Volvo S80 2006-2016 review

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The S80 has appeal for drivers who spend their days on the motorway

Curves help to disguise the S80’s bulk well. It looks elegant too

City Safety is available optionally, and reduces the severity of low-speed, rear-end shunts

The S80 oozes understated elegance, but lacks flair

The rear of the S80 shares few common design elements with the V70 estate

Nice change for a relaxed executive car to bin the wood and get scuffed ally

The S80 has some of the clearest, simplest dials in the business

Nice to see a saloon car whose seats can be split/folded to increase load space

Small capacity petrol and diesel units work surprisingly well in the S80, which is best suited to cruising

The ride is absorbant around town, and composed at speed

The S80 represents a left-field choice in the exec car market. It’s particularly appealing for business drivers

Close by Matt Saunders 22 February 2012 Follow @TheDarkStormy1 Share

How we test cars

Sometimes, different is enough. There are those who want an executive car but don’t want a BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 or Mercedes-Benz E-Class. So they opt for a Volvo S80 (now Volvo S90), a Jaguar XF, or a Lexus GS. Sometimes those cars are excellent, sometimes they’re not. But they are different.

The old Volvo S80 was good enough, in its own way. Its cabin was airy, spacious and light – almost Ikea-like – and offered just about the highest levels of comfort in the business. If you wanted dynamism, though, you’d be disappointed.

What the S80 lacks in dynamics, it more than makes up for with comfortMatt SaundersRoad test editor

Evidently Volvo was happy with the image the original S80 purveyed, because it kept this generation looking very similar. Peter Horbury was behind the designs of both cars, as well as the Volvo ECC concept of 1992, the styling of which the S80 continues to draw heavily from.

Volvo reckons the dimensions give the big saloon a more imposing stance and greater presence. See old and new S80s side by side and you almost believe it’s true. And this is a neatly designed, attractive car. But alone, the new S80 barely registers the interest of passers-by. When Volvo created the Volvo S90, it was a big departure from the understated, demure look of the S80 for a more elegant and striking looking saloon and estate.

It’s necessary to view the Volvo S80 with a sense of proportion. This car is never going to be an Autocar driver’s favourite. But it could make a case for business drivers who rarely leave the motorway because they need to get where they are going.

Advertisement Back to top Verdict

The S80 has appeal for drivers who spend their days on the motorway

Model tested: Rating: 8

Volvo S80 2006-2016

GoodDriving positionSupple ride Fine interiorBadSluggish gearboxLifeless steeringAnonymous looks

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