Five quick thoughts on the 2020 Volvo S60 T8 hybrid

Greg Migliore



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The 2020 Volvo S60 joined our long-term fleet in January, just in time for a blast of snow and ice. It’s handsome inside and out, handles well and is an interesting choice for luxury sedan buyers. I spent a long weekend in the Volvo shortly after its arrival, and here are my initial impressions.

It’s a good value. Our S60, formally known as the “S60 T8 E-AWD Inscription” stickers for $58,975, including destination. For those unfamiliar with Volvo parlance, the name spells out what you get: a plug-in hybrid with all-wheel drive and some of Volvo’s nicest luxury trimmings. 

The interior is simple, clean and attractive. There’s brown leather and black structural elements. The details, like grainy wood accents on the dashboard, tiny Swedish flags on the seats, and Volvo’s signature Orrefors crystal shifter, are nice without being ostentatious — the definition of Volvo. The layout is well-considered. I like the tall vents that bookend the nine-inch touchscreen with Sensus. The seats are comfortable, and I easily found a good driving position with proper visibility. The 12.3-inch driver display, which I had set up in a two-dial configuration, is easy to read and use.

The dynamics are excellent. The steering is light with satisfying feedback.There’s a twisty wooded road near the office that serves as my handling course for testing sporty cars, and the S60 was engaging and enjoyable as I whipped past the big houses as darkness fell. I enjoyed being low to the ground. The chassis is tight, but sensibly tuned for the right balance of comfort and athleticism.

The exterior is elegant and distinctive. Cadillac, Mercedes, Audi and BMW all have striking headlights, but the Volvo’s LED headlights with Thor’s Hammer daytime running lights stand out. The C-shaped taillights are a nice flourish in back. The S60 is a handsome sedan. It gets attention but it doesn’t turn heads, and that is the feeling a lot of premium buyers seek.

 


The hybrid tech is the highlight. The powertrain is certainly interesting. The direct-injected 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder is turbo and supercharged, making 313 hp on its own. Factor in the electric motor fed by lithium-ion batteries and the system makes 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque. There’s a lot going on here, arguably too much. In the long sweep of automotive history, there are few other examples of turbo and supercharged engines. Regardless, the hybrid tech, and the ability to plug in, is a point of differentiation between the S60 and other other luxury sedans. With a range of 22 miles on electricity, I was able to make it home easily and then plug in once back at work. I was in the S60 for nearly a week (admittedly didn’t drive a ton) and I used hardly any gas going to work and running errands. That’s the way I want to live.

In short, I'm looking forward to more time in our S60. It's fun, playful and classy. Other luxury sedans strive to be this interesting. I hope that vibe continues.


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