • Practicality - 8.5/10
  • Comfort - 8.5/10
  • Tech - 8.5/10
  • Value - 9/10

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