Full 2014 Volvo S60 Review
What's New for 2014
For 2014, the Volvo S60 gets a face-lift that gives it a lower, leaner look while the cabin also sees a few changes. The latter include new instruments, new seats, added metallic accents, an upgraded tire pressure monitor and white, rather than green, button illumination. Finally, Volvo has revised some option packages and quickened transmission shift speeds for the Sport mode on T6 models.
Yes, the entry-level luxury sport sedan game is rife with talented, higher-profile players. But along with the all-stars from Germany, Japan and America, the Swedish-built 2014 Volvo S60 can certainly hold its own.
In addition to providing the expected qualities of this segment -- handsome styling, solid performance, a comfortable cabin and plenty of luxury features -- the 2014 S60 also brings endearing Volvo personality traits to the table. These include impressive safety, extremely comfortable front seats and feisty, turbocharged five- and six-cylinder engines.
Those safety features include standard "City Safe," which can automatically stop the S60 if a low-speed collision with another vehicle or fixed object is deemed imminent. Optional this year is a similar system that also senses wayward pedestrians or cyclists. The latter is part of a package that also does its best to keep the driver on point via its driver-attention and lane-departure warning systems.
Also new this year is refreshed front and rear end styling, a slightly revised cabin and some more features for the various option packages. The slimmer grille and headlights give the S60 a leaner, lower look, while new instruments, added metallic accents and cloth-covered B-pillars dress things up inside. T6 and R-Design models get new sport seats, new paddle shifters and a multiconfigurable instrument display.
Overall, we like the 2014 Volvo S60. While its backseat is a bit tight and its sporting credentials aren't quite on the same level as the BMW 3 Series or Cadillac ATS, the Volvo S60 fits right in against more comfort-tuned entry-level luxury sedans like the Acura TL, 2014 Audi A4 and 2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. It's also priced attractively, often thousands less than the competition. If you're shopping for a premium-brand sedan this year, this quietly competent Volvo is worth a test-drive.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 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 adjustable lumbar), driver memory settings, power-folding rear headrests, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, T-Tec cloth upholstery, a 7-inch display screen, 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, bright window trim, a sunroof, leather upholstery, a power passenger seat, a configurable instrument display and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Premier Plus includes those features and adds a quick-fold front passenger seat, a grocery bag holder and a rearview camera.
The Platinum package gets you the options above plus auto-dimming/power-retractable side mirrors, cabin accent lighting, a 12-speaker premium sound system and a navigation system.
The Climate package includes a heated windshield, heated windshield washers, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats 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, pedestrian detection and cyclist detection.
An 18-inch Sport package includes 18-inch alloy wheels, stiffer suspension tuning, sport front seats and paddle shifters. Also available is the Blind Spot Information System package, which features side blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert and front and rear park sensors. Adaptive bi-xenon headlights and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual displays are the S60's notable stand-alone options.
To the T5's standard features the T6 adds a more powerful engine, all-wheel drive and the contents of the Premier and Sport packages. The T6 R-Design adds to the T6 more power, special exterior styling details, unique 18-inch wheels, the adaptive bi-xenon headlights, upgraded brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, special interior trim, a sport steering wheel and the contents of the Premium package less the front and rear parking sensors, which are optional. Other options and packages essentially mirror those of the T5.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Volvo S60 T5 has a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5 engine that produces 250 horsepower 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 24 mpg combined (21 mpg city/30 mpg highway) on front-wheel-drive models and 23 combined with AWD, which is respectable 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 automatic is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, an S60 T6 without this year's transmission improvements hit 60 mph in 5.9 seconds; this year's model should be a tenth or two quicker, though that's still about the same as other AWD sedans with similar power. Estimated fuel economy stands at 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city/25 mpg highway).
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. Fuel economy is identical to the T6.
Upholding Volvo's sterling reputation for passenger protection, the 2014 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 and cyclists 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, a rearview camera, a blind-spot warning system (which includes warnings about rapidly approaching vehicles on either side) and rear cross-traffic alerts.
In Edmunds brake testing, the T5 came to a stop from 60 mph in a below-average 128 feet. With its bigger brakes and high-performance tires, the T6 managed to stop in an excellent 114 feet.
The government gave the Volvo S60 a perfect five stars for overall crash protection, with five stars each for total 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 moderate-overlap frontal-offset, small-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. The S60 is notable in that it's one of the few cars to earn a "Good" rating in that new small-overlap frontal-offset test. The IIHS also rated the S60's optional frontal collision warning and mitigation system as "Superior."
Interior Design and Special Features
Interior materials in the 2014 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 Scandinavian 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 you expect in a Volvo, both the standard front seats and the optional sport 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 are similarly sized, but cars like the Acura TL and BMW 3 Series are 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.
The 2014 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 front-wheel-drive T5 model, meanwhile, lines up favorably with other rear-drive entry-level luxury cars like the 328i and C250 that feature turbocharged four-cylinders. Most buyers would likely find the acceleration, response and fuel economy of the T5 to be compelling, but the Volvo's comfortable ride is its strong suit.