The new Volvo S60
The new Volvo S60

Caroline drives the new Volvo S60.

Volvo is bravely stepping into the future with the new Volvo S60 – without diesel. The new S60 is the first Volvo to be produced without a diesel engine and will be sold exclusively powered by a petrol engine or as a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid. This move is part of a bold statement from the brand about transport beyond the traditional combustion engine that will see all new generation Volvos from 2019 now sold only as either a mild petrol hybrid, plug-in petrol hybrid or battery electric vehicle.

Pricing starts from €46,222, putting the new Volvo S60 firmly in the executive car park.

Being a typical Swede, Volvo has the politics just right for this car. The S60 is simple, handsome and discrete but still with enough star power to draw some admiring glances. I loved the sporty elegance of the new Volvo S60.

The interior of the new Volvo S60
The interior of the new Volvo S60

Inside the new Volvo S60

Volvo interior design is some of the best in the business and the new S60 is no exception. There’s a modest colour palette and the cabin architecture somehow has a mysterious soothing effect, which is reassuring for a fleet driver who will spend may hours on the road. The UN has been in here for sure.

There are no distractions, just a simple layout built around a 9″ tablet-style touchscreen with voice-activated control, navigation system and access to the Volvo On Call connected services platform. The system also connects easily to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

It’s comfortable and quality is superb. Interior accommodation is good for the segment with generous footwells in the rear and boot volume a competitive 442 litres.

Driving the new S60

The new S60 is built at Volvo’s new Charleston plant in South Carolina, USA, on Volvo’s SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) platform, which also underpins the S90, V60, V90, XC60 and XC90. The S60’s chassis strikes a good balance between comfort and control, while the steering is precise and responsive. Double wishbone front suspension and Volvo’s integral rear suspension reap dividends for surprisingly sporty handling and keep weight to a minimum for more agility.

The Volvo S60 is available as a petrol or petrol-electric hybrid
The Volvo S60 is available as a petrol or petrol-electric hybrid

My test car was a S60 T5, which is powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine putting out 250 hp and 350 Nm of torque. The T5 is fun and responsive to drive with a slick shifting 8-speed automatic gearbox. The problem is it will never be as economical as a diesel. Over a week of driving, my average fuel consumption was 8.2l/100km.

In Ireland, the S60 range kicks off at €46,222 for a T4 petrol with 190hp, while the T5 R-Design model I had on test has a list price of €49,495. Equipment includes leather sports seats, sports steering wheel, LED headlights, keyless entry and start), head-up display, 18″ alloy wheels, 12.3” driver information display and cruise control.

There’s also the S60 ‘T8 Twin Engine’ plug-in hybrid powertrain with 390 hp. The 11.8 kWh battery on board gives an electric-only range of up to about 58 km, with CO2 emissions from just 39g/km. When not in pure EV mode, it runs as a hybrid with support from a petrol engine. It has potential to be a more economical car to run however it has a comparatively high sticker price of €62,495.

The new S60 is smart and fun to drive with the refined response of a petrol engine
The new S60 is smart and fun to drive with the refined response of a petrol engine

I loved the Volvo S60 but wondered if dropping diesel might be a little premature when it comes to the transport needs of customers in a segment favoured by long distance, company car drivers.

Of course for everyone else, the new Volvo S60 is a great alternative mid-size sports saloon that’s fun to drive with the refined response of a petrol engine.

The Volvo S60 holds its corner very comfortably in the executive car park. It’s a fabulous piece of design inside and out. Alternative but powerful in its own right.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Volvo S60 T5 R-Design Automatic
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo petrol
250 hp
Torque: 350 Nm
6.2 seconds
Top speed: 240 km/h
Fuel consumption (WLTP): 
7.4 – 8.0 l/100km
CO2 emissions:  
Motor Tax: €390 per year