The S60 feels like a true luxury experience.
In the compact luxury sedan segment, it is difficult for other brands to take attention away from mainstays like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Every once in a while, a car like the Genesis G70 arrises and challenges the Germans with excellent driving dynamics and great value but Volvo has a different approach to luxury. Instead of attempting to build a sports sedan that can match an M or AMG on the racetrack, the 2020 Volvo S60 breaks the mold by focusing almost entirely on comfort.
To that end, our 2020 S60 T8 Inscription tester came fitted with luxury features that are unheard of in the compact sedan segment. Some of these features aren't even available on vehicles in the next size class like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class. Here are our favorite luxury features found in the S60 T8.
Our S60 tester was equipped with a $2,200 option called the Luxury Seating Package. This adds Nappa leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, cushion extenders, power-adjustable side support, and backrest massage for the front seats. Not only do very few sedans in this size category offer ventilated front seats, but the Volvo is the only one to offer massage seats. This is a feature typically found in full-size sedans like the 7 Series and S-Class but here is Volvo putting it in a compact model. Even without the massage, Volvo's front seats are among the most comfortable we've tested. Volvo does offer a more bolstered sport seat in the R-Design and Polestar Engineered models but we prefer the comfy massage chairs found in the Inscription trim.
Tesla's Autopilot hogs a lot of the spotlight but Volvo's Pilot Assist suite is among our favorite semi-autonomous driving systems. Like Autopilot, Pilot Assist requires the driver to keep their hands on the steering wheel but unlike Tesla's system, which fights for control of the wheel, the Volvo system encourages drivers to apply their own steering inputs. When combined with the adaptive cruise control, Volvo's lane keep assist inspires enough confidence for limited hands-off driving for brief moments.
For just $200 extra, our S60 was equipped with Park Assist Pilot, which can navigate parallel and perpendicular parking without requiring hands to be on the steering wheel. We didn't use this feature often thanks to the S60's crystal clear 360-degree camera but Park Assist Pilot is so inexpensive, we recommend adding it anyway.
Our favorite option on any Volvo model is the Bowers and Wilkins audio for $3,200. In the S60, it rolls in 15-speakers, a 10-channel amplifier, and a 1,100-watt output. This is by far our favorite sound system at any price level, even including the pricier Bowers systems found is a few high-dollar German cars. Volvo's placement of the tweeter on the dash results in terrific sound quality and the built-in Concert Hall mode adds echo and reverb to make it sound like your music is being performed live.
This S60 was our first experience with Volvo's T8 E-AWD drivetrain. Whereas the T6 uses a 2.0-liter twin-charged four-cylinder sending power out to AWD, the T8 adds two electric motors in the rear, coupling with the front-mounted engine to deliver power to all four wheels. Volvo says the S60 can travel around 25 miles on a charge with electricity alone, making it a perfect daily driver for people with shorter work commutes. The total output is bumped up from 316 horsepower in the T6 to 400 hp with the T8.
Combined fuel economy is rated around 30 mpg but we were able to achieve even better figures with frequent charging. Just note, opting for the T8 is highly dependent on your driving requirements and living situations. If you don't have a home charger and drive long distances on your commute, the T6 will likely be a smarter option.
We have enjoyed Volvo's Sensus infotainment system in the past but it always suffered from a slow start-up time and laggy response. For 2020, Volvo has used a faster processor, eliminating these issues. Sensus is now quicker to respond and features smart phone-inspired touchscreen controls. The system takes a moment to get used to compared to other infotainment systems but once you start treating it less like a car and more like a phone, it starts to make sense.