By Keith Buglewicz
The 2015 Volvo S80 sits atop the Swedish carmaker's sedan heap, yet many overlook it when cross-shopping against Lexus, Audi and BMW.
Too bad for them, because they're missing out on a sedan brimming with world-class luxury and safety features, and some of the most comfortable seats in the business, all available at a very reasonable price. Its subdued styling appeals to those who speak softly, rather than wield big sticks. This year, an all-new 4-cylinder powerplant finds its way under the hood of front-wheel drive-models, offering more power and better fuel economy than its predecessor. All-wheel drive (AWD) versions of the S80 still sport a turbocharged 6-cylinder. It can even tow up to 3,300 pounds, remarkable considering it's not even an SUV.
If you want a roomy interior, comfortable seats and first-rate safety, all wrapped in a classy-but-subdued sedan, then you need look no further than the 2015 Volvo S80. The new engine helps fuel economy, too.
While the 2015 Volvo S80 is a handsome car, it's not particularly dynamic. If you want a roaring V8 engine, or if you want the latest in high-tech gadgetry glowing at you on your dash, then you should keep shopping.
After receiving a visual and technology upgrade last year, the 2015 Volvo S80's biggest change is at the bottom of the lineup. Front-wheel-drive S80 models get a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder connected to a new 8-speed automatic transmission. Offering better fuel economy and more power, it's a win-win.
Driving Impressions For 2015, the Volvo S80 gets a change at the low end of the lineup. Replacing the dated 3.2-liter 6-cylinder, the new Drive-E turbocharged 4-cylinder is a smooth, refined and...... powerful engine.
At city-street speeds, if the system senses impending contact with a vehicle or other object, and the driver does not apply the brakes, the car will stop itself. While it's best for drivers to not be distracted in the first place, the City Safety system really can help.
We fell in love with this turbocharged 4-cylinder engine when we drove the new 2015 Volvo S60, V60 and XC60, and we expect the same in the S80. It combines power, fuel efficiency and refined smoothness in a way we usually associate with more expensive German brands.
As you'd expect of a Swedish-designed car, the 2015 Volvo S80 offers up a straightforward and functional 5-passenger cabin. It's mostly carryover from last year, with the exception of Dark Walnut wood inlays on the Insignia trim. The configurable display screen takes center stage on the dash. Drivers can opt for a traditional center speedometer, or an eco-friendly display backlit in green or a red-backlit performance mode with center-mounted tachometer and digital speed readout. The S80's supportive front bucket seats feature 8-way power for both driver and passenger, while the rear seats fold down to expand the meager trunkspace.Exterior
Unlike some rivals, with flavor-of-the-month styling, the 2015 Volvo S80 has classically handsome lines that will doubtless withstand the test of time. It has a graceful, sweeping roofline, and its strong shoulders, angular hood and twin tailpipes suggest some athleticism. New this year is wider chrome trunk molding, plus a new optional silver color and 18-inch "Magni" alloy wheels. Otherwise, it's mostly carryover, with elegant highlights like Volvo's signature flowing taillight design. Base models ride on 17-inch wheels, and turbocharged versions get 18-inch alloy wheels, with optional 19-inch wheels as part of the Sport Chassis suspension upgrade.
All 2015 Volvo S80 models are equipped with the City Safety automatic braking feature, leather seating, walnut wood inlays, a 7-inch color display, dual-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rain-sensing windshield wipers, Sensus information-management system, Bluetooth, and a pollen filter. The standard audio system puts out 160 watts through eight speakers and includes an AM/FM/CD/HD Radio receiver with iPod, USB and auxiliary inputs.
Two step-up trims are available on both S80 models: Premier Plus includes front and rear park assist and a built-in Homelink garage door opener, while Platinum adds a 12-speaker, 650-watt premium audio system and voice-controlled navigation system with a rear-view camera. Also available on all S80s are the Climate Package with heated steering wheel, windshield and front and rear seats, and a Technology Package that includes adaptive cruise control and lane-departure and collision warning systems. The T6 AWD model offers a Sport Chassis for a more sporting ride, while the Inscription Package adds fine leather and a wood steering wheel.
The biggest change to the 2015 Volvo S80 is under the hood of front-wheel-drive models with the addition of the Drive-E engine.
This 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 packs 240 horsepower, plus technology to raise fuel economy and lower emissions at the same time. An Eco mode shuts it off at stop lights, while a Sport mode improves throttle response. The new 8-speed automatic transmission is also part of the equation, with a quick-responding manual mode. The AWD T6 model continues with a 300-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter 6-cylinder. All-wheel drive offers superior grip on slippery surfaces, and the 6-speed automatic on the T6 can also be manually shifted. The T6 also has one spec you don't normally see on a luxury sedan: a towing capacity of 3,300 pounds.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (T5)
240 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (T6)
300 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,100-4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on a base 2015 Volvo S80 T5 with the new Drive-E engine starts around $41,500, including the destination charge. The turbocharged, all-wheel-drive T6 version starts at about $45,000.
If you start checking all the options boxes, you can quickly load your S80 up to more than $56,000. That puts it higher than some tough competition, such as the Acura TL, Lexus ES, Lincoln MKZ and Buick LaCrosse. On the other hand, it's less than cars like the and under the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Cadillac CTS. Be sure to check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are actually paying for the Volvo S80. Over several years, the S80 is not expected to retain its value as well as the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 or Acura TL.
By Jim on Tuesday, August 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 168,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handles well; quiet; fuel efficient"
Cons: "lights burn out frequently"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"We have owned our Volvo S80 since it was new. It has been a very comfortable & dependable car. Paint has held up very well and I am amazed at the hits the windshield has taken and not been damaged. Build quality and mechanical items have been relatively trouble free. Now that the vehicle is getting some age on it, I believe the electronics are beginning falter. My biggest complaint has been that the lights frequently burn out. Volvo designs the car to have the lights on 100% of the time the engine is running so they are always on. LED headlights and "position" lights would eliminate this complaint but their use was limited in 2004. I have no intention of replacing this car anytime soon."
8 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By Austin on Monday, July 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 103,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fast, durable, safe, fun to drive, good MPG"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have really loved this car! I had this car and ended up getting a really bad accident where we were hit by a car and this car was so solid and protective. Probably one of the things i love most about this car is how safe you are in them. But i also love how it drives so I ended up buying another one. This car is awesome especially with the turbo in it. Driving on trips is so nice going up hills or passing other cars cuz the turbo gives it the power it needs but it is still pretty decent on gas due to the 5 cylinders."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By donny on Monday, May 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "A large car, but fun to drive and great utility."
Cons: "Repairs can be pricey, as most parts are Volvo."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I've owned this car since new. In addition to being very stylish (still looks good after 12 years) it's still as peppy as a teenager. In addition, I have used it as a truck to carry lumber inside (the rear seats fold down) up to 10 feet long. I've looked at others and found that to replace the features to which I've become accustomed would cost me more than I'm willing to pay at this point."
3 people out of 7 found this review helpful