Volvo’s Most American Car Yet, The 2019 S60

“This is not a rental car”  says Volvo’s Senior VP Americas, Anders Gustafsson, at the introduction of the all new 2019 Volvo S60. And I wonder if he’s talking DIRECTLY to me. I crouch in my chair and look around, “Is it just me?” You see, I have hard time getting excited about sedans, don’t you? Especially the ones with less than 400 hp. What a yawn. But then he says something that perks up my ears, “Our Polestar edition produces about 415 hp.” This may just be a fun few days.

2019 S60 Polestar Engineered

But it turns out, the Polestar edition isn’t the only reason to get excited about the S60.  It is the very first Volvo to be made entirely in the USA.  Thanks to their Charleston, SC factory, this handsome little sedan is as American as you and I. President Trump may even like it. I certainly do:

photo: Volvo Cars USA

The cabin is exactly what we expect from the new era of Volvo cars, that is, it’s damn good! The signature Scandinavian restraint is reflected in every detail and all of the controls are easy to use.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Volvo is currently making the best interiors in the business. So there. But what about driving a sedan? Was it boring? Do you have to shell out for the Polestar one to be happy?

Listen, I’m going to tell you something that may surprise you– I liked the R Design more than the Polestar. This is one of the most shocking things this Motorhead will tell you. I can’t believe I’m writing it myself.  Because when it comes to cars, I naturally gravitate towards the fastest, most pimp, most IRA-draining option.  But not this time, Jack.  Why?  Because it honestly drove that well.  Zippy is not a word I normally pair with non-electrified cars, but it is absolutely appropriate here. The steering was spot on, brakes really responsive and it was..wait for it.. FUN! Did I mention that is also All Wheel Drive?

Of course, the S60 also includes all of the safety features we know and love. The Pilot Assist system (supportive steering, acceleration and braking), Run-off Road Mitigation, Oncoming Lane Mitigation and Cross Traffic Alert may sound terrifyingly futuristic, but trust me, you’ll get used to them in flash. The City Safe with automatic braking is also the only system on the market that recognizes cyclists, large animals and pedestrians.  So between the valet driver that dashes in front of me on PCH, the orange-socked cyclist on Mulholland and the 10 pointed deer on Old Topanga– I may just live to tell my tale. Thanks Volvo!

The above pictured S60 T6 AWD R Design is one of the models I drove which clocks in at $46,400. It has a Direct-Injected Turbocharged & Supercharged Engine producing 316 hp, 295 lb. ft. torque, which is plenty for a car this size. The S60’s starting MRSP is $35,800 putting it squarely again its competitors– the BMW 3 series and Audi A4– both of which seem like a snore-fest compared to this Swedish-American beauty with a rich Chinese uncle. What’s not to love? Well, here comes my confession:

Despite its gold seat belts, gold brake calipers, stunning horsepower and use of my favorite Volvo engine (the plug-in hybrid T8 which rules in the XC90), I didn’t love the Polestar tuned-edition. It felt heavy, non-responsive and dare I say, sluggish especially compared to its bright-eyed and bushy tailed counterpart, the T6 R-design.  So that’s great news for you, dear reader, save your Polestar lust for the next ride. But whatever you, don’t overlook the S60 itself. It’s not only a great sedan. It’s a great, American-made vehicle. Oh, and did I mention I also drove the V60 WAGON? Yeah, that’ll be the next post..stay tuned!

 

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