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2012 Volvo S80

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2012 Volvo S80 Review

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The 2012 Volvo S80 may not have the cachet of a Lexus GS, Audi A6 or BMW 5 Series, but it merits attention among premium brands nonetheless. Not surprisingly, Volvo's largest sedan isn't known for the most modern styling or thrilling performance, but rather the safety pedigree and understated elegance long associated with its Swedish maker. The S80 offers a choice of two robust 6-cylinder engines, front- or all-wheel drive and a luxurious interior that's among the most comfortable in its class. For those who need to tow, the S80 is rated to pull up to 3,300 pounds, more than some small SUVs.

You'll Like This Car If...

If comfort, safety and versatility in a premium sedan are more important to you than image and style, check out the 2012 Volvo S80. Opt for the turbocharged, all-wheel drive turbo version, and you'll also get surprising performance from what would appear to be a rather mild-mannered sedan.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If a luxury nameplate, blazing performance or the latest techno wizardry matter more to you, check out the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series or Acura TL.

What's New for 2012

2012 Volvo S80 models benefit from a new interior panel that houses Volvo's Sensus system, which acts as a command center for audio, navigation and other functions and displays information on a 7-inch color screen. The other big news for 2012 S80 models is that they now come standard with City Safety, an ingenious system that automatically stops the car at lower speeds if it senses the driver is distracted and fails to brake ahead of a potential frontal collision.

Driving the S80

Driving Impressions The S80 offers two distinct experiences depending upon which engine is under the hood. Cars with the 3.2-liter 6-cylinder favor comfort over performance, while those with the more powerful 3.0-liter...

turbocharged 6-cylinder easily deliver both those traits. Whichever power plant you choose, the Volvo S80 feels confident and capable. Those seeking more gusto in all-wheel-drive T6 versions of the S80 can opt for the Dynamic Package, which lowers the ride height and features firmer springs and anti-roll bars. But beware: Adding such features for the sake of performance also means diminished comfort when it comes to ride quality.

CITY SAFETY
While the best way to prevent an accident due to distracted driving is by not being distracted in the first place, this system, optimized for stop-and-go traffic and other low-speed situations, can prevent a crash or lessen damage due to one. At speeds of 19 mph or less, if the car senses it will collide with a vehicle ahead and the driver does not apply the brakes, the car will stop itself.

3.0-LITER TURBOCHARGED ENGINE
Pairing impressive output with a fat, flat torque curve, the 2012 S80 T6 AWD's optional, up-level engine puts out nearly as much power as the V8 offered just a couple of years ago.

2012 Volvo S80 Details
2012 Volvo S80 photo Interior

While the 2012 Volvo S80's exterior may border on plain, its 5-passenger interior could be a template for all luxury sedans. As one may expect of a Swedish-designed car, the S80's cabin is straightforward and highly functional. Want to direct ventilation to your head or torso, for instance? Just press the corresponding area on the human-shaped controls. Other information, such as audio and navigation functions, now benefit from a high-resolution 7-inch color display that replaces the rather staid setup of past models. Leather covers the seats, steering wheel and gearshift knob, and can also be had on the dash and armrests. Then there are those front bucket seats; they are ultra-supportive and feature 8-way power for both driver and passenger. The rear seats, meanwhile, can fold to accommodate cargo and power-folding head restraints can be lowered for better visibility. Trunk space, though, is rather small for this size of car.

Exterior
2012 Volvo S80 photo

The 2012 Volvo S80 isn't exactly an exercise in design, but it's still a handsome car and one that may better stand the test of time than some peers. It has a sweeping roofline and strong shoulders, an angular hood in front and twin tailpipes in back imbue some athleticism and Volvo's signature flowing tail lights continue to make a statement of elegance. Base models ride on 17-inch wheels, and turbocharged versions get larger 18-inch alloys.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

All 2012 Volvo S80 models are equipped with the City Safety automatic braking feature, leather seating, walnut wood inlays, 7-inch color display, dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, Bluetooth and pollen filter. The standard audio system is good for 160 watts through eight speakers and includes an AM/FM/HD Radio receiver and CD player with iPod/USB/auxiliary inputs.

Optional Equipment

Major options are now bundled into two up-level trims – Premier Plus and Platinum – on S80s with either naturally-aspirated or turbocharged engines. Premier Plus adds front and rear park assist and a built-in Homelink garage door opener. The Platinum trim adds a 12-speaker, 650-watt premium audio system and voice-controlled navigation system with rear-view camera. Additional options can further spruce up the S80 and include a Dynamic package for a more sporting ride; Climate Package with heated front and rear seats and rain-sensing wipers; Inscription Package that adds loads of fine leather and a wood steering wheel; and the Technology Package that includes adaptive cruise control and lane-departure and collision warning alerts.

Under the Hood

Since dropping the V8 option after 2010, Volvo S80 models are now propelled solely by inline 6-cylinder engines. The base engine is a 3.2-liter that produces 240 horsepower and is available only with front-drive; it is plenty adequate to move this midsize sedan. Drivers who relish more excitement behind the wheel or simply want the security of effortless acceleration will prefer the turbocharged 3.0-liter engine that makes a stout 300 horsepower and an even more impressive 325 lb-ft of torque; the turbo engine is standard with all-wheel drive, which offers superior grip for slippery surfaces. Both engines are connected to 6-speed automatic transmissions that can be manually shifted if desired. We applaud that both engines can run on less-expensive regular unleaded gasoline. And here's another surprise: The S80 is rated to tow up to 3,300 pounds.

3.2-liter inline-6
240 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 3,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 mpg

3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
300 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg

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2012 Volvo S80 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.3
Out of 10

Based on 96 Ratings for the 2007 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.3/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.3/10
  • Comfort
    9.4/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

This is a great car! Comfortable and Reliable

By on Monday, February 01, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Seats, drivability, looks and gas mileage"

Cons: "No Accessible USB plugs on dash"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought this car as a demo and have never been more pleased both in quality, dependability and comfort. First Volvo and will not be my last. I do a mix of intown and highway and surpassed the EPA estimates on mileage with average around 28 with as high as 35 on the highway. Not a barn burner on the starting block, but has plenty of power when you need it. The front seats are awesome and comfortable on long rides and the rear seats actually will hold three adults in comfort. Will probably keep as a second car as soon as the new XC 90 is out!"

Comfortable, reliable, nice car

By on Sunday, January 10, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "power, handling, brakes seat comfort"

Cons: "BLIS, occaasional AM static"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I have an '11 T6 AWD and couldn't be happier. After 4 years and almost 50K miles, no issues, only had maintenance which was part of the warranty when I bought it new. The AWD tracks beautifully all the time, and goes through anything in the winter without hesitation with snows - almost could park it on the side of a building. I average 21 mpg overall, best has been 33; not bad. Solid handling, great ride, strong brakes, awesome seat comfort, and quick enough when you want it: 0-60 in 6.1 seconds according to the specs. I have had over 15 cars of different makes and this one has been the best. I normally switch every 3 years or so, but planning on keeping this one a while longer. Paint & interior are standing up very well, better than others I have owned. Shortcomings: Depreciation is steep on this car, don't know why - probably because it isn't sexy with lots of electronics like BMW and Audi; but that makes it a good buy if looking used, and the police won't pay you much attention(!). I have a lot of chips in the windshield, but probably due to time on the highway and the last few winters here that have been tougher than normal (glass is glass). The Blind Spot system (BLIS) falses a lot and is essentially useless in the rain, so I consider it merely a "suggestion". This is our 3th Volvo; we had good luck with the other ones so decided on this one when it was time. Love the safety on this car, and all Volvos."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

electrical problems

By on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: electrical problems that never went away

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "safety"

Cons: "electrical problems"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"AM radio was NOT reliable and dealership could never repair for the long run, bought in 2010 and it stayed at the repair shop more than in my driveway for various reasons; service department could never repair correctly that finally regional service person found the issue but the repair only lasted a couple of years; when charging my cell phone (with cigarette lighter plug) it caused lots of static on the radio to the point you could not listen to the radio and could not plug in one charger in the front and back charger and expect them to work in both simultaneously"

26 people out of 45 found this review helpful

GREAT VEHICLE! 0 PROBLEMS.

By on Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

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."

37 people out of 62 found this review helpful

Won't be dissapointed

By on Thursday, October 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

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"

24 people out of 48 found this review helpful

Will not buy another.

By on Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,100

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
5/10

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."

20 people out of 53 found this review helpful

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