How Does The New 2019 Volvo S60 Stack Up Compared To Its Predecessor?

Even though the second-gen S60 didn’t go around winning comparison tests left and right, the general consensus has been that it’s a well-built, safe and good-looking car.

Of course, these types of realizations came nearly a full decade ago, as the predecessor to the all-new 2019 S60 was unveiled in late 2009 and entered production at the beginning of 2010. Those were different times, as this particular segment was all about the A4/C-Class/3-Series trio.

By the time Volvo upgraded the S60 in 2014, BMW and Mercedes had already introduced all-new generations of the 3-Series (F30) and C-Class (W205), so it was about time Volvo treated us to an all-new compact executive saloon.

To be fair, the 2014 update was quite substantial, as the S60 received a new hood, new front fenders, larger grille, new headlights, new LED DRLs, a new infotainment display and quite a lot of new safety gear, like the new radar-based Blind Spot Information System.

Out with the old

Even with its upgraded exterior, the old S60 struggles to look as elegant or as imposing as the all-new model. The latter, of course, adheres to the Swedish automaker’s latest design language, previously applied to the flagship S90 saloon as well as the rest of the range.

The new S60’s front end is sharp and elegant, whereas the older car looked a bit bland, almost as if it was trying not to get noticed. Things do get better for the old S60 as you move along its profile and realize that it all builds up to those muscular rear arches and dynamic-looking rear. The top-heavy reverse L-shaped taillights still look good to this day, whereas the new model’s rear end with the ‘lobster’ tail-lamps is a little controversial.

Also Read: What’s With All The Lobster Claw Taillights These Days?

Still, let’s not forget that the all-new S60 is longer and has a bigger wheelbase, which most of the times allows the designers to pen a shape with nicely balanced proportions.

Interior comparison ends in a TKO

Anyone who’s ever driven the old S60 should know that it had a pretty well-built cabin, with sufficiently premium materials. It was comfortable and robust, and aside from a driving position that wasn’t as good as the one in a 3-Series or an Audi A4, you probably didn’t have much else to complain about.

The new S60 is of course a different beast, following the lead of the S90 and its V60 sister car. Unlike the S90, the S60/V60 combo does feature a little more plastic in places such as the center console, but other than that, it represents a leap in quality compared to the older model.

Higher-quality materials aside, the new S60 also has a more elegant dashboard design with fewer buttons (the old one was too reminiscent of previous-gen Volvos) and a modern infotainment system, whereas the old one looked slightly better than something straight out of a 2005 Opel Astra.

Overall, while its predecessor remains a highly-competent and reasonably handsome car, the 2019 S60 looks exactly like what Volvo needed in order to go head to head with BMW’s upcoming new 3-Series, Mercedesfacelifted C-Class and Audi’s tech-savvy A4 saloon.

So, if you were in the market for a premium compact saloon, would you go for the sharp, all-new S60 or choose one of the German three? Voice your opinion in the comments section right below!

  • pcurve

    have mixed feelings about the upward kink of the belt line towards the rear, but the new one has much better proportion with dramatically shorter overhang.

  • ZYGIUS

    Now older one looks so ugly

    • ProtectOurHeritage

      Need to see the S80 vs the new S90.

  • I WOULD THINK THE AGGRESSIVE AIR INTAKE WOULD HAVE PLAYED ITSELF OUT BY NOW.
    TOO BAD.

    • ProtectOurHeritage

      Try telling Audi that!

      • AUDI, MERCEDES, JAGUAR, TOYOTA…

  • ErnieB

    I think the older one looks sportier while the new one more elegant.. I wish they had made the new one look a bit more aggressive..but the interior of the new is just in another league..

    • Andrewthecarguy

      You know, I agree with you. There is some tension in the old one whereas the new one looks more elegant.
      I hope Volvo will follow with a hi-po version to tackle the ///Ms and AMGs of the world in this class.

  • ProtectOurHeritage

    The new S60 looks like it has moved on well from the previous model. Congratulations Peter Horbury on another successful design!

    • Danielus

      Steve mattin designed the old (second gen) s60 and thomas ingenlath the new. Peter horbury was in charge of the first generation s60 and have been gone from volvo for a while now lmao

      • ProtectOurHeritage

        Peter Horbury has been Geely’s global head of design since 2011, responsible for design at Volvo, Geely, Lynk&Co, LEVC and now Proton and Lotus. 😂😂

        • Cool guy

          Volvo has its own and separate design studio, Peter may be in-charge of Geely design as a whole, but the credit and work very much go to Thomas and his team.

  • no25

    Loving Volvo’s new image! BUT they need to really try more with distinctive interiors. They’re becoming worse than Mercedes with the same interior design in every car

  • Salih Ahzem

    I think this is one the few sedans that reverted to a more traditional sedan profile from a “coupe-like” roofline… A nice proof of auto makers don’t always have to follow common trends industry; classic design elements can still work when elegantly carried out.

  • Fred G. Sanford

    Stunningly beautiful car……untilyou get to the back. Those tail lights are a deal breaker.

  • Pete Jr

    The new S60 is stunning inside and out. I’m so happy to see how all the new SPA 60-Series have best incorporated the design cues from Ingenlath’s acclaimed concept cars from ‘13 and ‘14, as has the coming Polestar 1 Coupe (this a mimic of the ‘13 Concept Coupe). That sharp edged prominent rear shoulder as seen on the concepts; both paying homage to the P1800, is not there on any of the 90-Series vehicles. These new S60 taillights are a more tastefully contoured shape than the S90’s overly squared, and at some angles, visually awkward application. Fine job once again Volvo!

  • Franky Kurniago

    Is there an option for G70? It looks better than any of the cars in the list..

  • Bash

    There is no comparison between the both.. the new one is a big step in the right direction. I love it. The old one looks weird tbh.

  • rover10

    Like all new style directions something is lost in translation. I’ve always liked the previous styling, an interesting mix of shapes and detailing that actually worked. The new one has a plainess just as the Jaguar XE. The new classic proportion will however, please many who’ll buy or lease and I’m sure sales will be strong.

  • Mitch

    I had considered the outgoing S60 as my next car until I drove it and it was noisier than could be. Any news on whether the new model is any quieter inside?

  • jwardl

    What exactly does the new S60 have to do with saloons?

  • Dude

    What a jump

  • emjayay

    To me this is very similar to the old Opel Insigina/Buick Regal vs the new model. Both of the older models have a fairly clean and simple wedgy overall shape. The new models are clearly more 2018, more room, better screens etc. but really not as nice a design. I somehow didn’t know the old S60 existed until I saw a white one parked in the neighborhood a couple years ago. Very nice.

    I don’t know how any of them drive. By all accounts the Opel/Buicks of either generation are quiet and smooth and handle well. Don’t really know about the Volvos.

    Another thing is that Volvo, despite their inherited rock solid reputation, does not now do well in reliability and quality ratings.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      I think this is Volvo’s problem overall: lack of awareness due to low market penetration.
      That said, the XC-90 has done exceedingly well for them. How to translate that success to the sedan lineup is baffling to Volvo, yet the answer is quite simple: follow the 3 tier plan established by the Germans.
      S40 S60 S90 S110?/120?

      The 40 will do well against A3 and upcoming 1 series and the like. Make it a fun driver with manual and electric options.
      60 and 90 are your 3/5 series C/E class XE/XF offerings from Sweden.

      The S110/120 is the grand-daddy S Class rival, full of the best Gothenburg has to offer. It could be called an actual name instead of S whatever as well.

      I vote for Volvo Stor-Lyx which means Grand Luxury in Swedish.

  • Miknik

    Unlike say a new BMW or Audi, we don’t need them side by side to tell what’s new, yet it looks unmistakably like a Volvo in every detail. That’s how its should be done…
    Also, I love the lack of overdone visual aggression through extensive (usually fake) vents and grilles

  • I must admit while the new one looks good the old has aged very well, I’d gladly have it.

    • ErnieB

      I ageee.. the exterior of the older still looks current. The interior though.. not too much..

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