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2018 Volvo S60 sedan targets the safety-conscious luxury buyer Featured

Nov 14, 2017 Hit: 456 Written by 
The 2018 Volvo S60 is among the safest vehicles you'll find anywhere.
The 2018 Volvo S60 is among the safest vehicles you'll find anywhere. Photo by Matt Myftiu/

Volvo is a curious brand to most Americans. While the Swedish by origin but now Chinese-owned brand has a reputation for safe and reliable vehicles, it’s generally not thought of in the same breath as the traditional big names in the luxury segment.

Volvo continues to double-down on trying to change that view, even if they recognize that they won’t match the mostly German segment leaders in terms of pure performance most of the time, and part of that effort is focused on groundbreaking safety and tech features, in addition to creating a luxury look and feel.

I recently spent some time in a 2018 Volvo S60 sedan, and I’m back with a full report.

Volvo’s exteriors have never been too audacious and this is no exception. Compared to some in the luxury realm, they are downright tame, though the Volvo nameplate up front and fan-blade style grille do grab your attention.

The interior is where we start to approach the luxury level a bit more.  Front seats are high end and comfortable via their leather upholstery, and the back seats aren't far behind. You will find some nice wood grain features worked into the interior design, and no materials feel cheap inside this vehicle. Speaking of comfort, the Climate package offers heated everying: front seats, rear seats, steering wheel and even the windshield washer nozzles.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle:: 2018 Volvo S60
  • Price as tested:: $47,715
  • Best feature:: Excellent safety record and impressive tech
  • Rating:: 4.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?:: Luxury sedan buyers who care more about safety and comfort than they do about power and performance.

Limited trunk space is offered but you get impressive rear leg room in the S60 Inscription trim level I tested (a few more inches than regular sized S60) … and you have lots of head space all around. A power glass moonroof is also offered. Among the variations of the S60 you can get is the Cross Country version, which has 7.9-inches of ground clearance.


There are several engine options on the 2017 Volvo S60, and my test vehicle featured a turbocharged four-cylinder motor with 240 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Other engine options go into the 300+ horsepower range, including the limited edition Polestar trim level with its 362 hp six-cylinder engine.

The S60 features an 8-speed automatic transmission, and both FWD and AWD are offered.

The overall driving experience can be fast and fun when you want to test the vehicle and its limits; it’s not a hot rod but does offer decent sportiness for its class and impressive handling.
In this class, though, the top vehicles the S60 is battling will excel in this area, so the S60 isn’t going to reach the customer who prefers maximum performance capability.


Here’s where the Volvo brand’s history comes to life. When it comes to safety and technology, almost no automaker can boast what Volvo does (in fact, it’s one of the leaders in the autonomous vehicle movement and has pledged to go to all electric and hybrid vehicles starting in 2019).


Let’s start with this: The 2018 S60 received absolutely perfect 5 star government safety rankings ... That’s Overall, Frontal crash, Side crash, Rollover, and in all seats. Translation: This is one of the safest vehicles you can drive, period. For people with families that may be on the top of the list when considering what luxury vehicle to buy.


Among the S60’s standard safety features are: electronic stability control; tire pressure monitor; safety belts with pretensioners; and a whiplash protection system

The BLIS package is optional and warns you of blind spot dangers; provides cross traffic alerts; plus it includes park assist. One very cool thing is that Park Assist Pilot parallel parks for you (And who doesn’t want that? Only a masochist enjoys parallel parking.)

Other tech and safety options on the S60 include: a Harman/Kardon premium sound system; adaptive cruise control, collision warning with full automatic braking, pedestrian/cyclist detection with automatic braking (good for those who drive in have foot-traffic areas), and more. Getting outside of the vehicle itself, you can either cool down or heat up your vehicle via smartphone with Volvo On Call. Meeting locations can also be synced with your Navigation system.

On the downside, while it looks attractive on the wood grain paneling, the S60’s Sensus infotainment system is quite convoluted and difficult to master. It’s not nearly as straightforward or intuitive as the controls you'll find on its competition, though I suppose driving it regularly would ease that burden. Also odd is that the rearview camera is not standard on the S60; seems like that should be automatic at this price point.

The official fuel mileage for the S60 comes in at 22 city/33 highway/26 combined; I averaged 23 mpg, so I was on the lower side of that estimate. Looking comparably, the fuel economy will mirror its opponents in the luxury class from fellow Europeans BMW, Benz and Audi.

The 2018 Volvo S60 I tested was priced at $47,715; base price starts about $35K, and you can push it all the way up over $60K with the Polestar edition. These numbers are slightly less than you’ll pay vs. the standard luxury fair, so there is a bit of savings here.

The simplest way to put it is like this: If you’re a luxury car buyer looking for a “driver’s car” in the sense of pure performance and maximum speed, you’ll probably end up in an Audi or BMW (or possibly a Cadillac). But if that’s not your focus and you would prefer to spend a bit less and get a bevy of safety and tech features instead, the Volvo S60 is a better option for you.

============ can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.


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Matt Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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