The fusion red metallic S60 conspicuously parked at a Savannah Highway dealership claims less than 500 miles, including an inaugural drive from its assembly point in Berkeley County to Hendrick Volvo Cars of Charleston. It's a show car that can be someone's own car.

A splashy brand new model, the 2019 luxury sedan priced from $35,800 and capable of 250-316 horsepower is one of the very first of the entry-level four-doors to reach the market from the $1 billion Ridgeville operation employing 2,000-plus workers.

"I think it's a long time coming," said Dan Zarrillo, general manager of the Charleston-based dealership. "We are pretty fortunate. They have been a very supportive manufacturer coming here."

The 2019 S60, an anticipated upgrade from the last generation 2011 models, arrived the second week in November and as of last week was the only edition at the closest dealership to the plant — about 25 miles. The all-wheel-drive T6 version with a bevy of extras carries a sticker price of more than $58,000.

"Its' really just a smaller version of the flagship (S90) sedan, he said. They sell pretty well; it just came out," he said. Volvo also is revving up its SUV lineup, with the new SC90 signature model to emerge from the Ridgeville operation in three years.

Meantime, a new wave of S60s are expected to be on hand by next week, Zarrillo indicated. "They are already running lease specials, $369 a month," he said. According to Zarrillo, the carmaker sees the sedan's competitors as the BMW 3 series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Audi A4.

Among the enticements of the S60 are technological boosts from Apple Car Play integration to autonomous driving. Volvo's website cites upgrades that impact the drive, interior design and safety, including:

  • Rear suspension that helps keep the weight low and the car more agile.
  • Three drive modes to enhance performance, comfort and fuel economy and emissions or design a combination.
  • An active chassis that assesses road conditions and adapts shock absorbers.
  • Interior design cues such as power height adjustments on the standard or contour seats; slender, metal finished controls for air vents, ignition and gear shifter; and optional Driftwood decor accents.
  • A tablet-like 9 inch touchscreen formatted to read information easily and to reduce scrolling.
  • Panoramic "moonroof" that lets in natural light while employing tinted glass to curb glare and ultraviolet radiation.
  • Accident protection features such as Boron steel frame and crumple zones in the front and back.
  • City Safety package with radar and camera technology to identity other vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and animals ahead day or night, automatic braking that kicks in when the driver doesn't react in time, and steering that maneuvers the motorist away from danger.
  • Road run-off mitigation that employs steering and brake support when unintentionally heading off the road at speeds of 40 to 85 mph.

Editions expected to join the T6 are the front-wheel-drive T5, a type R design sport version and a T8 hybrid blasting out 400-plus horsepower, the general manager said.

An afternoon drive in mid November in the S60 T6 showcased the 2019's benefits and how they will update the model after eight years without a makeover.

In terms of style, the sporty "fusion red" metallic exterior and smartly dressed aluminum interior instilled a luxurious feel with high performance overtones. The S60 surged off the mark in comfort mode and found extra juice in sport drive. The sedan handled neatly, taking corners with tight steering and switching lanes when necessary with ease. Brakes were abrupt but not jarring. The five-passenger model keeps paces on the interstate while also saving on gas in fuel economy mode in traffic tie-ups.

A real perk is the high-end Bowers & Wilkins sound system boasting 15 speakers and three listening modes including Gothenburg Concert Hall.

Controlling the sound system, navigation and communications functions were buttons on the steering column, below the center console and the touchscreen itself, which was easy to use with a few basic choices and not a lot of clutter. An adjustable information display built into the dashboard in front of the steering wheel proved helpful, and heads-up display and well as interior screens called up speed limit signs. The center console brought up climate controls that could adjust temperature and fan in the driver and passenger seats with a slide of a finger. The S60 carries a large trunk, and rear seats can be folded down for more space.

An irritant was some of the gauges weren't intuitive, such to open and close the sunroof. Visibility was a little bit obscured at side pillars.

All told, however, Volvo and South Carolina have unveiled a creative and upbeat partnership that on its first try showed off a cushy sports-like five-seater long on looks, short on 0-60 mph times and expected to push its way into the entry-level luxury market's upper reaches for years to come.

Go to www.volvocar.com/US.

For more information and photos, go to www.postandcourier.com/automotive.

Reach Jim Parker at 843-937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.

SPECS:

MODEL: 2019 Volvo S60

TYPE: Entry-level luxury sedan

PRICE: $35,800-$58,000-plus

ENGINE: 2.0-liter four cylinder

HORSEPOWER: 250-316.

SEATING: Five passengers.

TRANSMISSION: Eight-speed automatic

POWER-TRAIN: All-wheel-drive (T6 trim)

FUEL ECONOMY: Up to 24 mpg city, 36 mpg highway

WHEELS: 18 inch