Used 2001 Volvo S60 Review

Edmunds expert review

Is it an elegant luxury sedan or a sleek sports sedan? Surprise, it's both.

What's new for 2001

The S60 is Volvo's new sedan that takes the place of the discontinued S70 Sedan. Smaller than the S80 but bigger than the S40, Volvo has designed the S60 to be sporty as well as safe.

Vehicle overview

The midsize S60 is Volvo's replacement for the discontinued S70 Sedan. But to just say that the S60 is the S70's replacement wouldn't quite be correct. Volvo has higher aspirations for this car. Without sacrificing any of the usual Volvo trademarks such as safety and upscale features, Volvo wants the S60 to be a sporty car, a car that would appeal to someone who likes to drive.

To go about this, Volvo has built the S60 on the P2 platform. This is the same platform that the company uses for its S80 and 2001 V70. Neither the S80 nor the V70 are known for their Olympian athletic ability, however, so for the S60, Volvo reduced the P2 platform's dimensions to give the car more nimble handling. Compared to the 2000 S70, the S60 is 5.7 inches shorter, has a 2-inch shorter wheelbase, and has wider wheel tracks both front and rear.

Besides being smaller than the old S70, the S60 also has fewer trim levels. Volvo will offer three for 2001: the base 2.4, the mid-level 2.4T, and the range-topping T5. The three vary in levels of standard equipment and what kind of engine the car has. The S60 2.4 comes with a 2.4-liter five-cylinder engine that produces 168 horsepower. The 2.4T, as you might guess, is turbocharged, and it has 197 horsepower. The most powerful engine is the 247-horsepower 2.3-liter turbocharged engine in the T5. Both the 2.4 and T5 can be equipped with either a manual or automatic transmission, while the 2.4T is available only with an automatic.

Making the car look sporty was another priority for Volvo. To do this, stylists gave the car the lines of a coupe without intruding on interior space. This effect is most noticeable when looking at the sloping roofline and thick C-pillars, as they look similar to the ones found on the C70 Coupe. Up front, the raised "V" hood lines hark back to the Volvo's mid-'60s 122 series.

The S60 has an interior that is similar in design to the S80 and V70. The broad instrument panel has large and easy-to-use knobs and buttons for the sound system and climate control. There is seating for five, with more legroom, headroom and shoulder room for front passengers when compared to the 2000 S70. The S60 doesn't have as much rear legroom or trunk space as the S70, however. Making its usual appearance is Volvo's roll call of safety equipment, including dual-stage front airbags, side airbags, and head-protection airbags.

In terms of equipment and safety, there are only a few entry-level luxury cars that can match up to the S60. But would you want to buy one? That probably depends on what you are looking for. If you have owned Volvo sedans in the past, but you want one that's sportier, the S60 would be an excellent match for you. But if driving enjoyment is a top priority, a BMW 330i or Lexus IS 300 would probably be a better choice.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.