Volvo S60 T4 R-Design Review

clifford chow
17 Sep 2019

The increase in size, and vast improvements in quality makes their new sedan an attractive buy, if you are looking for something which is non-German

Volvo’s mid-tier sedan is back. It is bigger, and definitely looks way better. The Swedish company’s new sedan is also the very first Volvo to be built on American soil, which underscores how important the vast American market is to them.

The S60 and its V60 sibling, are also the final two conventional cars in the Volvo lineup to utilise Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). To our understanding, the S60 will be the smallest sedan offered here, as we understand that Volvo will not be releasing a new S40 in the near future.

Volvo’s current design language has been beautifully executed on the S60. Design carry-overs, like the “Thor’s Hammer” headlamps, first seen on the XC90, have been further refined, and now peek out of the headlamp lenses. A large front grille on our test car, which is decked with the higher-spec R-Design trim, is visually supported by design elements from the lower front bumper.

As with all Volvos, the S60 also features pronounced shoulders, but unlike theflagship S90 sedan, which boasts more traditional slab-sided styling; designers have opted for a little more play in the smaller sedan’s side sheet metal. In doing so, the lower hinge of the rear door has also been shifted downward, to allow for greater concave curvature on the lower portion of front and rear doors. Pronounced fenders add a touch of sportiness and house 18” 5-Double Spoke alloys with 235/45R 18 tyres.

Like the S90, the distance between the front door and front wheel has been extended, aping cars with a FR layout, when in-fact the engine is a transverse-mounted unit. Volvo has done this more for visual purposes. You do however, get more legroom up front.


Interior styling elements have largely been lifted off the larger S90. Material quality is among the best in its segment, and so is fit. A 9” portrait-style ‘Sensus’ infotainment touchscreen sits within the centre stack, which features a swipeable user interface, similar to how a tablet performs. The system facilitates mobile integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Air-conditioning vents which feature knurled jewel knobs for closing them, turn with consistent tension, and close with an assuring click. While Volvo does offer open pore wood finishing, S60 cars in Singapore will only specced with metal inlays. Other unique touches like its stylised starter knob, and an elegant roller drive mode switch adds to the character of the interior design.

One small observation (and I am being fussy on this one) is that you will find yourself toggling between fan speed 1 and fan speed 2 during your drive, as the stepping between both speed settings is quite wide.

Behind the wheel, a 12.3” adaptive driver display providings driving information, while a multi-function steering wheel allows for easier infotainment toggles. Our R-Design test car gets gloss transparent buttons on the wheel, while the Momentum trim car is fitted with conventional matt black ones.

Together with its new architecture, interior room has increased, thanks to a 10cm longer wheelbase, translating to 240% more knee wriggle room at the rear, compared to its predecessor. Part of the better packaging also comes from the compact redesign of the front seats. Volvo has ensured that even with the thinner backrest, passenger comfort up-front is not compromised.

Cargo room has also improved slightly, with 392 litres available, 12 litres more than the previous car. Rear seats however, cannot be folded down.

The Drive

For Singapore, Volvo offers two 2.0 litre engines, in T4 and T5 tunes. Our T4 engined S60 is good for 187bhp and 300Nm, the latter which is made available from 1,400 to 4,00rpm. Acceleration to 100km/h takes just 7.1 seconds. Drive is provided to the front wheels through an 8-speed automatic. Fuel economy figures are rated at a combined 13.9km/l. 

Acceleration feels quite linear, and rather effortless. Gear changes are decently smooth, however revving past 3,500rpm prompts a slight pause between gears, which slightly mars what is a pleasant experience. 

The slightly firm suspension on the R-Design trim car does a good job of ensuring sharp handling around the bends. However, we feel that even if the S60 was intended for a sporty drive, somehow, you would still want a little more comfort coming from a Volvo. But you cannot deny that there is quite a good focus on driver dynamics with their new compact executive sedan.

We like that the insulation offered is very good, being able to block out heaps of external noise, making the cabin truly a lovely place to be in. 

Safety-wise, the new SPA platform offers greater tensile strength, compared to the car it replaces, thanks to extensive use of boron steel at crucial points. Active safety systems like its automatic braking and collision avoidance systems, part of its City Safety suite, is designed to cover a range of potential accident scenarios, and detects pedestrians and even cyclists. 

Our Thoughts

Volvo’s third generation S60 is a very handsome car, and the estate V60 model even better. The Swedish manufacturer has upped their game this round, and the new S60 now finds itself in the same playpen as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The increase in size, and vast improvements in quality makes their new sedan an attractive buy, if you are looking for something which is non-German.

In Summary

We Like

Edgy styling especially for a Volvo, Well-built interior, Handles well

We Don't

Gearbox does not like heavy loads, No wireless mobile charger, Suspension a little too firm, Rear seats do not fold


The S60 is quite a driver’s car, a good move to attract the younger driver. Handsome on the outside, and with one of the better-interiors in its class, makes their compact sedan serious competition to the German brands

Car Loan Calculator - Volvo S60 T4 R-Design (A)

SGD 180,000 (9 Jul 2020)

Based on OMV, this car is eligible for minimum 40% down payment

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Engine Capacity 1969cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 187bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 300Nm @ 1400rpm
Power to Weight 112.4 bhp per ton


Acceleration 7.1s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 200 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 13.9 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 8 -speed Auto
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric


Body Type Sedan
(L x W x H)
(4761 x 1850 x 1431) mm
Wheelbase 2872 mm
Turning Circle 11.7 metres
Kerb Weight 1664 kg
Boot Capacity 392 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 60 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs