High-riding SUVs have managed to take over the automotive world by storm. However, the same cannot be said when it comes entry-level luxury segment. Here, the entry-level luxury saloons manage to outperform their jacked-up siblings in sales. Hence, saying that the most-crowded and celebrated segment in the luxury car space remains the entry-level luxury saloon segment is not wrong. To grab a bite of this profit-pie, the 2020 Volvo S60 is finally making its way to the Swedish marque's showroom floors in India by the first quarter of 2021. The bookings for the Volvo S60 have already begun. But, should you consider booking one? Let's find it out.
2020 Volvo S60 First Drive Review – Exterior
The aesthetics of the Volvo S60 can be best described as splendid. Well, in my perspective, I found it to be a baller of a car. Yes! It does borrow a lot of design cues from its elder sibling - the Volvo S90. Yet, gets significant distinction by featuring some sportier and youthful touches. It measures 4,761 mm in length, 1,850 mm in width, and 1,421 mm in height. With these dimensions, it has an imposing street presence and with the overall hunkered-down stance, the Volvo S60 looks alluring.
At the front, it wears the chrome-studded radiator grille which is a common sight on all the Volvo cars, and so is the case with Thor's hammer-inspired LED DRLs. The bumper here gets more cuts and creases than the S90, and the same can be said for the faux air vents that are good at breaking the visual bulk. The panel gaps for the bonnet, however, could have been tighter at places.
From the sides, the typical 3-box silhouette is evident. The bonnet is long, the boot lid has a sharp edge, while there's enough space between the front wheel arch and the door. All of these traits signify the premium quotient that Volvo S60 packs in its design. The dual-tone finished, multi-spoke, 18-inch alloy wheels blend smoothly with the S60's looks. On most of its rivals, the shoulder lines maintain their dominance from the headlamps to the tail lamps. This, however, isn't the case here. The shoulder lines are pronounced over the wheel arches but follow a disconnected suite. It helps it with a sportier stance. Also, door handles get puddle lamps to keep the occupants aware of the car's surroundings in the dark.
At the rear, things look rather plain and conservative but still pretty upmarket. The exhaust tips are finished in chrome, but the actual pipes are quite slim and industrial. The tail lamps are more of an evolution than revolution when compared with those seen on the S90. On the whole, the 2020 Volvo S60 looks fabulous from almost all angles. The design shouts out premiumness while compromising a little on the sportier appeal.
2020 Volvo S60 First Drive Review – Interior
The Swedish carmaker has ensured that the S60's interior has enough to keep the occupants cocooned, comfy, and entertained. To start with, the steering wheel is one of the nicest-looking units that we have ever come across. It has 12 buttons in total, which are laid out in a neat & easy-to-reach fashion. Behind the steering wheel is a 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster, which is customisable and can show a lot of information. However, it isn't as advance as Audi's virtual cockpit. The dashboard is flat, but its layout looks neat. In the centre, it gets a massive, vertically-stacked, 9-inch touchscreen display for the infotainment unit. The touch response of this unit is crisp, and the skin is intuitive too. Sound output is taken care of by a Harman Kardon-sourced system. The climate controls are integrated into the screen itself, which is a bit of a task to use while driving.
Talking of the climate control, the 2020 Volvo S60 gets a 4-zone setup. Also, the vents on the front row are very appealing in terms of design. Moving over to the centre console, it is a thoughtfully designed one. There are places to keep and charge your phone via a wireless phone charger, keep the bottles intact, car key secured and other devices docked and charged via the USB ports under the front centre armrest. The door bins offer ample storage spaces and that stays in the same in the second row as well.
The seats in this Volvo are supportive and can hold you in place for hours with no discomfort. The front ones are power-adjustable with under-thigh support extension and lumbar adjustment too. However, the front row of seats lack a little headroom, whereas it isn't an issue at the rear bench. Reason for this flaw is the massive dual-pane sunroof. The rear occupants get 4 AC vents in total but the AC panel and massive transmission tunnel are quite intruding. The latter makes it an unfit choice for five occupants. Thus, folding down the centre armrest is advisable and is quite wide too.
The quality of the components used inside the 2020 Volvo S60 feel superior at almost every place you touch. The fit-finish isn't an issue either. As for the safety of the occupants; well, it is a Volvo and comes loaded with a lot of tech. It gets front collision avoidance aid, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, speed warnings and more. The Volvo S60, however, is devoid of any sun blinds and doesn't get ventilated front seats either. On the whole, the interior of the Volvo S60 feels near-perfect in almost every sense.
2020 Volvo S60 First Drive Review – Engine & Gearbox
In a bid to keep the environment clean, Volvo has announced it will keep away from diesel engines. Hence, the S60 will solely be available with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol motor that comes coupled to an eight-speed automatic as standard. This motor is available in different states of tunes with its peak power output ranging from mere 190 PS to a stomach-turning 415 PS. In the T4 trim, which is likely to be the sole trim on offer, the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol unit pushes out 190 PS of peak power and 300 Nm of max torque.
As you climb up the trim ladder, the engine gets a supercharger and electric assistance to belt out more horses. The transmission, however, remains the same 8-speed unit. Here in the T4 trim, it still feels like a nicely-tuned configuration. While there are no steering-mounted paddle shifters on board, you don't need them either. The gearbox is always eager to downshift and observes your throttle inputs with constant attention. To keep a check on fuel consumption, it comes with a start-stop system that works flawlessly.
The engine feels strong, responsive and refined. With enough low-end grunt and mid-range torque, the top-end feels a little compromised. As a result, the claimed figure for 0 to 100 kmph run is 7.5 seconds, while the top speed is electronically-limited to 180 kmph. To fiddle around with powertrain's character, there are three driving modes on offer, which can modulate the way engine and gearbox respond to the driver's inputs. On the whole, the S60 feels adequately fast and punchy, but not so much to make you giggle with excitement every time you prod the accelerator pedal.
2020 Volvo S60 First Drive Review – Ride & handling
The 2020 Volvo S60 uses double wishbones at the front and a multi-link suspension at the rear, which is tuned on the softer side. It can absorb bumps and uneven patches of the road with great poise. However, negotiating tall speed breakers and bad patches of road with full load has to be done with the utmost care, as the ground clearance of this luxury saloon stands at just 122 millimetres. Surprisingly, the ride quality is still supple with the 18-inch rims and low-profile tyres in place.
Talking of dynamics, the Volvo S60 comes with steering that has the right amount of heft to it and yet, is also light at city speeds. Around the centre, it feels a little vague but the feel and feedback do not seem fake. However, it does tend to lose some heft when the car reaches larger triple-digit numbers on the speedo. While the body roll is well contained, the S60 has some room for improvement to come close to the BMW 3-Series, dynamically. Attacking corners and sweepers with this FWD sedan can be frightening at times, as we felt the ESP was a bit too intrusive and over-assisted for our liking.
2020 Volvo S60 First Drive Review – Verdict
In summation, the 2020 Volvo S60 has everything that you need from a daily-driven entry-level luxury saloon. It looks elegant and can attract a lot of attention. The interior is plush too, and the ride quality is comfy. The S60 isn't a master of something specific, but a jack of all trades for sure. Hence, it comes up as a great option against the German trio that have been ruling the roost since the dawn of the segment. Also, with an aim to rake in more buyers, the brand is likely price it quite aggressively. However, if you need a product that is dynamically superior, look elsewhere. But in case you prefer a self-driven or chauffeur-driven, safe, sophisticated and unique looking entry-level luxury sedan for most of your trips, the 2020 Volvo S60 makes perfect sense.