By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
Volvo’s S80 luxury sedan for 2016 may not be the first car buyers look to when shopping this segment, but it definitely deserves a look. Yes, the S80 is aging and doesn’t have the looks and latest features of cars like the Hyundai Genesis, but it is still a Volvo. For those who appreciate the subtlety of Scandinavian styling and Volvo’s long commitment to safety, the S80 will likely come as a pleasant alternative. Dig beneath the S80’s surface and you’ll find a big sedan with a modern 4-cylinder turbocharged engine and some of the most comfortable front seats in the business. All-wheel drive (AWD) is no longer on the table for 2016, a fact that may eliminate the S80 from some shopping lists.
If you’re seeking a comfortable and spacious luxury sedan more about safety and quality rather than flashy looks or flat-out performance, the 2016 Volvo S80 certainly qualifies.
The Volvo S80 for 2016 is an aging design quickly being overtaken by newer luxury models. If you’re seeking V8 power, all-wheel drive, more modern styling and more high-tech features, any number of foreign and domestic models will prove a better fit.
The AWD T6 is dropped from the lineup, leaving only the front-wheel-drive T5 to carry on the S80 banner. The T5 gains new 18-inch wheels, heated front seats, a power moonroof and the interior air-quality system as standard. The Platinum trim gains BLIS, power retractable side mirrors and HID headlights with washers.
The 2016 Volvo S80 luxury sedan is powered by an efficient and eager 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, part of Volvo’s Drive-E engine series. Refined yet powerful, this 2.0-liter has no problem...
... moving the big S80, achieving a run to 60 mph in just under seven seconds. Acceleration through the 8-speed Geartronic automatic is smooth and linear, although you can take control of gearshifts by moving the shift lever into the manual mode. The S80 feels poised and confident in tight corners, although the steering response can feel a bit vague at times. We like the nice balance of ride comfort and cornering provided by the S80’s suspension, and the cabin is well isolated from exterior wind, engine and road noise.
The City Safety system uses radar to sense objects ahead of the car. Should the driver fail to take action to avoid a collision (such as when distracted by an incoming text message), at low speeds the car can slow and even bring itself to a complete stop.
Volvo’s new Drive-E 4-cylinder turbocharged engine is one of the best we’ve tested. Smooth, refined, powerful and efficient, it’s probably the 2016 Volvo S80’s most endearing attribute.
As you'd expect of a Swedish-designed car, the 2016 Volvo S80 sedan offers up a straightforward and functional 5-passenger cabin. 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 trunk space.
Unlike some rivals with flavor-of-the-month styling, Volvo’s 2016 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. Surrendering some function to form, those same lines toward the car’s rear create a rather narrow trunk opening. Last year’s optional 18-inch Magni alloy wheels are made standard, giving the S80 a more substantial presence. Otherwise, it's mostly carryover, with elegant highlights like Volvo's signature flowing taillight design.
All 2016 Volvo S80 luxury sedans 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 rearview mirror, heated front seats, power moonroof, 18-inch alloy wheels, 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.
The Climate Package adds a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats and heated windshield and washer nozzles, while the Technology Package includes adaptive cruise control and lane-departure and collision-warning systems. The Inscription package brings Sovereign hide perforated leather seating, leather dash, ventilated front seats and dark walnut wood trim. The Platinum trim adds blind-spot monitoring, power-folding side mirrors, front and rear park assist, a 12-speaker, 650-watt premium audio system and voice-controlled navigation system with a rearview camera plus all the features in the Technology package.
The front-wheel-drive Volvo S80 T5 for 2016 is powered by a Drive-E 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine. Not only does this engine pump out a respectable 240 horsepower, it features technology to raise fuel economy and lower emissions at the same time. An Eco mode shuts it off at stoplights, while a Sport mode improves throttle response. An 8-speed automatic transmission is also part of the equation, with a quick-responding manual mode.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/37 mpg
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on a base 2016 Volvo S80 T5 luxury sedan starts just under $44,500, including the destination charge. If you start checking all the options boxes, you can quickly load your S80 up to more than $53,000. That puts it in line with some tough competition, such as the Acura TL, Lexus ES, Lincoln MKZ, and more expensive than the Hyundai Genesis. On the other hand, it's less than cars like 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.