Volvo S60 long-term test review: report six

Volvo's answer to the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series sells in much smaller numbers, but are the masses overlooking a hidden gem?...

Volvo S60 long-term review lead

The car Volvo S60 T5 Inscription Plus Run by Chris Haining, digital reviews editor

Why it’s here To discover if you can break away from the Germanic norm without any compromises

Needs to Be different without major compromises; beat rivals for comfort and space and still be good to drive

Mileage 3499 List price £38,835 Target Price £35,575 Price as tested £45,535 Test economy 29.9mpg Official economy 39.8mpg (combined) 

18 June 2020 – Keeping thirst at bay

With power comes great responsibility, they say, and the S60 T5 can make you feel rather guilty about making the most of its 247bhp. In earlier reports, editorial director Jim Holder commented on the S60’s fuel economy, struggling as he was to beat 27mpg on the trip computer. I can now boast that my excellent driving behaviour has coaxed the average up to just under 30mpg, perhaps helped by selecting Eco mode when I remember to.

But why should I have to remember? This question niggled me every time I found myself halfway through a journey before the prospect of extra fuel savings occurred to me, and I would curse myself for having needlessly burned through more precious petrol than might have been necessary.

Volvo S60 driving mode control

Eco mode rations fuel reserves by encouraging the gearbox to change up at lower revs and deliberately softening accelerator response – probably not vastly reducing consumption, but every little helps. It’s frustrating, then, that after wading through endless menus in the S60’s Sensus infotainment system, I can confidently state that there’s no way of setting Eco as the default driving mode; the car always reverts to Comfort on start-up.

When I have the presence of mind to engage Eco, I notice barely any difference in the way the S60 drives or responds during the mundane journeys that I most frequently make. Because my car doesn't have Volvo's optional Active Four-C adjustable suspension, the ride is no less cushy in Eco than in Comfort. And should I feel like ending a period of eco-minded self-restraint with a quick country road blast, switching to Dynamic mode doesn’t exactly transform the S60 into a grin-inducing conqueror of corners.

Volvo S60 2019 Chris Haining boot unloading

Speaking of mundane journeys, a trip to the local bottle bank came as a reminder of how a posh saloon can gel beautifully with an ‘executive’ lifestyle but might stumble in more utilitarian circumstances. Were I afflicted by the hobby, I could probably slide a handsome golf bag into the S60’s commodious boot, but coming right down to Earth, I had rather a struggle heaving a box of recycling out through the comparatively narrow aperture. With a beautifully formed V60 estate version also available, the S60 saloon really isn’t the Volvo to pick if practicality is everything. 

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