2013 Volvo S60

T5 FWD 4-Dr Sedan I5

2013 volvo s60 Reviews and News

2013 Volvo S60 T5 AWD Front Left Side View
Like everyone, Volvo has an image its likes to project. That's why, when it comes to press cars, Volvo's mainstay S60 sedan is most often seen decked out as the high-performance T6 or the R-Design. Indeed, Automobile Magazine had a T6 for a Four Seasons test, in which the S60 fared well. However, after spending a week in the standard T5, I can't help but think that this is in fact the best-realized iteration of the S60. It hits the Swede spot.
What Volvo does best is deliver safety, comfort and, yes, value. With a starting price of $32,795 -- versus $41,545 for the T6 and $44,995 for the R-Design -- the T5 has the value thing down. Don't expect to get out the door for that price, though. You'll probably want to add the items that were on our test car: the premiere package, which brings leather, a moonroof, keyless ignition, a power passenger's seat, and an auto-dimming mirror. If you live where the weather gets cold, we don't have to sell you on the value of heated seats, which are the key element of the climate package. Finally, all-wheel-drive is not just a boon in slippery conditions; it helps the turbo five put the power down any time, so that's a critical addition as well. Previously restricted to the six-cylinder S60, all-wheel drive is now available on the T5. Toss in a couple of discretionary items -- seventeen-inch Njord wheels and a trunk spoiler -- and you're at $38,170 as tested, which seems reasonable. The only items you might be wanting are navigation and a backup camera (the camera is a $795 stand-alone option, but navigation requires stepping up to the platinum trim level, which costs a steep $3850 over the premiere).
The T5 has a turbocharged in-line five-cylinder engine under the hood, not the turbo six in the T6 version. A five-cylinder may be an oddball configuration, but there's nothing weird about how this powerplant goes about its business. Whereas the T6 and the R-Design have a very aggressive throttle calibration that makes smooth getaways a challenge, the less-powerful T5 ends up being more pleasant to drive in traffic. When the road is clear, the turbo five still has plenty of muscle, although it lacks the ultimate smoothness of Volvo's in-line six. As you'd expect, the five-cylinder has an edge in fuel economy, with EPA ratings of 20/29 mpg versus 18/25 mpg for the six-cylinder. On top of that, neither Volvo engine requires premium gasoline, unlike many turbos.
The T5 also has the mellowest suspension tuning -- Volvo's Touring suspension -- of any S60; the T6 has the Dynamic setup and the R-Design gets the even stiffer Sport chassis. If you live where the pavement is bad, you'll welcome the Touring suspension, as the other two, particularly the Sport version, can be harsh over bumps. Nicely weighted steering is another pleasant aspect of the S60 chassis.
Volvo has long been known for its fantastic seats, and the seats in the S60 T5 live up to that reputation. The leather that comes as part of the premiere trim level is a deserving upgrade for such comfortable thrones, and it was appropriate that it was the color of a baseball glove, because plopping down on one of these bucket seats almost feels like sitting in a giant catcher's mitt. The interior finish and trim are likewise premium-looking, and the design captures some of that modern Swedish Ikea aesthetic. One thing that all S60s are lacking, however, is back-seat space. If a roomy rear seat is a priority, a Lexus ES or even a BMW 3-series would be a better choice.
However, if you're up for the Volvo's specific combination of virtues, the all-wheel-drive T5 makes a good case for itself as the ideal S60. In terms of design, value, drivability, and amenities, it hits the Swede spot.
2013 Volvo S60 T5
Base price: $32,795
Price as tested: $38,170
Standard Equipment:
2.5-liter turbocharged I-5 engine
Front-wheel drive
6-speed automatic transmission
Options on this vehicle:
Premiere trim level- $2200
All-wheel drive- $2000
Climate package- $700

Heated front seats
Heated windshield washer jets
Interior air quality system
Trunk spoiler- $375
Njord alloy wheels- $250
Key options not on vehicle:
Technology package- $2010
Adaptive cruise control
Lane departure warning
Distance alert
Collision warning
Pedestrian detection w/full auto brake
Active high beams
Road sign information
Rear-seat entertainment system- $1800
Park assist camera- $795
18-inch wheels- $750
Blind spot warning- $700
Heated rear seats- $450
Remote start- $499
2.5-liter turbocharged I-5
Horsepower: 250 hp @ 5400 rpm
Torque: 266 lb-ft @ 1600-4200 rpm
6-speed automatic
8.0 x 17 in alloy wheels
235/45R-17 Continental ContiProContact tires
20/29 mpg (city/highway)
3528 lb
Doors/Passengers: 4/5
Cargo: 12.0 cu ft
Legroom (front/rear): 41.9/33.5 in
Headroom (front/rear): 38.3/37.4 in
2013 Volvo S60 Polestar Front Left View
Up there at the base of the windshield, where you'd expect any respectable Volvo to have its City Safety sending unit, this car has instead a racing-style shift light that glows green, orange, and then red as the revs climb so you'll change into a taller gear before the engine goes ka-blammo. And right now, the darn light is winking at us yet again because the 508-hp turbocharged engine just won't quit pulling, so we shift and then shift again and pretty soon we're hurtling along at a rate that is, well, kind of unseemly for a Volvo.
This is a clue that the 2013 Volvo S60 Polestar is not entirely like any other Volvo that you have ever driven.
We arranged to see this Swedish hot rod not long after its appearance at the Los Angeles auto show. It was a few moments before daybreak at Cars & Coffee in Irvine, California, where 400 of the snappiest cars in the western hemisphere meet every Saturday. And here we find John Maloney, president of Volvo Cars North America, sipping at a paper cup of coffee as he explains to people that, yes, Volvo actually likes cars.
Maloney knows something about liking cars. As a young, Purdue-educated engineer, he worked at Ford SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) in the golden 1980s under Michael Kranefuss, and he chased around Trans-Am road-racing cars and Bob Glidden's 200-mph Thunderbird Pro-Stock drag car. Maloney reminds us that Volvo has always had a performance heritage, whether in rallying, the British Touring Car Championship, or even American street-stock road racing, where it fielded a blisteringly fast Volvo 850R station wagon.
You surely remember the 405-hp Volvo C30 Polestar and the 2012 Volvo C30 T5 R-Design Polestar that we drove last year. The 2013 Volvo S60 Polestar also comes from the Polestar group, a racing team that has been Volvo's partner in the STCC (Scandinavian Touring Car Championship) since 1996.
Polestar's Andreas Naeslund is here and he tells us that the Volvo S60 Polestar was first presented in Sweden last summer as a one-off for a private customer. Since then it has been from Russia to Los Angeles, and now three examples have been built and three more will follow.
The S60 Polestar's bright blue paint is very close to the Rebel blue in which about 1200 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design cars will be sold in the U.S. this year, but the hot rod's exterior has been augmented and reshaped, just like some Swedish starlet of the 1950s. The interior looks stock except for the faux suede upholstery, but then you feel the firmer bolsters of the driver seat. The center console also has been shaved to help you reach for the manual shift lever. Wait a second; manual shift lever? Why, there are three pedals on the floor!
The engine fires up as if it's just any other turbocharged, 2953-cc T6 inline-six. Naeslund takes the S60's death seat to the right and warns us about the heavy action of the clutch pedal and the abrupt engagement of the sintered clutch plate, but the action is lighter than any BMW M5 and the engagement is more predictable than any Infiniti G37. It's clear that Naeslund has had to sit quietly while this car has been in the hands of journalists and prospective buyers - a selection of the dazed and confused that would take your breath away -- so we are completely flattered when he turns to us, sighs with relief and says, "I can see that you have driven a car with a manual transmission before."
We're not going to dice with death in this 508-hp car in the middle of Orange County, but we can at least burble around like a regular human being. The suspension has racing-style rod ends for the control arms plus stiff springs and anti-roll bars, and 265/30R-19 Michelin Pilot Sport PS3 tires are riding on 9.5 x 19-inch forged Polestar wheels, yet there's none of the ride harshness you expect. These days, compliance is the secret to cornering grip, and these adjustable Ohlins dampers are dialed in.
Father Physics loves inline-six engines (and V-12s, too) because the forces line up in a way that minimizes vibration, and he seems to especially love the Volvo six. Polestar is proud that this engine is straight out of the Volvo parts bins except for the forged connecting rods, while the Garrett 3171 turbocharger, CNC-machined aluminum intake manifold, and 3.5-inch-diameter Ferrita exhaust take care of the pressurized air that helps create 508 hp @ 6500 rpm and 424 lb-ft of torque @ 5500 rpm.
The shift linkage of the close-ratio, six-speed Getrag M66C transmission feels a little loose and notchy, but it's not bad, and the fly-by-wire throttle blips automatically on downshifts. The six-piston Brembo calipers for the 15.0-inch front disc brakes look intimidating, yet the pad compound proves friendly.
The 3615-pound Volvo S60 Polestar drives like a small car, not a large one. The 20mm-wider track in front and 40mm-wider track in the rear add poise to the platform, and there's cornering magic in the Haldex-4 all-wheel-drive system, notably the force-vectoring, electronic limited-slip differential in the rear.
Naeslund tells us that the secret to driving this car fast on the track is to switch on the stability control, brake early, and then slew the car into the corner so the stability control is triggered and the dashboard is bright with warning lights. Electronics are great at sensing the limits of cornering grip these days, but the trick apparently lies in timing their engagement, which is something we've also heard from ALMS drivers who have raced the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid and SRT Viper GTS-R.
Naturally all this makes us think of Polestar as Volvo's answer to Mercedes-Benz AMG. While the comparison is apt, Naeslund reminds us that we're really talking about only a dozen Polestar people embedded within Volvo. However, AMG started out as just a two-man race shop in an old mill in Burgstall near its current factory in Affalterbach, Germany. Volvo and Polestar believe that big things lie ahead. After driving the 2013 Volvo S60 Polestar, we think so, too.
2013 Volvo S60 Polestar
Base price: Negotiable (estimated)
On sale: Now
Engine: Turbo DOHC 3.0-liter inline-6
Power: 508 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 424 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive: All-wheel
Tires, f/r: 265/30R-19 Michelin Pilot Sport PS3
Fuel mileage: N/A
Performance (manufacturer's data): 0-62 mph 3.9 seconds
2013 Volvo S60 T5 AWD Front Right View 4
All-wheel drive isn't just a foul-weather security blanket or a high-performance traction aid; it's a luxury feature. Although most drivers would be better served by a set of decent winter tires, buyers in northern states expect all-wheel-drive on their premium cars just like they expect seat belts and a radio. To that end, Volvo is expanding all-wheel-drive availability on its bestselling S60 sedan to include base-engine models for 2013.
Powered by a vigorous turbocharged five-cylinder, the S60 T5 easily demonstrates the benefits of distributing power to four wheels rather than two. Whether it's booting the throttle from stops or powering out of fast corners, the Haldex-supplied differential quietly dismisses any opportunity for wheel spin. Up to 50 percent of the engine's torque can be diverted to the rear wheels, but in the interest fuel economy, the system will send just five percent to the back during straight-line cruising.
For 2013, the 2.5-liter engine has been revised with a new crankshaft and pistons, a higher compression ratio, and revised engine management software. Peak power and torque are unchanged at 250 hp and 266 lb-ft, but there's a 1 mpg bump in city and combined fuel economy for the front-wheel-drive model, which is now rated at 21/30 mpg city/highway. The all-wheel-drive T5 checks in a tick lower at 20/29 mpg, a rating that can't quite match that of some four-cylinder competitors. While the S60 holds a power advantage over the BMW 328i xDrive and the Audi A4, those cars use eight-speed automatics that give them an edge both in fuel economy and acceleration.
Volvo has made some effort to counter those advances with revised software for its six-speed unit that quickens upshifts by 0.2 second. At the same time, the Swedish automaker has inexplicably replaced a perfectly good shift knob with transparent-topped version that looks like an out-of-place hybrid gimmick. Our more serious complaint about the gearbox, however, is that gear changes in the S60 aren't the brisk, seamless, rev-matched shifts that have been mastered by BMW and Audi. Under throttle, braking, or coasting -- in normal, sport, or manual mode -- downshifts cause passengers to bob forward in their seats.
Then again, our admiration for the S60 has never been about ultimate performance. We love this Volvo for its striking design, impressive value, and understated luxury with a subtle sportiness that keeps things fun. None of that changes with the S60 T5 AWD. Adding all-wheel drive to an S60 T5 will set you back $2000, bringing the starting price to $34,645 -- almost $5000 less than a BMW 328i xDrive. And it remains a fine-driving luxury car with assertive power, a plush cabin, responsive steering, tidy body control, and a pleasant ride. This S60 is every bit as good as we've come to expect, and with the addition of all-wheel-drive, it has everything that buyers in the northern states expect, too.
The Specs
On sale:
Price (base/as tested): $34,645/$38,170
Engine: 2.5L turbo I-5, 250 hp, 266 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Drive: 4-wheel
EPA Mileage: 20/29 mpg (city/highway)
2013 Volvo S60
2013 Volvo S60

New For 2013

Four-wheel drive is now available on the S60 T5. Keyless Drive and a power glass moonroof are now standard on T6 AWD models, and heated rear seats are optional. Automatic windshield wipers, headlight washers, and tunnel detection are now standard on all models. There is a new trim strategy: Premier to Premier Plus to Platinum. There are three new exterior colors: ember black, electric silver, and rebel blue.


The S60 challenges the class leaders on refinement and handling. The model line has been fully fleshed out now with five- and six-cylinder engines coupled with front- or four-wheel drive. The base front-wheel-drive T5 shares the turbocharged five-cylinder found in the C70 and the C30, but here it has been tweaked to make 250 hp; for 2013, all-wheel drive is available on the T5. The all-wheel-drive T6 is powered by Volvo’s well-regarded 3.0-liter turbocharged in-line six-cylinder making 300 hp. Topping the S60 range is the T6 R-Design, which shares the all-wheel-drive layout and six-cylinder engine of the T6 but has tweaks to the engine and the suspension that raise power to 325 hp and give the S60 a sportier mien. The only transmission is a six-speed automatic. Regardless of which S60 you choose, you will find a superbly executed interior with an aesthetically pleasing center console, a wealth of premium soft-touch materials, and artfully designed trim. The exterior is equally fetching, as the S60 carries on the modern Volvo design aesthetic that was first seen in the original S80 and has proliferated throughout the lineup. With the S60, Volvo has managed to carve out a distinct product in an impossibly crowded field, and it holds its own, in both value and performance, with the best cars in the segment.


Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; traction and stability control; and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard. City Safety, which automatically brakes the car when it senses a collision is about to take place, is standard. A blind-spot monitoring system is optional.

You'll like:

  • Beautifully executed interior
  • Powerful engines
  • Precise steering and handling

You won't like:

  • Slow infotainment system
  • Poor rearward visibility

Key Competitors For The 2013 Volvo S60

  • Audi A4
  • BMW 3 Series
  • Cadillac ATS
  • Infiniti G37
2013 Volvo S60 T6 Front Driving
The Wide Open Throttle regulars of Angus MacKenzie, Jonny Lieberman and Carlos Lago were joined again this week by the stars of Roadkill and Hot Rod Unlimited, David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan to add their hands-on performance perspective to the conversation. The show kicks off with a discussion of the Volvo S60 T6 vs. the Audi S4, with the consensus that the VW Group's deep pockets and engineering expertise made it almost impossible for Volvo to pull off an upset. Add the Audi's inherently more high-performance seven-speed dual clutch, and the competition was almost over before it started.
2013 Volvo S60 Polestar Front Three Quarter
Australia: the land down under with the Great Barrier Reef, kangaroos, and high-performance Volvos. Wait, what? Australian buyers will now have the choice of a Polestar-fettled S60 sedan inspired by the audacious S60 Polestar Concept.
2014 Volvo V60 Front Three Quarter 2
It’s hard out there for a U.S.-market Volvo dealer: even as models like the S60 and XC60 gain traction in their segments, a lack of different models have pushed sales lower. The bosses in Sweden have noticed, and may be rushing help to the American outlets, perhaps with a new station wagon.
Volvo City Safety Cyclist Detection Schematic
Volvo’s City Safety active safety system initially protected against hitting stationary obstacles or other cars, but was then expanded to avoid pedestrians, and again to prevent hitting wildlife. Now the City Safety setup, which can automatically stop a car without the driver’s input in an emergency, can avoid cyclists.
2014 Volvo S60 With Active High Beams Front Clip
It’s not enough any more to equip a car with automatic high beam headlights — the next step is active high beams, which shift light away from other cars while keeping full-beam coverage everywhere else. We’ve already seen similar systems from Mercedes-Benz and Audi, and Volvo will follow suit on a number of its recently-updated models.

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2013 Volvo S60 Specifications

Quick Glance:
2.5L I5Engine
Fuel economy City:
21 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
30 MPG
250 hp @ 5400rpm
266 ft lb of torque @ 1800rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
50,000 miles / 60 months
50,000 miles / 60 months
Unlimited miles / 144 months
Unlimited miles / 60 months
50,000 miles / 60 months
Recall Date
Volvo is recalling certain model year 2013 S60 and XC60 vehicles, manufactured on January 7, 2013. The product identification labels were printed with the incorrect manufacture year. Thus, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of 49 CFR Part 567, "Certification Regulation."
With an incorrect date of manufacture on the certification label, the vehicle owner may not be to determine if they are affected by future vehicle recalls, increasing their risk of a crash of injury.
Volvo has quarantined the affected vehicles and will install correct labels prior to sale. The recall began during March 2013. Owner notification letters will not be sent.
Potential Units Affected
Volvo Cars of N.A., LLC

Recall Date
Volvo is recalling certain model year 2013 S60 and XC60 vehicles. A manufacturing defect within the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) control unit may lead to an inadvertent deployment of the seat belt pretensioner and/or inflatable curtain.
If the seat belt pretensioner and/or inflatable side curtain deploy without cause, the driver could be distracted and the driver's visibility could be reduced, increasing the risk of a crash.
These vehicles have not been sold and the SRS control unit will be replaced prior to the cars being sold. Owners may contact Volvo at 1-800-458-1552.
Potential Units Affected
Volvo Cars of N.A., LLC

IIHS Front Small Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
NHTSA Rating Front Side
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
NHTSA Rating Overall
NHTSA Rating Rollover
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Best Pick
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength

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5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2013 Volvo S60

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Five Year Cost of Ownership: $36,859 What's This?
Value Rating: Average