For 2013, Volvo’s range-topping S80 sedan
is back with the same conservative-but-timeless styling it wore last year. Critics will point out that the S80 isn’t nearly as fresh or trendy in its exterior design as its smaller brother, the S60, but that’s the whole point. Volvo’s premier sedan is aimed at those that enjoy comfort, luxury and the latest safety features, but aren’t out to impress friends and neighbors.
Nowhere is this philosophy more evident than on the S80’s interior. The leather is equal parts supple and durable, the instruments are contemporary and the dash uses Volvo’s “floating” center stack design for both style and functionality. Wood veneers are used throughout, blended with brushed metal trim for a uniquely Scandinavian take on luxury that is anything but pretentious.
One interior element that really shines is the S80’s front seats. In a word, they’re superb, contoured to fit a surprisingly wide array of body shapes and sizes, and make the S80 a solid choice for those whose preferred vacations involve racking up highway miles. Even the rear seats aren’t bad, but two adults will be far more comfortable than three in the S80’s second row.
Under the hood, buyers opting for front-wheel-drive S80 models get a normally-aspirated, 3.2-liter in-line six, good for 240 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. Those needing an all-wheel-drive S80 get a turbocharged 3.0-liter in-line six, rated at 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. Neither is enough to turn the S80 into a sport sedan, but the front-wheel-drive models do feel a bit more nimble than the AWD versions.
On the road, the S80 returns a firm but comfortable ride that should prove agreeable to all but the most coddled luxury buyers. The steering is a bit vague, but we don’t expect sport-sedan precision in a car whose primary mission is hauling the family in safety and comfort to visit distant states.
As you’d expect from Volvo’s flagship, its primary selling point is safety. The 2012 Volvo S80 was an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and we expect the same for the 2013 model. Buyers can add options like Volvo’s Technology Package, which includes such advanced safety features as Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake, Adaptive Cruise Control, Distance Alert and a Lane Departure Warning system. For 2013, the package even includes a Road Sign Information System, which alerts drivers to upcoming road hazards and delays in advance.
All 2013 Volvo S80 models now come with rain-sensing wipers and headlight washers, and all get Volvos’s unique Personal Car Communicator. This system can remotely update you on the security status of your vehicle, and is sensitive enough to detect an intruder’s heartbeat inside your S80.
For a comprehensive look at the 2013 Volvo S80 sedan, see our complete review on The Car Connection