Volvo has been known in the automotive industry for years for its superior safety standards and for offering luxury vehicles with all the options one could hope for at the high end of affordable for most consumers. The Swedish manufacturer’s S80 model ranks as among the most reliable among its line of mid-range sedans. This is both a blessing and a curse for Volvo. They began making the car in 1998, and it is currently in its second generation, which was launched in 2006.
The Volvo S80 continues to hold its position as the flagship vehicle of the Volvo line. Every successive year sees more features added to the host of already available features. It has a lot to offer, but those offerings do come with a price.
On the plus side, it is extremely drivable and comfortable, and it offers an interior that is unmatched in terms of usability. Everything on the interior is designed well and easily accessible by the driver, and there is a large amount of interior space for both driver and passengers. The safety specs for this vehicle are notably outstanding, as is to be expected from Volvo. It has ranked high in front, rear, and side impact crash tests. All airbags are included standard, and the car also includes head, side, body, and front airbags. The only potential downside is the fact that the car is a little low to ground, which has earned it a below-average ranking for pedestrian safety, but features such as a blind spot sensor more than make up for the few downsides.
However, the reliability and safety specs come with a price, as the car is not that attractive and has been criticized for its conservative appearance. When you buy a Volvo S80, you don’t buy it for its style. Its conservative appearance is matched by the feel you get when you drive the car. It isn’t as sporty or zippy as some luxury models like the Audi A6, though the host of features that are available, the impressive engine, and the well-engineered shock system and sound barrier make for a smooth ride. Overall, it is an incredibly comfortable, well-engineered car that can do a lot of things that other vehicles in this luxury spot cannot do.
There are a lot of engine options for the Volvo S80. First-generation models started with the 2.4L 5-cylinder engine that offered 125kW of power and 285Nm of torque. That was followed up by a 2.9L 6-cylinder engine with 144kW of power and 280Nm of torque. A 2.4L turbocharged engine came next, with 155kW of power and an impressive 320Nm of torque, and this model would see the introduction of four-wheel drive to the line. A model that ran on diesel was put on the market in 2001, with a turbocharged D5 engine that produced 120kW of power and 340Nm of torque.
With the second generation came even more powerful engines, and options for fuel economy. The most impressive of the second-generation engines is the V8 that was developed using 4 catalytic converters and advanced electronics, which pushed the power to 232kW and the torque to a whopping 440Nm. That push means the car drives beautifully, being able to get up and go with the sportiest of luxury models even if the drive itself is a bit too smooth to be all that fun.
There is a lot of kit that comes with the Volvo S80. The most notable variety is in the safety equipment that comes with these cars. Standard with the Volvo S80 are powered mirrors, doors, and windows; air-conditioning and climate control; keyless entry; MP3 decoder; the full scope of headlights, fog lights, dash controls and indicators; and the full range of safety features, from brake assist to traction control and electronic stability.
There is an option for four-wheel drive in both the first and second generations. The only trim available is the sedan, though there are the multiple choices in engine, each with additional kit such as moonroof, an integrated satnav system, and luxury interior features such as leather upholstery.
It’s difficult to pick a competitor for the Volvo S80 just because it outranks so many other models in the same luxury range when it comes to safety, but for a ride that feels a little bit sportier and that has a little bit more style, the Audi A6 comes in pretty close. The Audi A6 is available in both petrol and diesel models, and it is available both as a sedan and a wagon. The standard 2.7L twin-turbo V6 engine has 184kW of power and 350Nm of torque, while the 4.2L twin-turbo V8 engine pulls an impressive 339kW of power and 550Nm of torque. The primary difference between these two vehicles is what you’re getting for your money. Both are incredibly reliable, so the determining factor is whether you’re more inclined to go for the impressive safety features offered by the Volvo S80 or the powerful engines that come with the Audi A6.