I first spotted the redesigned 2019 Volvo S60 at my local dealer, McLaughlin Motors, late last year. It was sitting right outside the showroom, finished in gunmetal gray with black interior. My salesman buddy there, Brian Cox, informed me it was the first U.S. built Volvo. Interesting. I thought the car looked pretty good too. So I knew I was going to have to try one out sooner or later.
Sadly, a particularly nasty winter that didn’t really start ramping up until mid-January precluded any test drives for a while. But finally, on March sixth, Brian put me behind the wheel of a S60 Momentum, finished in Pebble Gray Metallic with an especially attractive off-white and black interior. So much nicer than the common all-black interiors, which have always reminded me of a cave. I prefer lighter interior colors; they come in handy during our Midwestern summers, too. A/C has to work a lot harder in 90 degree heat when the car’s interior is black.
Volvos of today are not quite the Volvos of my youth. My first one was a 940SE, built in Goteborg, unapologetically boxy, with a ‘redblock’ turbo four and rear-wheel drive. Today’s Volvos are anything but boxy (including the wagons), are front wheel drive (with AWD optional), and mostly sporting various four-pot mills with direct injection.
While I do like the look of the new Ovlovs and the new S60 in particular is particularly sharp, I do have a bone to pick on their model designations. For decades, Volvo’s model numbers were simple to decipher. The middle number was the engine cylinder count, and the last number was how many doors. Say, for instance, 164E. That meant a sedan, with a six cylinder engine. While a 245DL was a four-cylinder with five doors, a wagon. Later on, T5 and T6 meant a five- or six-cylinder with turbocharger.
So one could assume that the new ’19 S60 T6 had a turbocharged six cylinder, right? Nope! It is in actuality a 2.0L, lunchbox-sized four cylinder, with both turbo and supercharging, direct injection, and 316 hp at 5700 rpm. So, Volvo, why is it called a T6? Why not call it a SuperTurbo or something. Something accurate? But I digress. It’s just a pet peeve of mine, manufacturers who can’t call a car what it is. BMW is another serial offender in that regard.
Starting with the 2019 model year, all S60s sold in the U.S. are now built in a brand-new factory in Ridgeville, South Carolina. I think this is kind of a cool move. Why? Because while I’d rather have my personal Volvo to be built in Sweden, or at least somewhere in Europe, I MUCH prefer a U.S. Volvo to a Chinese-built one. Yes, yes, I’ve heard many stories of how quality is similar to the Swedish-constructed Ovlovs. I don’t care. I don’t want a Chinese Volvo. I’ll pull the trigger on a Chinese made bucket, nail file or pair of sunglasses, but a car? Nope!
But wait Klockau, you might be thinking about now, how about telling us about the car, it’s a car review for crying out loud. So, let’s. As I got into the car, those famous Volvo orthopedically designed seats welcomed me in. Those are still a part of Volvos they haven’t yet changed, fortunately.
The genuine wood trim contrasted nicely with the off-white leather, black dash pad, door caps, and carpeting. There was almost a retro-’70s Cadillac/Lincoln look to the dash, with those elongated chrome HVAC vents.
As with pretty much every other ’19 automobile, it had a fob with a sensor and a start/stop knob on the center console, instead of a key. I turned it and the car came to life. This may be a four, but it was quiet. And it moves with authority, thanks to the turbocharger and supercharger. Just don’t think about how much those might cost to replace in 5-10 years, haha.
If you didn’t read the window sticker and just took this car for a spin, you likely would not peg it as a four-cylinder. It felt more like a six to me, with plenty of giddy up. As mentioned earlier, the engine produces 316 horses, in addition to 295 lb-ft of torque.
Acceleration is very good. As I took the exit ramp from John Deere Road to merge onto I-74, I almost went “Wheeeeeeee!” Yes, this is a fun car to drive.
Base price on the S60 T6 AWD Momentum (how’s that for a long name) is $40,300. My test car had many additional options though, and stickered at $49,110. Extras included 19″ wheels for $800, heated rear seats and heated steering wheel for $750, and metallic paint for $645. Yes, that is correct.
You can go down to Dahl Ford and get a metallic silver Fusion, and they won’t charge you for the paint, but Volvo (and most of the other Euro upscale manufacturers) have the gall to charge you six hundred and forty-five bucks for the pleasure. Stupid! But they’ve been playing that game for decades.
As with the Ranger I recently reviewed I drove the car both in traffic and on the Interstate. The S60 was very composed. Like the Volvos I’ve owned in the past, handling was very good, the steering in particular was very sharp.
No blundering about like you would do in some overweight, under-tired crossover. Volvo may have changed a lot over the last 20 years, but it still feels like a European car. It moved with authority, sneering at rent-an-Altimas and battered Camrys going 48 in the passing lane.
And though it’s not the unmistakably boxy Volvo 740/760 so commonly seen back in the ’80s, it is a handsome vehicle. And for those in the know, the front end, particularly the grille, is a retro nod to the 1972 Volvo 1800E and 1800ES sport coupe and sportwagon. Nice touch.
So despite my lack of love for the 2.0L four cylinder taking over most 2019 motor vehicles, the aforementioned $600+ metallic paint, and my worry at the longevity of that turbo and supercharger under the hood, I still had the thought that one of these might make for a nice addition to the fleet in a couple of years, as a CPO with 20-30K miles on the clock.
Until I discovered one thing: Premium fuel is required. Been there, done that in the past. A 2.0 four needs premium, and my 4.6 V8 runs happily all day on cheap 87 octane. So I guess I’ll stick with the Lincolns. But hey, the Volvo is a nice car. Just don’t get the metallic paint.
Special thanks once again to Dave Calvert, Brian Cox, and all the other fine folks at McLaughlin Volvo for the use of the vehicle.