By KBB.com Editors
Once upon a time, Volvos were relatively uninspiring boxes with a reputation for safety and ruggedness but their only "style" was the very lack of style. Then, less than decade ago, the brand began a life-altering transformation, converting from rear- to front-wheel drive and from boxy to stylish, inside and out. Then came upscale elements of performance, luxury and athletic handling. Today's entire Volvo line, small to large, reflects these qualities, in addition to the marque's continuing signature obsession with safety. Though pricier than comparable domestic and Japanese sedans, Volvos offer lower price tags than those of German competitors.
If you're looking for a more functional, Swedish-style take on luxury than is offered by the German or Japanese luxury models, the Volvo S80 delivers.
If the leading edge performance of a European sports sedan tops your wish list, you might find the S80 to be just off the pace, while if roominess is your thing several domestic and Japanese nameplates offer more for less.
Volvo's all-new second-generation S80 flagship sedan offers everything fans of European cars expect, plus a couple of key safety features Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS) and Blind Spot Information system (BLIS) that some competitors lack. Also new is an industry-first Personal Car Communicator (PCC).
Driving Impressions The top-of-the-line V8-equipped all-wheel-drive S80 with the optional Sport Package offers a satisfying solidity but does not feel quite as light-footed or agile as the best of its competitors. The...surprisingly throaty exhaust note accompanies a surge of forward motion each time we massaged the accelerator pedal, while its speed-sensitive power steering is precise, but a bit lacking in feel. We appreciate the grip from its big (18-inch) performance tires, and, as you might expect, its ABS brakes sucks it down from speed almost like an aircraft-carrier arresting wire. The six-cylinder version, while certainly adequate, offers neither the power nor the torque of the top engines in the segment. Where the S80 really shines is in its the firmly supportive seats, its elegant, understated interior and such features as the optional Blind Spot Information system, adaptive cruise control that maintained a preset interval behind a vehicle ahead and active headlamps that peered around corners. Only the rear seat legroom, relatively meager for a car this size, disappoints.
Blind Spot Information System (BLIS)
BLIS is not ignorant. TV cameras near both outside mirrors trigger the illumination of orange lights on the interior A-pillars when a vehicle is detected in a blind spot.
Personal Car Communicator (PCC)
Some might call it a key fob, but this highly intelligent key accessory can determine if the car is locked, if the alarm has been activated and even if someone (or some animal) is in the car, all from a distance.
Volvo says the S80's interior "epitomizes the tradition of Scandinavian design," which means a more functional, less ostentatious ethic. The S80's interior emphasizes rounded rectangular shapes (in the control buttons and vents) and a combination of straight and gently curving lines complemented by upscale materials and real wood trim. Its most striking feature is the super-slim vertical center dash area, which houses entertainment and climate system controls, hides an open storage bin and flows into the angled console. There's a 12-volt outlet in a small covered bin and another on the console's rear surface (but none on the dash), and an auxiliary audio jack inside the large covered storage box.Exterior
While nearly the same length (191 inches) as the model it replaces, the new S80 is slightly taller and wider and rides on a longer wheelbase with a wider track. Its gently rounded shape conforms to Volvo's recent design themes and builds so much on the heritage of the first-generation S80 that some might complain it is too similar. Only when the two cars sit side-by-side does one realize how different the new-generation model is. The most distinctive exterior elements are a rounded rectangular blackout grille under a more pedestrian-friendly domed, V-shaped hood and a broad shoulder line beginning between the grille and headlamps and extending full-length along the hood, beltline and flanks to define the taillamps' outer edges.
As part of its "Scandinavian Luxury" theme, the standard six-cylinder S80 features premium leather and wood trim, power front seats, a power moonroof, front fog lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, a programmable HomeLink transmitter, 160-watt eight-speaker audio with CD, AUX input and MP3 capability. Additional standard safety features include Dynamic Stability Traction Control (DSTC), Volvo's WHIPS whiplash mitigation system and new Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) side air bags with separate chambers to help protect front occupants' chests and hips. The V8 model adds standard all-wheel drive, aggressive-sounding dual exhausts, an Interior Air Quality System (IAQS) and more.
Three option packages are available: A Climate Package (heated front seats, heated windshield washer nozzles, rain-sensing wipers and high-pressure headlamp cleaners), an Audio Package (650-watt 12-speaker Dolby Surround Sound with Sirius Satellite Radio) and a Sport Package ("Four-C" Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept, speed-sensitive steering, 18-inch performance tires and wheels, ventilated front seats and active bi-xenon headlamps that swivel up to 15 degrees with the steering). Notable stand-alone options include DVD navigation, dual-screen rear DVD entertainment, adaptive cruise control (with collision warning and brake support), front and rear park assist, run-flat tires and Blind Spot Information System (BLIS.) The world-first Personal Car Communicator (PCC) includes Keyless Drive, and it can tell from a distance whether someone is lurking in the car via a heartbeat sensor.
The S80 is not only the first Volvo sedan powered by the company's new 235-horsepower 3.2-liter in-line six (replacing the previous in-line five), it is also the first offering the optional 311-horsepower 4.4-liter V8 that debuted in the 2006 XC90 SUV. Both are compact, relatively lightweight, transverse-mounted engines featuring double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder, and both drive through a new six-speed "Geartronic" automatic transmission with manual shift control.
3.2-liter in-line 6
235 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 (FWD)
311 horsepower @ 5950 rpm
325 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3950 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 (AWD)
By thevolvoguy on Tuesday, November 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,300overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I probably would not rate any vehicle a 10. Have had 0 problems with this vehicle. I'm the second owner, and know the original owner, who now has the XC60 - T6. this is the 4.4 ltr. V8. Nice Auto, and Boat motor. A friend of mine has one in his Boat. Very comfortable seating, can't beat a Volvo in my opinion. Very quick as needed. With the V8, you can get around 25 MPG highway, which isn't bad considering weight of vehicle. Would tell anyone to buy this vehicle, unless they must have a high MPG vehicle."
17 people out of 30 found this review helpful
By kemahkim on Thursday, October 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Overall with a 50k bumper to bumper along with maintenance included you would pay a lot more for another import. I have experienced no mechanical problems ever with this car! It is now my 2nd Volvo and there will be a 3rd one day"
18 people out of 33 found this review helpful
By Thom on Tuesday, August 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,100overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Body style not too bad."
Cons: "See review."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"While I really liked the look of the car, I will not purchase another. Has a sound when you turn the wheel as if plastic is rubbing. Unable to locate or repair. Have had to the dealer several times. Transmission has problems shifting between 20 to 30 mph, especially around 25 mph. Have had to dealer twice on issue - alleged micro chip issue, chip replaced with little resolution. Drinks gas like a truck, but very little pick- up. Rides like a truck, drives like a truck, runs like a truck."
15 people out of 30 found this review helpful
By Beverly on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Incredibly beautiful car with many safety features"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"It is one of the safest cars on the road. It has every safety feature possible. Cameras completely surround the outside of the car and alert you when you are approaching anything. It automatically stops when the car in front stops. It flashes a light when cars approach on the side. It has air conditioned front seats and an excellent sound system. I bought this car because of its safety features. It has an I system that alerts you if anybody has gotten into your car and is not visible. It has amazing features. It is computerized and literally tells you everything about the car, including telling you your tires are low. It is in perfect condition."
17 people out of 25 found this review helpful
By Spanky on Monday, June 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 101,981overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "very safe car"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I never keep a car much over a year and my son commented on how I had my 2003 Volvo S80 for over five years. I really liked that car and was ready for a change so I purchased this 2010 Volvo S80. Great car and am very pleased with it. Well built car."
16 people out of 24 found this review helpful
By Brian on Tuesday, June 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,600overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Value, safety"
Cons: "Ride is not as smooth as my Buick."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought this car used as a second car for my commute and for my kids to drive occasionally. Very comfortable and smooth. Great value for the money in my opinion. Has been very reliable and I feel very good about my kids driving this car. Not as sporty as a comparable BMW or Audi but much more economical. I am happy so far after 2 years of ownership."
12 people out of 18 found this review helpful