2020 Volvo S60 Hybrid

2020 Volvo S60 Hybrid
2020 Volvo S60 Hybrid Rear Angle View
2020 Volvo S60 Hybrid Dashboard

2020 Volvo S60 Hybrid Test Drive Review: Luxury Done Differently

With such a strong lineup of SUVs, no one would blame Volvo if it announced that it no longer wanted to build sedans. But instead of following the herd of automakers who have abandoned the sedan segment, Volvo decided to introduce an all-new third-generation S60 back in 2019. Now based on the company's Scalable Product Architecture platform, the S60 looks to do battle with other luxury sedans like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Unlike those, however, the S60 in T8 guise is the only plug-in hybrid. It generates 400 horsepower from a 2.0-liter twincharged engine and electric motor system, placing it in an elite power range that was previously the reserve of sports sedans like the M3.

Volvo's approach to the compact luxury sedan segment is very different than its competitors. Yes, there are R-Design and Polestar Engineered models for those who like to go fast and want an alternative to the AMGs and Ms of the world, but we were sent a 2020 S60 T8 Inscription to test instead. Unlike any other vehicle in this segment, Volvo's Inscription trim leaves out the sporting accouterments and instead favors luxury features only found two classes up in many of its competitors. This may not be the sportiest sport sedan but we think it is all the better for it.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 10 /10
  • Performance 9 /10
  • Fuel Economy 9 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 10 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 10 /10
  • Reliability 7 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
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2020 Volvo S60 Hybrid Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2019 S60 Hybrid?

A number of small changes have been made for the 2020 year model to keep it fresh after 2019's total redesign. Among these are a larger 11.6 kWh battery pack (up from 10.4 kWh on the 2019 model), standard four-zone climate control, enhanced ambient interior lighting, and numerous safety features as standard. There is also a faster processor for the infotainment system, fixing the slow start-up times.

Pros and Cons

  • Serene comfort
  • Impressive acceleration
  • Tons of standard safety
  • Impressive list of available features
  • Best sound system in its class
  • Watch out for fingerprints
  • Trunk storage is less than average
  • Not the sportiest sport sedan
  • Short electric driving range
  • Frustrating shifter design

What's the Price of the 2020 Volvo S60 Hybrid?

Pricing for the S60 T8 starts at $55,400 for the sporty R-Design model before destination ($995), options, and taxes. Interestingly, the Inscription - which focuses more on luxury - carries an identical asking price, despite differences in styling and certain equipment changes. The limited-availability Polestar Engineered model started at $64,800, or at $1,100 per month on the Care By Volvo subscription service. Fully loaded with options like a valet key, massaging front seats, bigger wheels, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, an upgraded Bowers & Wilkins 15-speaker sound system, and an automatic parking system, the luxurious Inscription will set you back a little over $66,000. Because this is a plug-in hybrid, the S60 T8 also qualifies for $5,000 tax credit.

Best Deals on 2020 Volvo S60 Hybrid

2020 Volvo S60 Hybrid Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
T8 R-Design Plug-In Hybrid
2.0L Twincharged Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
T8 Inscription Plug-In Hybrid
2.0L Twincharged Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
T8 Polestar Plug-In Hybrid
2.0L Twincharged Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2020 Volvo S60 Hybrid Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

Compared to other vehicles in the segment, the S60 doesn't feel very sporty. The steering is light, over-assisted, and lacks engagement but does weight up in Power Mode. As for the suspension, it allows for a small amount of lean but it is mainly tuned to let the car float over rough pavement. Where the S60 lacks in sporty flavor, it makes up for with the most comfortable ride in its segment. Even larger options like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class struggle to match the softness of the S60's adaptive suspension. The regenerative brake feel was a noted issue on last year's model but it seems Volvo has eliminated the issue with more natural pedal feel for 2020.

R-Design and Polestar Engineered variants of the S60 bring in a more aggressive ride but we'd easily forgo both of these trims for the comfort of the Inscription. There are very few compact luxury sedans left on the market that don't pretend to be a sports car with stiff suspension and paddle shifters on the steering wheel. The S60 Inscription is unapologetically comfortable and is one of the last bastions for drivers who don't care about 0-60 and lap times.

Verdict: Is the 2020 Volvo S60 Hybrid A Good car?

In a segment filled with overly stiff sedans that want to be race cars, the Volvo S60 is a breath of fresh air. This is a sedan (at least in Inscription trim) that forgoes the silly notion of ever visiting a race track and setting lap times. It doesn't even have paddle shifters. Volvo realized that it could carve out a niche in the compact sedan segment by offering premium features such as ventilated seats with massaging, a luxury rarely found on sedans in the six-figure price bracket.

Volvo does offer sporty versions of the S60 but after driving the T8 Inscription, we can't think of any reason to opt for the stiffer R-Design or Polestar Engineered models over sporty alternatives from other brands. The S60 shines as a luxury car, so let the German makes worry about breaking your spine. As for the T8 drivetrain, we enjoyed driving the S60 around in silence and we can't wait to see an all-electric version. But unless you do mostly city driving, have a short commute, and can charge at home, we'd say you are better off with the non-hybrid T6.

What Volvo S60 Hybrid Model Should I Buy?

We feel the Inscription model is by far the most appealing S60 available, but the decision to opt for the T6 or T8 will mainly depend on your living situation and daily commute. If you can charge every day only drive less than 25 miles to work, the T8 could save you money in the long run. Assuming you do opt for the T8, we suggest adding the Bowers and Wilkins audio, Luxury Seating Package, Heated Rear Seats and Steering Wheel, Park Assist Pilot, and the 19-inch wheels for a total cost of just under $64,000. Yes, that price is dangerously close to the BMW M3 but just remember, an M3 doesn't have massage seats.

Check out other Volvo S60 Styles

2020 Volvo S60 Hybrid Comparisons

BMW 3 Series Sedan BMW
Tesla Model 3 Tesla

2020 Volvo S60 Hybrid vs BMW 3 Series Sedan

The all-new G20 BMW 3 Series has come into the market with a quartet of models and a pair of engine options, with the $54,000 M340i performance-enhanced model starting just $1,400 cheaper than the S60 T8 R-Design. It too is equipped with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, but its 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six produces a little less power at 382 hp. Where it comprehensively beats the S60 is in cargo volume, with 17 cubic feet versus the S60's 11.6. However, this luxury compact can't compete with the Volvo's hybrid economy, offering a combined mpg rating of 25 versus the S60 T8's 31. However, the 3 Series once again pulls a point back by not being burdened with a heavy battery pack, thus offering better driving dynamics and more agile handling. Overall, the BMW is a more traditional option and will doubtless be the default choice for most buyers, but the Volvo is competitive and offers a host of standard safety features, modern, clean design, and a number of comfort features like quad-zone climate control that will likely prove attractive for buyers who aren't deterred by electrification. Whichever you choose, both are competent offerings.

See BMW 3 Series Sedan Review

2020 Volvo S60 Hybrid vs Tesla Model 3

If a hybrid powertrain seems like a compromise, the Tesla Model 3 is available with its all-electric system that provides between 258 and 450 hp. With 15 cubic feet of volume, it offers more storage space and its regular over-the-air software updates help to ensure that it stays relevant long after the purchase date. Tesla's Autopilot advanced semi-autonomous driving features are also a big drawcard, and the fact that its most expensive variant, the all-wheel-drive Performance model, costs just $2,590 more than the cheapest Volvo S60 T8 is sure to be a big factor too. Nevertheless, if you can't commit to questionable range (unless you live in an area well-populated with charging stations), the Volvo is a more conventional, albeit slower, route to increased efficiency. With arguably more modern exterior design and a more luxurious interior feel, the Volvo is possibly more than a match for the Tesla.

See Tesla Model 3 Review

2020 Volvo S60 Hybrid Video Review

Check out some informative Volvo S60 Hybrid video reviews below.

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