There are two types of Volvo fans, aging Baby Boomers who wax nostalgic over the early boxy Swedish cars and wagons, and a much smaller number of enthusiasts who know they have been dramatically upgraded under Chinese ownership.
The completely redesigned midsize 2019 Volvo S60 should significantly increase the current fan base. It is right up there with the finest sport sedans — sexy looking, sumptuous feeling, fast driving, and super safe. But best of all, the high performance version, the T6 R-Design AWD, costs less than $60,000, which is well within the upper range of the market.
The R-Design package includes everyhtinh from special wheels and tires to Nappa leather sport seats and a custom steering wheel. The bright red model I tested attracted more attention than any other Volvo that I've ever driven, and for good reason. It's low slung and looks great. After a few years of struggling with the grill design, the S60 now has a front end that both honors Volvo's heritage and looks sporty with a low air dam. The "slitty" headlights also help.
But the magic is in how it drives. The R-Design is powered by Volvo's T6 engine, which is both turbocharged and supercharged, producing 316 horsepower and 295 foot-pounds of torque. All that power is instantly conveyed to the wheels through an incredibly smooth shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. The belt-driven supercharger boosts the engine off the line and the exhaust driven turbocharger provides more power as the speed builds, making the 2.0-liter inline four cylinder engine feel much bigger than it is.
The ride is also incredibly smooth and supple, thanks to a well tuned suspension that smooths out rough roads and the R-Design's standard all-wheel-drive system that increases traction in both dry and wet conditions.
Inside, our test R-Design had some of the most supportive but comfortable front bucket seats we have ever experienced. Unlike some "sport bucket" seats, they were not too narrow or too hard, making them ideal for both aggressive driving and long road trips.
But Volvo hasn't forgotten the pioneering work in the field of safety that first established their reputation. Our test S60 was state of the art, with a front sensing system that warned if we were approaching an object (like a rapidly slowing car) too fast and if any vehicles were in out blind spots, and much more.
The huge touch screen that controls the infotainment system is a mixed blessing. Those who grew up with iPads will find it easier to use than those who aren't used to swiping screens to move between classes of functions. For those in the latter category — who will likely be older drivers — driveway practice is recommended. But the sheer size of the screen provides a great backup camera view whenever the transmission is shifted into reverse.
The 2019 S60 is available in other trim levels, ranging from a front-wheel-drive T5 version to a gas-electric hybrid T8 model. For more information on the complete line, read a previous Pamplin Media Group review
Those considering a premium sports sedan should put the redesigned 2109 Volvo S60 near the top of their shopping list. It is guaranteed to delight you.
2019 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design AWD
Base price: $$36,795
Price as tested: $56,010
Type: Mid-size sedan
Engine: Turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter inline 4 (316 hp)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic transmission.
EPA estimated mileage: 21/32
Overall length: 187 inches
Curb weight: 3,657 pounds
Final assembly: Ridgeville, South Carolina
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