What's the used Volvo S60 saloon like?
After years of producing good, solid and notably safe cars, Volvo decided a few years back to start injecting some much-needed style into its cars. Now, far from being known for its slab-sided and rather dreary estates, the Swedish firm is an exemplar of the cool Scandi-style school of thought.
This 2018-2023 Volvo S60 executive saloon added a much-needed dash of extra style and panache to its normally staid class, and it stands out even among such highbrow rivals as the Audi A4, the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes C-Class.
Now, good looks aren’t everything; you'll need a bit of muscle to back things up. And interestingly, on that theme, under the bonnet of the handsome S60 you'll find only petrol engines: a 247bhp 2.0-litre T5 and a 385bhp 2.0-litre T8 plug-in hybrid initially, changed after a 2020 facelift to the 2.0 B5P, which was now a regular petrol-electric hybrid engine, and 2.0 T8 Recharge PHEV, which is a plug-in hybrid. There's also a sportier version of the PHEV engine known as the Polestar Engineered.
Initially, trims on offer were Inscription and R-Design. R-Design is for those wanting something sporty, because it has lowered suspension, larger (18in) alloy wheels and gloss black exterior pieces. Inscription is the even more luxurious model, with wood inlays inside and plenty of chrome outside.
Only one trim is offered on post-2020 cars: R-Design Edition. This is seriously well equipped, with 19in alloys, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a driver head-up display, climate control, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights.
The plug-in hybrid Polestar Engineered T8 versions have 19in alloys, a heated steering wheel, an upgraded Harman Kardon sound system and a set of expensive Ohlins adjustable dampers and a bespoke suspension tune.
With many illustrious rivals in the mix, the S60 needs to be decent to drive. Fortunately, it is. The most disappointing thing about the S60 is its uncomfortable ride. That’s partly because the only version on sale at present has relatively stiff sports suspension fitted as standard. It’s a setup that delivers a decidedly firm ride no matter what speed you’re doing, although things are worst around town. More comfortable executive saloons include the Audi A4 and Jaguar XE.
The S60’s lumpy ride would be easier to accept were it as fun to drive as its rivals, such as the 3 Series and Giulia. However, it actually leans more through tight twists and turns, and is generally less willing to change direction in the first place.
Not to be outdone by the competition, you can personalise your driving experience with the various driving modes available. You can make the steering lighter or heavier, alter the brake pedal feel and also make the accelerator response sharper.
Where the S60 differs most from its predecessor is inside, where there’s far more room for both people and luggage. The driver and front passenger have very comfortable seats with plenty of leg, head and shoulder room. The raised centre console and well-padded door-mounted armrests are great for long journeys, too.
Rear seat occupants also get lots of space to spread out, although fitting three adults across the rear bench would be pushing it. The boot is a good size, too.
Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Volvo S60 saloon?
Look out for any bodywork damage, such as dents and scratches. Make sure the bumpers don’t have any scrapes, because they can’t always be repaired and replacements are expensive.
Make sure the alloy wheels haven't been kerbed, because not only can they be costly to repair, but they also might be hiding some more serious suspension alignment issues.
Volvo offers some light-coloured trim options that might start to look grubby if not kept clean.
What are the most common problems with a used Volvo S60 saloon?
A problem was found with the vehicle connectivity module (VCM) that sends location information to the emergency services after a collision. It applies to cars constructed between 26 September 2018 and 30 October 2018. Any Volvo dealer should be able to perform a software update to fix the issue.
Loose rear suspension nut
There could be a problem with loose nuts and screws on the rear suspension of S60s made between 25 September 2018 and 1 April 2019. Contact your local dealer, because they'll be able to tell you if your car is affected. If it is, the bolts will be checked for tightness and replaced if necessary.
Automatic emergency braking (AEB)
The AEB system, which is supposed to apply the brakes when the forward collision sensors detect an imminent collision, might not actually do so. A software update is all that is required to sort the issue, and it applies to V60, S90, V90, XC40, XC60 and XC90 models built after 21 January 2019. The fix can be completed by any Volvo dealer, and owners should have been contacted regarding this. However, you can also speak with your local retailer for further information.
Is a used Volvo S60 saloon reliable?
The S60 finished in ninth place out of 25 cars in the executive car class in our most recent reliability survey. Volvo as a manufacturer ranked 15th in the most recent What Car? Reliability Survey out of 32 brands.
If you would like to see the full reliability list, head to the What Car? Reliability Survey pages for more information.
What used Volvo S60 saloon will I get for my budget?
Prices for the Volvo S60 start at £15,000 for an early car with a high mileage, so it's best to budget for a spend between £16,000 and £19,000 or more for something with a more average number of miles from late 2018 or early 2019. Spend between £18,000 and £24,000 on a used 2020 or 2021 car, £24,000 to £28,000 on 2022 and 2023 models, a little more across the board for the plug-in hybrid versions.
Check the value of a used Volvo V60 with What Car? Valuations
How much does it cost to run a Volvo S60 saloon?
The 2.0 T5 petrol averages 41.5mpg under the latest WLTP tests, where the plug-in hybrid version, the T8, averages an extraordinary 166.2mpg. You probably won't see this figure in the real world, unless you charge it up regularly and your journeys are short, and the car fits into your lifestyle.
All versions of the S60 fall under the flat-rate fee of the current road tax system, unless it was worth more than £40,000 when new (including any factory-fitted optional extras). If it was, you will have to pay an additional surcharge every year until the car reaches six years of age. The road tax is currently £180 a year (hybrids £170 a year) and the luxury tax is £390 a year. To find out more about the current road tax costs, click here for further information.
Volvo's servicing certainly isn’t the cheapest around, but you can spread the costs with a monthly service plan.
The cheapest S60 to insure is in group 34 and the plug-in hybrid T in 42. On the whole, the S60 sits in higher insurance groups than the Audi A4 and could cost you more per year to insure.
Which used Volvo S60 saloon should I buy?
We would seek out the 2.0 T5 version, either in earlier pure petrol form or in later petrol and hybrid version. It's punchy, smooth and economical.
As far as trims go, we'd look for the regular R-Design trim, which is well equipped and reasonably priced used.
Our favourite Volvo S60: 2.0 T5 R-Design
What alternatives should I consider to a used Volvo S60 saloon?
The Audi A4 is a smooth and refined executive car. There are also more engine options available, particularly on the petrol side.
The BMW 3 Series is a fine-driving car. Again, it’s not the biggest around, but it does have a very easy-to-use infotainment system.
Despite not being great to drive, the Mercedes C-Class is spacious, well equipped and very efficient in C220d diesel guise.
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