It’s been about seven months since we took delivery of our 2020 Volvo S60 T8 long-term tester. At the start, all of us here at Autoblog were taking turns in the luxurious and quick Swedish sedan. Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, that’s changed drastically. Instead of swapping day-to-day, some of us have spent long stints with it at a time. I’ve been getting in some serious seat time myself. There frankly isn’t a whole lot to do, and driving is one of the better socially distant activities I’ve been able to think of so far.
Thankfully, nobody has broken anything on it since our last update. Our S60 has been at the dealer a couple of times, though. The first trip took care of an open recall. It concerned the automatic emergency braking system, a software incompatibility issue with the hardware that affected every Volvo in the lineup. That was fixed with a software update, and we were back on the road in no time. The second trip was to perform the 10,000-mile maintenance. Our local Volvo dealer changed the oil and oil filter, then performed a full vehicle inspection. Finding nothing wrong, we were back on the road again in a couple hours. The 10,000-mile service intervals are splendid. Fewer trips to the dealership in a pandemic is always a positive in our book.
Since the trip to the dealer, we’ve put another 3,000 miles on the car to bring us just over 13,000 on the odometer. The complex powertrain hasn’t thrown any codes at us or scarily lit the dashboard up. Its 2.0-liter supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder plus electric motor propulsion system might sound like … well, a lot, but it’s been bulletproof so far. Being able to plug in at home has been nice. Any trip into town for groceries or takeout can be made exclusively with electric power, as the 22-mile EPA-estimated electric range is fairly accurate when on surface streets. The charge bar in the dash dwindles away much quicker when we take to the highway. Charging via a 110-volt outlet typically takes around 4-6 hours, so plugging in overnight always leaves us with a full battery.
We’ve driven the S60 to the desolate, northern parts of Michigan’s lower peninsula since our last update, and even taken it camping once. The trunk isn’t exactly cavernous for a bunch of camping gear, but folding the back seats down makes it utilitarian enough in a pinch — we even fit four wheels and tires in the car doing this. Its comfort on the highway continues to impress. There’s plenty of passing power when you mat it — 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque — and Volvo’s Pilot Assist lane-centering system is consistently good at tracing a perfect path down the highway.
Our most recent list of complaints isn’t long, but there are a couple we’ll dive into. For starters, we could do with some more storage up front. Volvo’s center console is deep enough to lay a phone down flat, but nothing more. The cupholders and door side pockets end up being the standard storage areas for most items, because there’s just nowhere to put anything in the center. When you have two drinks, two phones, a bottle of hand sanitizer, a couple masks, wallet, purse and other miscellaneous items, it gets tight.
Secondly, we miss not being able to shift via paddles or the gear lever. The sportier R-Design trim has paddles, but our Inscription trim does not. Putting the car into “Power” mode engages transmission tuning that holds gears longer, but it still feels silly to have such a quick, sporty car and not be able to swap through the eight gears ourselves — it’s the excellent ZF eight-speed, too, so the potential for solid performance is there. Legions of cars are sold today with paddle shifters that don’t need them (looking at the CVTs in the room), so leaving them off the Inscription trim because it’s the luxury model feels like an oversight.
Taking a peek at our S60 sitting on the driveway still helps to temper any negative thoughts about the car. It’s one of the best-looking luxury sedans out there, and we’re excited to spend another 10,000 miles behind the wheel before it leaves our garage. Watch for more impressions soon.