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Used 2013 Volvo S60 Review

2013 Volvo S60

Edmunds Summary Review of the 2013 Volvo S60

  • The 2013 Volvo S60 is a well-balanced and stylish luxury sedan. As such, it makes for a tempting alternative to the ubiquitous German luxury sedans.

  • Pros

    Powerful and efficient engines; well-balanced ride and handling; strong brakes and smart all-wheel-drive system with T6; comfortable front seats; superb crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Smaller-than-average backseat; some dated controls.

  • What's New for 2013

    For 2013, Volvo has made tweaks to the engine and transmission of the T5 model. Power output for the 2.5-liter engine remains the same, but Volvo says the T5's 0-60-mph time is nearly half a second quicker this year. All-wheel drive is a new option for the T5 as well. Other changes this year include revised option packages as well as more standard features. The latter include automatic wipers and headlight washers for all trims as well as keyless ignition/entry and a sunroof for the T6.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2013 Volvo S60

What's New for 2013

For 2013, Volvo has made tweaks to the engine and transmission of the T5 model. Power output for the 2.5-liter engine remains the same, but Volvo says the T5's 0-60-mph time is nearly half a second quicker this year. All-wheel drive is a new option for the T5 as well. Other changes this year include revised option packages as well as more standard features. The latter include automatic wipers and headlight washers for all trims as well as keyless ignition/entry and a sunroof for the T6.


If it's been a while since you've taken a look at a Volvo, now's a good time to do so. The 2013 Volvo S60 isn't the obvious choice for an entry-level luxury sedan, but this attractive luxury sedan provides the expected qualities of the segment while also maintaining the other endearing characteristics of this Swedish automaker, including cutting-edge safety features, extremely comfortable front seats and feisty turbocharged engines.

As far as safety, the S60 comes with Volvo's City Safe feature, which can automatically stop the S60 if a low-speed collision with another vehicle or fixed object is deemed imminent. A similar system that senses pedestrians (or more aptly, crazy jaywalkers) is optional and comes in a package that does its best to mitigate driver inattention in a world filled with smartphones and misbehaving children.

Yet the 2013 Volvo S60 is not without its exciting side, as all three engines offered in the lineup provide a turbocharged kick. Said kick ranges from 250-325 horses and these turbocharged five- and six-cylinder engines boast not only spirited acceleration but also good fuel economy numbers. For this year, Volvo has revised the T5's 2.5-liter engine, introducing a higher compression ratio and reduced internal friction. Volvo also adjusted the way the T5's transmission shifts in Sport mode. Official rated output still stands at 250 horsepower, but Volvo claims the T5 now has a 0.4-second quicker 0-60-mph time than last year.

Overall we're pretty impressed with the 2013 Volvo S60. In addition to being a well-rounded entry in a tough segment, it's also priced attractively, often thousands less than the competition. And while it isn't a sharp-edged sport sedan like a BMW 3 Series or Cadillac ATS, the Volvo S60 fits right in against more comfort-tuned entry-level luxury sedans like the Acura TL, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. We certainly think it's worth a test-drive.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Volvo S60 is a midsize luxury sedan available in three trim levels -- T5, T6 and T6 R-Design.

The T5 comes standard with 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, headlight washers, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat with memory functions and adjustable lumbar, power-folding rear headrests, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, T-Tec cloth upholstery, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The Premier package includes keyless ignition/entry, a sunroof, leather upholstery, a power passenger seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Premier Plus adds active bi-xenon headlights, front and rear parking sensors and a compass. The Platinum package further adds a 12-speaker premium sound system (with DVD player), a navigation system and a rearview camera. The Climate package includes heated front seats, heated windshield washers and an active cabin filter. Springing for the Technology package gets you adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, driver-attention warning, lane-departure warning and a collision warning system with auto braking and pedestrian detection.

Other options for the T5 include different wheels, a blind-spot warning system, heated rear seats and a rear seat dual DVD entertainment system as well as several available packages.

To the T5's standard features the T6 adds a more powerful engine, all-wheel drive, 18-inch wheels, bigger brakes, sport-tuned suspension and steering and the contents of the Premier package. Otherwise, options and packages essentially mirror those of the T5.

The T6 R-Design adds to the T6 more power, special styling, unique 18-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, a rear spoiler, special interior trim, a sport steering wheel, sport seats and the contents of the Premium package less the front and rear parking sensors, which are optional. Options include the blind-spot warning system, heated rear seats and a rear seat dual DVD entertainment system as well as the Platinum, Climate and Technology packages.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2013 Volvo S60 T5 has a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5 engine that produces 250 hp and 266 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard. All-wheel drive is optional. Volvo estimates that the T5 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds (6.6 with AWD). Estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined (20/29/23 with AWD) -- pretty thrifty given this powertrain's performance.

The S60 T6 AWD, as the name implies, comes with all-wheel drive as well as a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 that produces 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed auto is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, the S60 T6 hit 60 mph in 5.9 seconds -- about the same as other AWD sedans with similar power. Estimated fuel economy stands at 18/25/21.

The T6 R-Design gets a more powerful version of the same engine good for 325 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive and the six-speed auto are still standard. Volvo claims the R-Design will hit 60 in 5.5 seconds, while fuel economy is identical to the T6.


Upholding Volvo's sterling reputation for passenger protection, the 2013 S60 comes loaded with standard safety features that include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, whiplash-reducing front head restraints and City Safety. The latter can help the driver avoid rear-ending other vehicles or a stationary object at speeds of up to 19 mph by automatically applying the brakes if he doesn't react in time.

Included in the optional Technology package is Volvo's pedestrian detection feature, which can apply full braking force (reducing speed by as much as 22 mph) to help you avoid hitting pedestrians who are at least 31 inches in height. This package also includes electronic warnings for driver inattention, lane departure and impending collision, the last of which includes automatic braking. Other safety options include front and rear parking sensors and a side blind-spot warning system.

In Edmunds brake testing, the T5 came to a stop from 60 mph in a below-average 128 feet. With its bigger brakes, the T6 managed to stop in an excellent 114 feet.

The government gave the Volvo S60 a perfect five stars for overall frontal and side crash protection. In testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the S60 received the best possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Interior materials in the 2013 Volvo S60 are on par with the rest of the entry-level luxury sedan class. The heavier graining on the dash and doors won't suit everyone, but there's no denying that the interior leather, vinyl and plastic are quality materials. Volvo's unique take on wood and metal accents also gives the S60's cabin more personality than most rivals.

The straightforward dual-temperature adjustment dials and "mode man" pictogram make climate control adjustments simple and intuitive. The audio system is fairly easy to use, too, though the array of small audio buttons looks somewhat dated. The interface for the available DVD-based navigation system is far superior than that of past Volvos, but the navigation software still feels a few years behind rivals' systems.

As one expects of a Volvo, the front seats offer excellent long-trip comfort and proper support. Unfortunately, the backseat isn't quite as accommodating. The seats themselves are supportive, but legroom and foot room are tight for adults taller than 5-foot-8. Competitors like the C-Class and 3 Series are similarly sized, but an Acura TL is more welcoming for taller passengers.

The trunk's 12-cubic-foot capacity is a bit small for the class as well, but a low liftover height makes it easy to access the space. Both the rear seats and the front passenger seat fold down, and there's a separate ski pass-through.

Driving Impressions

Volvo has gone to great lengths to characterize the S60 as "naughty," as if it's a misbehaving sport sedan. In actuality, the 2013 Volvo S60 is a comfortable, sophisticated and well-behaved luxury sedan with ample power whether you go with five or six turbocharged cylinders. It's a sure-footed handler with nicely weighted steering that feels substantial without being heavy.

Regardless of output, the T6 engines are smooth and powerful, and the all-wheel-drive system apportions power to individual wheels to maximize traction and grip through turns or on slippery roads. The base T5 model, meanwhile, lines up favorably with other entry-level luxury cars like the 328i and C250 that feature turbocharged four-cylinders. Most buyers should be more than happy with the acceleration, response and fuel economy the T5 provides.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 26 reviews) Write a Review

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Not really a sedan

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volvo S60

You may call this vehicle a sedan but after 2+ years with this vehicle it is better classified as a coupe. Sure it has 4 doors but the back seat is useless. The trunk isn't much better. At 12cu. ft. even a simple weekly trip to the grocery store requires items to be put in the back seat for the trip home. As for a road trip with more than 2 people just forget it. There is no way to put enough luggage in the trunk for anything more than a weekend and anything bigger than an infant in the back seat is a joke. Ironically, the only people that would fit in the back seat only make the lack of trunk space worse because they require even more stuff. Fuel economy on a vehicle of this size is awful. I owned a Accord before this vehicle and the mileage was on average 35% better for a vehicle that was bigger and older. The audio controls are confusing and lack simple functions. The Volvo system stores information some logical and some not so logical places. The resale value of this car has plummeted and I am not in a market where there are a number of these vehicles available so oversupply is not driving down the price. If we had not traded a paid in full vehicle against the purchase I would be upside down on the loan. We looked at other Volvo's to replace this one but found most suffer from the same lack of seating in the rear seats. If your going into this purchase thinking you are buying a sedan look elsewhere, if you wwant to pretend your buying a family car and really buying a sport coupe then this is a good vehicle for you.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

A solid workhorse in a field of sprinters

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volvo S60

Here's the deal, this car is a niche buy and tell you why. But first some background. My job is in the automotive electronics world, so working with car companies and design engineers is what I do 50 hours a week. What most engineers will tell you over dinner is that Volvo's have and do have the most solid design in the world. What that means is that they favor safety and long-term reliability over short-term aesthetics and performance. Here is where the problem begins. There are large segments of car buyers and this one fails to hit a big group. I'll get to that later. But here goes my personal review. This is an awesome car, but I'll give my 3 small criticisms. 1. The backseat. There are no 2 ways around this. The backseat is comfortable but insanely small. If you're over 5ft 8 inches, people will be uncomfortable sitting behind you. 2. The instrument cluster/infotainment. The speedometer takes a little getting used to. I'd expect a digital one to be honest, but you don't get it here. Can't say why its off a little, but its a minor annoyance. 3. Front seats. This is really dependent on the person. I'm 6ft 5in, so I'm a big guy. This car has really nice, comfortable seats, but they sit low and the whole car has kind of a low profile. For the extra long trips, comfort is a bit of an issue. But this is really just a big person problem. My wife and brother in law have driven it long distances as normal sized people in great comfort. Now the good. Where do I start. I have the AWD version and live in Minnesota, so you can do the math of how much fun you have when you mix a turbo with AWD in the snow. But that's not unique to this car. What is unique is the build itself. What you'll find when you drive european cars like this is that they just feel tight, from the suspension to the steering. But the S60 has an extra feeling of being just solid and that doesn't wear off. If you care to do so, just open the hood or go underneath it. I've done a little work myself and can tell you that they are meticulously well built and designed. There is a really rugged simplicity to them. the car is sport, quick and responsive. Don't believe reviewers that tell you otherwise. Simply google the 0-60 and other tests, it performs well. This is where it begins to distance itself from the Audi's and BMWs. These Volvos are best bought by people that plan to own them for a while. the target market is someone who wants a nice European style sedan with Japanese reliability. I've only had to have on repair done and it was the electronic parking brake motor (under warranty). But I can tell you that the repair bills will be nowhere near that of its European cousins, but will be higher than an American or Japanese car. The bottom line is that no matter what you hear or are told by Audi fanboys and the like, the S60 is a better car if you care about long term reliability and affordability. You may get a little more short term spunk from the Audi and BMW counterparts, but the only other place you'll get more is the price tag and the repair bill. There has been a ton of market research on this point and there is a significant segment of the population that buys European cars in this price range. That segment is men, ages 25-40. The main reason they buy them is the name recognition and status. The problem for Volvo is that Audi, BMW and to some extent VW own this space almost completely. There are 2 companies trying to crack that market. Cadillac, with their ATS and Volvo with the S60. Both a failing for the most part. The reason is that they don't have 4 rings or a blue and white badge on the grill. Long review, but I feel this car deserves it. Don't fall victim to the popularity contest. In this class of cars, this is the smart person's choice.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Great car

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volvo S60

Shop around before you pay. Best value compare with the same "level" of european car.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

I love my ride

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volvo S60

I love my car. One complaint doesn't do well with water pockets. The vehicle seems to light to drive in the rain

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Excellent performance

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volvo S60

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

2013 used s60 awd platinum and love it

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volvo S60

Bought used with high milage. All services were documented on Carfax so I felt that it was previously cared for. Honestly it is like it was a new car and I was lucky to have found a Platinum with all the bells and whistles. The drive is great, smooth handling. The audio is phenomenal. I didn't have warranty left on the car so I missed getting the dealer issues. I've driven it for almost two months and look forward to driving it everyday.

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Gas Mileage


  • 21
  • cty
  • 30
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Volvo S60 in VA is:

$63.92 per month*

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