When it comes to Volvo sedans, none is roomier, more well equipped or more focused on occupant safety than the company’s range-topping S80
. Last restyled in 2007, the current S80 soldiers on with a conservative-but-timeless design both outside and in.
While the S80 may not share the sexy good looks of its S60 stablemate (which was, in fairness, redesigned for the 2011 model year), there’s still a lot to like about the full-size Scandinavian sedan. Inside, buyers get brushed metal trim, real wood veneers and supple leather, making the S80 outshine some of its more expensive luxury rivals.
If you’re used to German or Japanese luxury-car interiors, the S80’s cabin may look a bit stark at first, but that’s keeping with typically understated Scandinavian design. It won’t take long to adapt to the S80’s front seats, however, and we find them to be among the best in the industry for all-day-long comfort.
Under the hood, buyers can choose between a 3.2-liter in-line six that sends 240 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels, or a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that sends 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels.
Even with the larger engine, however, the Volvo S80
doesn’t provide a lot of entertainment value for the driver. Blame that on the S80’s slightly numb steering, or its sheer size and mass. Volvo’s flagship sedan may not be our first choice for driving canyon roads, but its compliant ride and superb seating soak up highway miles with ease.
As you’d expect from a contemporary luxury sedan, the S80’s suspension is tuned for comfort, but never feels too soft. The cabin is quiet even at highway speeds, and front seats can be equipped with heat and ventilation for year-round comfort. Rear seats are large enough for two adults (three in a pinch), and passengers get B-pillar HVAC vents.
One of Volvo’s best selling points has always been safety, and the S80 sedan
won’t disappoint here. Volvo’s City-Safety obstacle alert system comes standard on all S80 models, and opting for the Technology Package gets you systems like Full Auto Brake, Adaptive Cruise Control, Distance Alert and a Lane Departure Warning system.
For the ultimate in personal safety, the S80 is still available with Volvo’s Personal Car Communicator feature, which can detect the heartbeat of an intruder inside your S80, giving you advance notice of such potential danger.
For a comprehensive look at the 2012 Volvo S80 sedan, see our complete review on The Car Connection