On the other end of the spectrum, Volvo expects its new S60 Inscription to be a bigger seller in the S60 lineup: in fact, Volvo expects it to eventually make up about half of future S60 sales. What’s going to make the Inscription such a hot commodity? An extra three inches of rear legroom and a whole bunch of luxury accoutrements as standard.
Volvo realized that the other luxury brands were updating their compact executives, and the rear legroom was growing on those models. When the S60 first debuted, it was near the top. Since then, it’s inched toward the bottom of the segment. The Inscription version looks to change that, putting the S60 back on top as the segment’s leader in rear legroom. For buyers who put interior space at a premium, that’s a huge win for Volvo, and it may even draw customers shopping for executive sedans, the next size up in the luxury car class scale.
Volvo S60 Inscription Specs
Engine: 2.0-Liter Turbocharged Inline Four-Cylinder
Transmission: Six-Speed Auto Geartronic
Horsepower: 240 @ 5,400 RPM
Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1,500
Drive System: FWD
0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
MSRP: $38,700 (base)
The American versions of the Inscription are also built in Chengdu — thus it is the first production car to be fully built in China and sold in the United States.
What’s unique about the S60 Inscription is not so much its size, but its origin. The Inscription was originally built exclusively for the Chinese market (there it is called the S60L), one of the many iterations of small luxury sedans stretched for Chinese buyers obsessed with the prestige of owning an elongated car. As such, it was built in Chengdu, China. The American versions of the Inscription are also built in Chengdu — thus it is the first production car to be fully built in China and sold in the United States.
If this frightens you, it really shouldn’t. After all, you’re likely reading this on a device built in China. Volvo is quick to emphasize that the Inscription was designed and built to the same standards as the cars it makes in Sweden. Some driving time in the Inscription confirms that claim, at least in the short term. The Inscription interior has the same fit and finish as other Volvo iterations — in fact, the interior is at its best in the Inscription.
The most notable interior appointment is the beautiful, unfinished linear walnut wood trim — standard in the Inscription. Also standard are a power rear sunshade and manual side window sunshades at the back, to keep the sun from bothering your rear passengers. Since the Inscription will become the new top-of-the-line version, it comes standard with items like navigation, a rear backup camera and 18-inch alloys. For $3,000 more, you get the Platinum version, which then adds Harmon Kardon sound, adaptive cruise control and keyless drive. Considering that the Inscription starts at under $40,000 that’s a solid deal.
Ultimately, the new S60 Cross Country and Inscription represent two compact executive sedans that stray from the pack, for better or for worse. Compared to other cars in their segment they’re both novel and a little odd, which will be great for the buyer who wants to be different for the sake of being different. But are they hits? No. At their core they’re simply good, sensible — and markedly unique — sedans that a niche of drivers will be happy with every day they drive.