246280 Volvo S60 Named 2019 North American Car and Utility of the Year Finalist

2020 Volvo S60 T8 Inscription Review: Not Grand But Still Good

234740 The new Volvo S60
In Our Editorial Opinion:
According to Consumer Reports, Volvo is near the bottom in terms of reliability. However, our time with the 2020 Volvo S60 gives us reason to hold out hope. We personally believe, based on their history, Volvo is one of the safest vehicles you can buy today. While reliability may be subject to debate, the 2020 S60 should appeal to those who want their cars to have a little more personality than the average sedan.
Exterior Styling
Interior Layout
Driving Dynamics
Safety & Tech Features
Everyday Functionality
Fuel Economy
Luxurious Cabin
Powerful & Responsive
Tiny Trunk
Infotainment System
Abrupt Transmission Behavior

The 2020 Volvo S60 offers a new hybrid model that has more horsepower than the standard edition. The new S60 offers impressive performance overall, with all-wheel drive capability for luxury sedan shoppers. The cabin is filled with fun features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with Spotify and Pandora. And as is typical with any Volvo, the 2020 S60 is loaded with high-tech safety technology. 

This week, we drove the 2020 Volvo S60 T8 Inscription with all-wheel drive.

Volvo S60: What’s New For 2020?

The current S60 is the first Volvo car manufactured in the United States at the company’s new facility in Ridgeville, South Carolina. Like all Volvos in the 90 and 60 Series, the 2020 S60 is built on the company’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), or modular product platform.

For 2020, the S60 now offers blind-spot monitoring that includes steering collision avoidance. The virtual instrument panel with its 12.3-inch screen is now standard on all models, while the plug-in hybrid receives a larger 11.6-kWh battery pack.

2020 Volvo S60: Trim Levels

The S60 lineup consists of four trim levels: Momentum, R-Design, Inscription, and Polestar Engineered. Across the range, there are three different powertrains, depending on which model you choose. The T5 variant is a turbocharged four cylinder, and the T6 is both a turbo and supercharged four. Those engines are the same minus the supercharger.

Finally, the T8 variant – the one we drove this week – has the same gas engine as the T6; but with the added battery pack and rear electric motors.

2020 Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered.
2020 Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered.

Features & Options: The Laundry List

Our 2020 Volvo S60 T8 Inscription ($55,400) came standard with 18-inch alloy wheels; LED headlights and fog lights; panoramic sunroof; dual-zone automatic climate control; and a 12.3-inch instrument panel display. Our Inscription tester came with leather upholstery; heated front seats; driver-seat memory functions; split-folding rear seats with power-folding headrests; and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

On the tech front, the new S60 has selectable drive modes; a heads up display; nine-inch vertically-oriented touchscreen with Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system; and Bluetooth phone and streaming audio capability. Apple CarPlay; Android Auto; two USB ports; and a 10-speaker audio system with satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack round out the list.

Features & Options: Safety & Comfort

Volvo’s City Safety technology is standard on all S60 models, and can detect pedestrians, cyclists, and large animals like moose and deer. Our S60 tester included forward collision warning; full-speed automatic emergency braking; run-off road mitigation; lane-keeping assist; road sign reader; and a drowsy driver warning system. Optional safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, reverse automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control among others.

The Inscription adds wood interior trim, 10-way power-adjustable front seats with four-way lumbar adjustment, and passenger-seat memory functions. 

Final options on this tester included ventilated and massaging front seats; heated steering wheel and heated rear seats; Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system; and Park Assist Pilot.

How Much Does The 2020 Volvo S60 Cost?

Total MSRP, including destination, for our T8 Inscription tester with all-wheel drive: $64,190. By comparison, the 2020 Volvo S60 starts at $36,650.

If you are in the market for a new S60, this free and easy search tool* will help you find the best price. Depending on local incentives and inventory in your area, you may be able to purchase below MSRP.

Interior Highlights: Sights & Sounds

As far as cabins go, the Volvo S60 Inscription rivals cars that are much more expensive. Volvo designers used a light driftwood trim and soft Nappa leather to push the envelope on the luxury sedan. The crystal gear shift knob also adds to the elegance of the hybrid’s interior. If you need to unwind on the way home, flip on the back massage function for the driver’s seat. It’s a nice feature to help on those long trips and commutes.  

We cranked up the Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system and locked out the noisy world, as we spent a comfortable amount of time this week behind the wheel. Plenty of extra adjustments allowed us to find the perfect driving position. There are four shades within the interior giving it an extra level of visual excitement. You can never call this cabin boring.

2020 Volvo S60 interior layout.
2020 Volvo S60 interior layout.

Interior Highlights: Some Drawbacks

Volvo uses a big nine-inch clear touchscreen interface called Sensus to get you connected to nearly all of the S60’s functions, including climate control, navigation, and some seat adjustments. It senses the heat from your finger to quicken response time, but we think it takes too many touches to finally drill down and activate many of the functions. We found the infotainment interface difficult to learn, and it took forever to figure out how to even find the right radio channel.  

On the plus side, the S60 offers good visibility from the driver’s seat and the optional heads-up display allowed us to keep our eyes fixed on the road. In the back, passengers are greeted with heated seats, and there is enough room for two adults. There’s a decent amount of legroom in the rear (35.2 inches), with good headroom as well. 

The rear seats fold down to allow for more cargo room, although the trunk offers a meager 11.6 cubic feet of space, barley big enough for a suitcase or duffel bag. It will be fine for trips to the grocery store, but drivers my find it tight if they are packing for a vacation.

2020 Volvo S60 interior layout.

2020 Volvo S90 T8 AWD: Engine & Powertrain

The T8 uses the T6’s 2.0-liter super and turbocharged engine with direct injection. That engine alone creates 313 horsepower, but combines with two electric motors (87 horsepower) for a combined and impressive output of 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft. of torque. Power is routed through an eight-speed Geartronic transmission with auto start/stop technology. All-wheel drive is standard.

2020 Volvo S60 T8 AWD: Fuel Economy

The T8 with all-wheel drive gets an estimated 22 miles of electric-only range. EPA fuel mileage numbers come in at 30 combined city/highway (gas-only) and then 69 electric and gas MPGe city/highway. 

2020 Volvo S60

Driving Dynamics: Mostly Stable & Steady

We dropped the crystal gear shifter into reverse, and felt like we had to wait for the transmission to figure out what to do. The same thing happened when we shifted into drive. There is a slight hesitation. Once under way, Volvo’s hybrid system offers more power than any hybrid we’ve ever driven. Along with its luxurious interior, the 2020 S60 is a true sports sedan for those who want the extra performance with the fuel efficiency.

We had no snow this week to test the all-wheel drive system, but the S60 T8 is sure-footed enough. We pushed it hard around the tight mountain curves west of Denver. The electric-assist power steering feels light and allowed us to motor through a serious series of S-curves with no tail-sway. When our drive was done, the T8 hybrid had good grip on the dirt roads leading to our house. 

The ride is firm yet sporty, and we felt confident in the S90’s abilities. Volvo uses hydraulic shock absorbers and stabilizers bars, both front and rear, to help balance the S90. The all-wheel drive variants, like our T8 tester, are front-wheel drive based bias; meaning half of the available power is sent to the rear when extra traction is needed. Otherwise, power is kept mostly up front to conserve fuel.

Conclusion: Still a Solid Choice

The 2020 Volvo S60 T8 Inscription delivers extra power and torque for a more engaging experience in the driver’s seat. Add in standard all-wheel drive and Volvo’s reputation for safety, and this luxury sedan will take you wherever you need to go.

Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his firsthand reviews are archived on our test drives page. Follow Denis on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy

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