2020 S60 T6 AWD Inscription

Volvo's strong entry
July 16, 2020 Updated: July 16, 2020

The S60 is Volvo’s four-door midsize sedan. It is built on Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) which underpins Volvo’s 90 and 60 vehicle lines. This platform has a strong focus on safety by enhancing body structure strength and ensuring a standard level of passive and active safety technologies.

The S60 sedan is available with 3 engine options: 250-horsepower turbo T5, 316-horsepower turbo T6, and 400 total system horsepower T8 hybrid. Then you have the three equipment levels of Inscription, Momentum, and R-Design.

The S60 has the clean, Scandinavian interior that has natural materials and new details on the dashboard and instrumental panel. Personally, there were too many options to choose from. Lacking expertise, I was sometimes lost in technology.

The Sensus Connect infotainment system in this new Volvo is definitely designed for the connected world. There is a 9-inch touchscreen in the middle of the front dash, and through that you have access to all important functions and data. This center screen is also where you find your navigation display if you have Sensus Navigation with Road Sign Information. Road Sign Information was wonderfully helpful especially in school zones. The touchscreen works in tandem with the Digital Driver Display in the instrument panel. The Inscription model upgrades the 8-inch version with a 12.3-inch one to provide even more data.

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The 9-inch touchscreen dominates the dashboard. (Courtesy of Volvo)

Touchscreen control is supplemented by steering wheel controls and voice commands, and you also have both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, as would be expected. It also features Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and USB Ports to cover a wide range of media sources.

Harman Kardon Premium Sound with 13 speakers (including subwoofers) delivers great music and sends pleasantries throughout the vehicle.

The S60 T6 is powered by a 2.0L Direct-Injected Turbocharged Engine that puts down 316 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 296 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,200 rpm. The engine is mated to an Eight-speed Geartonic Automatic Transmission with Start/Stop, and an AWD system with Instant Traction. This is a tempting bump in horsepower from the 250-horsepower turbo engine in T5 models. The resulting fuel economy of 21 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, for a combined 25 mpg.

The standard suite of Volvo safety technologies includes collision detection and avoidance functions that cover a wide range of potential accident situations. Its famed City Safety Collision Avoidance Technology detects other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and large animals such as moose and deer. These systems work together to keep occupants away from danger and drive Volvo towards its goal of Vision 2020, which states that no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020.

Other than City Safety Collision Avoidance Technology and Road Sign Information, notable standard safety features include Blind Spot Information System, Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keeping Aid, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, Pilot Assist, and Run-off Road Mitigation.

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Looking from the side. (Courtesy of Volvo)

S60 is beautiful on the inside and wraps the occupants in luxury. Sitting in the fine leather driver’s seat with fingers around the leather-wrapped steering wheel, you have 10-way power adjustment with memory and 4-way lumbar support adjustment to find your perfect sitting position. Look up, and there is the laminated panoramic moonroof with power sunshade. One gets a true sense of craftsmanship and luxury. The environment is kept comfortable and fresh by 4-zone automatic climate control and Clean Zone Air Quality System, and everyone is happy. Available High Level Interior Illumination lights up the whole cabin, including the foot wells, so you can better see inside when you unlock the doors. A light under the door also illuminates the ground when you open the door.

Handling is superb, and with a little more seating room, the cabin could be quite comfortable. Fortunately, most of the safety features are ready at the start of engine, but activating a desired function can be challenging. Frankly, it can be frustrating. Controls for radio volume, station selection, and climate control would best be served with large knobs as opposed to a menu screen. I never could find the audio tone control for the sound system.

More of anything, whether features or technology, doesn’t necessarily make it better or more convenient. Simplicity and convenience equal success.

The MSRP for the S60 T6 AWD Inscription starts at $48,395. There were several optional packages. My personal pick would be the $2,500 Advanced Package, which contains Pilot Assist – Driver Assist System with Adaptive Cruise Control. This system is essentially a smart distance-control system. The 360-degree Surround View Camera is also a part of the Advanced Package.

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this newspaper or durhlcaussey@gmail.com.