2012 Volvo S60 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful and efficient engines
  • well-balanced ride and handling
  • strong brakes and smart all-wheel-drive system with T6
  • comfortable front seats
  • abundant safety features.
  • Cramped backseat
  • some dated controls.
List Price Range
$8,498 - $15,290

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2012 Volvo S60 is a well-balanced and stylish luxury sedan. It's a solid alternative to otherwise ubiquitous German luxury sedans.

Vehicle overview

With the 2012 Volvo S60, you can cast aside any preconceived notions about Volvos being bland, boxy or boring. Volvo's midsize luxury sedan -- curvaceous, modern, coupelike -- is one of the snazziest in its class. No "for a Volvo" qualification is needed; the S60 is a good-looking car bound to attract new folks to the brand.

Volvo redesigned the S60 just last year, giving it new styling, an updated interior and a powerful, 300-horsepower turbocharged engine. There are still some traditional Volvo strengths, though, including a comfortable ride, cosseting front seats and a focus on safety. Although the S60 doesn't lead the way in airbag count, it does have a variety of available driver warning systems designed to mitigate inattention in a world filled with smartphones and misbehaving children. Volvo's City Safety system, for example, is a standard feature that can automatically stop the car if a low-speed collision is imminent.

A subset of traditional Volvo buyers expects turbocharged engines, and the S60 offers three of them for 2012. Joining the carry-over 300-hp T6 AWD model is a new base T5 model fitted with a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5 engine. The T5 is good for 250 hp and boasts class-competitive acceleration and fuel economy. Meanwhile, the new T6 R-Design trim gains an additional 25 hp and 29 pound-feet of torque over the regular T6, along with more aggressive styling, a sport-tuned suspension and special interior touches like the blue-trimmed metallic gauges reminiscent of past sporty Volvos. Regardless of trim, however, these engines have the energetic snappiness that turbo Volvos of old were known for, only without the wheel-wrenching torque steer.

We're impressed with the 2012 Volvo S60. It's priced competitively, often thousands less than the competition. And while it isn't a sport sedan like a BMW 3 Series or Infiniti G Sedan, the Volvo S60 fits right in against more comfort-tuned entry-level luxury sedans like the Acura TL, Audi A4, Cadillac CTS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. In other words, you no longer have to think outside the box to consider a Volvo.

2012 Volvo S60 models

The 2012 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, heated mirrors, 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 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 T6 adds a more powerful engine and standard all-wheel drive, plus 18-inch wheels, bigger brakes, sport-tuned suspension, different steering tuning (includes selectable settings), leather upholstery and the auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Premium package available on the T5 and T6 adds adaptive bi-xenon headlights, a sunroof, an eight-way power passenger seat and, for the T5, the leather upholstery and auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The T6 R-Design adds more power, special styling, unique 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, a rear spoiler, special interior trim, a sport steering wheel, sport seats and the contents of the Premium package.

The Climate package adds heated front seats, heated windshield washers, automatic wipers and headlight washers. The Multimedia package adds a rearview camera, a navigation system with real-time traffic and a 12-speaker premium surround-sound audio system. The Technology package adds adaptive cruise control, driver-attention warning, lane-departure warning and a collision warning system with auto braking and pedestrian detection. Stand-alone options include a blind-spot warning system, front and rear parking sensors, keyless ignition/entry and a dual-screen rear seat entertainment system (not available on R-Design).

Available on the T5 is the Dynamic package, which adds 18-inch wheels and the T6's sport-tuned suspension and selectable steering settings. Available on the T6 is an adaptive suspension called Four-C that includes three driver-selectable settings, as well as chassis tuning from the T5 Touring and (at no cost) 17-inch wheels.

2012 Highlights

The Volvo S60 gains two new models for 2012. The entry-level T5 comes with a turbocharged five-cylinder engine, while the T6 R-Design features a sportier look, a more dynamic driving experience and more power from the turbocharged six-cylinder. A dual-screen rear seat entertainment system is also added to the options list.

Performance & mpg

The front-wheel-drive 2012 Volvo S60 T5 gets a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5 engine that produces 250 hp and 266 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, the T5 went from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds -- a reasonable time for an entry-level engine. Estimated fuel economy is 20 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined -- pretty thrifty given its power.

The S60 T6 AWD gets all-wheel drive and 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 18/26/21.

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 says the R-Design should be three tenths of a second quicker than the T6 AWD from zero to 60. Fuel economy is also identical.


Upholding Volvo's sterling reputation for passenger protection, the 2012 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.

Optional (via the Technology package) is Volvo's new 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.


Volvo has gone to great lengths to characterize the 2012 S60 as "naughty," as if it's a misbehaving sport sedan. Really, the 2012 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 can transfer different degrees of power to individual wheels to maximize traction and grip through turns or on slippery roads. The new 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 this engine returns.


Interior materials in the 2012 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 give 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 is starting to look dated. The available DVD-based navigation system finally eliminates the complicated back-of-the-steering-wheel controls in earlier Volvos for a more conventional dial-type controller. The interface works fine in practice, although Volvo's navigation software still feels a few years behind.

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 over 5-foot-8. Competitors like the C-Class and 3 Series are similarly sized, but an Acura TL or Cadillac CTS are more welcoming.

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.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2012 Volvo S60.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

This is a Volvo?
T6 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6A)
The dealer gave me an S60 as a loaner car and I liked it so much that I bought one 3 days later. I'm a long-time BMW owner and would never have thought I'd like an S60, but I was immediately impressed by the combination of comfort, performance, build quality, and classy interior. This is a front-wheel biased vehicle and it will never quite have the handling edge of a RWD car like a 335i, but Volvo found an excellent balance between comfort and performance. The S60 is a more comfortable highway ride with enough power and handling to keep it interesting to drive. I like that this car is HIGHLY configurable to individual driving style and the different settings actually work.
T5 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6A)
I only have 200 miles on it so far, but it is a tone of fun to drive. Great acceleration (I have the 5 cyl engine not the 6, but it is still very fast and has better mgp). It has a quite ride, and lots of gadgets even without the technology package or the DVD navigation system.
Bought back by dealer for major warranty issues
T Nowlin,07/14/2015
T5 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6A)
Update: The vehicle was bought back by Volvo under the CPO warranty at approximately 67,000 miles because of the concerning oil consumption issue they could not resolve after many visits and about six weeks with my car sitting at the shop waiting for a backordered replacement engine. After much consideration, I replaced the vehicle with an equivalent 2014 model, which is the first year of a minor design refresh. This model has been considerably more reliable in all respects. I cannot recommend the 2012 based on the numerous quality issues and the oil consumption problem that was specific to very early second-generation S60s. Original review: I have owned nothing but Volvos. That said, I'm a bit of a car guy and know the comparisons between my 2012 S60 T5 and its competitors. While it may not handle as tightly as a comparable Mercedes or BMW, a T5 beats a base 3-series or C-Class hands-down when it comes to speed and comfort. It's also a sharp-looking car. My primary motivation for purchasing this vehicle was because it was the second safest car ever tested by the IIHS (next to the Tesla Model S) at the time. I bought it certified pre-owned from a Volvo dealer with about 30,000 miles in 2014. It has the premium package (sunroof, leather, power passenger seat) and climate package (heated seats, headlight washers, rain-sensing wipers). The draw to the CPO car was the 100,000-mile/7-year drivetrain warranty. While I adore this car, I am also very, very glad I have the extended warranty. I don't think I've ever had to take a car into the shop so often. At the time I'm writing this, I have taken the car in four times to fix a leak in the passenger floorboard that they cannot identify (I will give the dealer credit for their exhaustive efforts with this). The silver trim on the steering wheel and console began to peel, which they replaced. They also replaced a broken air vent. One leather panel on the backseat has begun to flake while the ones beside of it have not. It's obvious to me that the tiny panel in the middle is made of inferior material to those surrounding it. The dealer would not address this because they "found evidence" that my dog had ridden in the backseat. Most problematic is that the oil pressure warning came on 4,000 miles after my most recent service, meaning that it was four (of five) quarts low. It goes in later this week to have that issue figured out. I maintain this car well, having my services done when (or before) they're due, and only use synthetic oil. It shouldn't be having these problems. But most importantly to me, I'm safe, comfortable, have the power to escape a treacherous situation, and look damn good doing it. But, of course, it is as I'm on my way to the dealership for the millionth time for warranty work.
Superb car
T5 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6A)
My wife and I are long-time BMW owners, and we love those cars. We compared the T5 to a new BMW 3-series, and the T5 won hands-down. It is simply more car for less money. Excellent pickup on the freeway, deft steering, nimble handling. Before buying we also test drove the T6, which was AWESOME, but more car than we needed. The T5 is so much fun to drive and so well-built that I have a feeling our enthusiasm will last long after our last car payment. If you are considering a BMW, Lexus, or the like, you MUST test drive this car. Gone are the days of the stodgy Volvo. This car positively rocks!


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover10%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2012 Volvo S60
More About This Model

Facing big guns like the BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G and Mercedes-Benz C-Class in the entry-level luxury sport sedan game is like going up against NBA gamers like Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett. But as we found out while soaking up the miles on the freeway, commuting, running errands and enjoying a coastal drive, the 2012 Volvo S60 T5 has got game.

As a Volvo, the S60 has plenty of cutting-edge safety features designed to protect, well, not only the driver and passengers but also pretty much everyone in the vicinity. With its available Driver Alert Control (which senses lane wander and which would be working overtime in L.A.), it can even protect its driver from himself. And should you suddenly be bearing down upon a pedestrian (who is at least 31 inches tall), the available pedestrian detection feature can help you avoid hitting that seemingly suicidal jaywalker by automatically applying full braking force if you don't react quickly enough.

When you're not avoiding animate and inanimate hazards of the urban jungle, the S60 T5 makes for a fine automobile. The turbocharged five-cylinder engine might sound a little gruff, but power delivery is broad and fairly smooth and there's more than ample urge on tap. A supple ride over neglected city roads, sure-footed (if not inspiring) handling, decent fuel economy and expectedly superb seats round out the S60's amiable, utility player personality.

Good as the 2012 Volvo S60 T5 is, there are other free agents worthy of consideration. More serious driving enthusiasts should check out the BMW 328i, while those who need a larger backseat could consider the Infiniti G. Other worthy players in the mix include the Acura TSX, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Used 2012 Volvo S60 Overview

The Used 2012 Volvo S60 is offered in the following submodels: S60 Sedan, S60 T6 R-Design. Available styles include T5 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6A), T6 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6A), and T6 R-Design 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6A). Pre-owned Volvo S60 models are available with a 2.5 L-liter gas engine or a 3.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 325 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2012 Volvo S60 comes with front wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2012 Volvo S60 comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Volvo S60?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Volvo S60 trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Volvo S60 T5 is priced between $9,800 and$11,689 with odometer readings between 77752 and113573 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Volvo S60 T6 is priced between $8,498 and$8,498 with odometer readings between 131714 and131714 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design is priced between $15,290 and$15,290 with odometer readings between 62152 and62152 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2012 Volvo S60s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Volvo S60 for sale near. There are currently 6 used and CPO 2012 S60s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,498 and mileage as low as 62152 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Volvo S60.

Can't find a used 2012 Volvo S60s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volvo S60 for sale - 1 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $20,124.

Find a used Volvo for sale - 3 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $9,656.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volvo S60 for sale - 8 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $23,314.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volvo for sale - 3 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $20,427.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 Volvo S60?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Volvo lease specials
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