Volvo S80

Model Overview

For shoppers looking for a used luxury sedan, the Volvo S80 is something of an alternative choice. Through two generations, Volvo's largest sedan spurned outright luxury and performance in favor of cutting-edge safety features and in-cabin technology. And in a class dominated by rear-wheel-drive sedans, Volvo continued to tout the virtues of front-wheel drive and offered all-wheel drive as an option.

Used Volvo S80 Models
The second-generation Volvo S80 was produced for the 2007-2016 model years. Although it didn't change drastically in size or appearance compared to the first-generation model, this newer S80 gained new engines and safety and luxury features.

The second-generation S80 received a dizzying number of changes over its 10-year production run. The 2007 S80 was offered in 3.2 and V8 models; the former had a 235-hp six-cylinder engine driving the front wheels, and the latter a 4.4-liter V8 that delivered 311 hp to all four wheels. An optional Sport package included Volvo's sport-tuned Four-C adaptive suspension, speed-sensitive power steering and ventilated front seats. A new S80 T6 model debuted the following year with a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder that provided 281 hp.

Bluetooth and xenon headlamps were added for 2009, and a mild face-lift took place for 2010. For 2011, Volvo discontinued the V8 and changed the name of the S80 3.2 to T5. Its engine gained a 5-hp increase to 240 hp, while the T6 picked up 19 hp for an even 300.

The S80 remained relatively unchanged until 2014, when it received styling updates inside and out, a driver-configurable instrument panel, and new package features. For 2015, the T5 model got a new engine, swapping its 3.2-liter six for a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivered the same 240 hp but with better fuel economy. Volvo made a few content changes, and then added more standard and optional equipment mid-year. These cars were considered 2015.5 models. For 2016, the S80's final year, the T6 model was dropped, and the T5 was divided into two models called Premier and Platinum.

Though feature offerings changed quite a bit throughout the second-gen Volvo S80's production run, all were generally well-equipped, with leather, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, and a comprehensive sound system as standard equipment. Most options were grouped into packages, allowing even base model S80s to be lavishly equipped.

Though safety was a strong point for the S80, interior and driving dynamics were not. Despite the comfortable front seats, the S80's interior was showing its age toward the end of the model run. Power and fuel economy from the non-turbocharged six in 3.2 and early T5 models were not great, though the four-cylinder T5 sold in '15 and '16 did get very good gas mileage considering the S80's size. T6 and V8 models were quick, if thirsty. We liked the S80's smooth, compliant ride, but in terms of handling, it was a real snoozer. The overly light steering felt vague and slow to respond, and though the handling options offered on T6 and V8 models improved things a bit, the S80 fell behind when compared to its more athletic European rivals.

Volvo sold the first-generation S80 from 1999 to 2006. This car was similar in dimensions and focus to the second-generation car, and it heralded a new styling direction for Volvo's sedans with curvy body lines that were a dramatic break from the company's boxy cars of the '80s and '90s. Even today, the original S80 has a Scandinavian coolness that keeps it from looking dated. However, significant concerns about reliability have driven down its resale value — good for bargain hunters, but not so much for owners.

Volvo offered the first-generation S80 with three different engines, two of them turbocharged. The most interesting was the T6, a twin-turbo inline six-cylinder rated for 268 horsepower. (Initially, the T6 displaced 2.8 liters; in 2002, Volvo enlarged it to 2.9 liters with no change in output.) Volvo said the S80 T6 made the dash from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. But even with a standard four-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels, the car felt quicker than that. Serious torque steer was the major knock against the T6 model. Volvo discontinued it after 2005.

From 1999 to 2004, a non-turbocharged 2.9-liter inline six-cylinder good for 197 hp motivated the base Volvo S80. It, too, was available only with a four-speed automatic and only with front-wheel drive. In 2004, a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder known as the 2.5T joined the lineup. Rated for 208 hp, it offered significantly more torque than the 2.9-liter and engaged the services of a more sophisticated five-speed automatic transmission. The 2.5T was the only engine that could be had with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. And in '06, it was the only engine you could get on the S80.

Acceleration was modest with either of the lesser engines, but otherwise the driving experience was agreeable in the S80, with a comfortable ride and sure-footed handling. Those seeking added control should look for an S80 with the Four-C adaptive suspension, which was offered as an option on 2004 and later models. Dual-zone automatic climate control, a CD audio system and a telescoping steering wheel were standard throughout the run. Options ran the gamut in the first-gen Volvo S80. In addition to expected items such as a navigation system (DVD-based from '02 onward), a high-quality Dolby sound system and xenon headlamps ('02 and up), Volvo offered a rear-seat refrigerator, a dual-screen entertainment system and even a fax machine ('01 only) in certain high-line T6 models, which were called Executive, Elite or Premier depending on the model year.

Still, the best reason to consider buying a used Volvo S80 is its high level of safety. It earned five stars in all government-administered front- and side-impact crash tests, as well as a Good rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Additionally, a full menu of side airbags and dynamic front head restraints were standard throughout its eight-year run. The one feature to pay attention to is stability control: It was standard on T6 models but optional on all other S80s.

Volvo S80 Consumer Reviews By Year:
2016 Volvo S80

NEW FOR 2016

Volvo drops the S80's T6 six-cylinder engine and all-wheel-drive model. Otherwise, the 2016 Volvo S80 is a carryover from the 2015 model year.

PRO

Comfortable ride and seats.

CON

All-wheel drive or an engine upgrade aren't available.

5 Total User Reviews

Average Rating

By alfred stambler on December 18 @ 1:09 pm
great car

By J Hopper on October 30 @ 9:52 am
Just What I Wanted!
I transitioned from a 2015 Volvo XC60 to this 2016 Volvo S80 Sedan and I'm so glad I did. Almost the same engine as the XC60 (except no supercharger - just the turbocharger) - but the S80 seems lighter and faster. I really enjoy the quiet cabin and the way the controls are laid out. There is a smallish-7 inch screen in the center of the dash for Navigation which is good - not distracting, just helpful. The Bluetooth works great - the stereo sounds wonderful. Nice, smooth drive and although others have said this is a 'boring car' - I find it just a pleasure to drive. No drama - just a well thought out, luxury car. And - at least 10-15K less expensive than a comparable BMW or MBZ. The best 5 star crash safety ratings too! The only 'minor' issue is that I know these cars lose value quickly - which makes them an absolute STEAL of a used car. I plan to keep this car for at least 5 years so no worries about that for me.

By SF on January 31 @ 1:19 pm
Great car...Would not hesitate buying another one!
After getting in a pretty bad accident in my 2013 S-80 (where it was totaled) there was no question that I was going to buy another S-80. Couldn't believe how that car protected me during the accident but then again it is a Volvo. Although I thought I would really miss not having the T6 AWD engine, I feel the T5 is actually quicker with the turbo. In addition to the inscription I also have the technology package which is incredible. I was able to get one of the last 2016 models my dealer had and since the S90's were out was able to get it for below the Edmunds TMV. There is nothing I dislike about this car. As a side, would strongly recommend that you consider the overseas delivery if you have the time. I have done it several times in the past and would have done it again had it not been for the fact that I needed a car right away. It is fun, very easy and a great experience.

By Maxwell on July 13 @ 12:53 am
Great Highway Cruiser
I bought this car used as a certified vehicle from a Volvo dealer. I am a heavy interstate highway traveler and I put approximately 40,000 miles per year on a car. I have owned Chevrolet, Acura, BMW, VW, Ford, Honda, Toyota, and Lexus vehicles over the past 20 years and have used all in the course of my business. I was attracted to the 2016 Volvo S80 due to its extensive safety features, however, I can honestly say that it is the best highway car I have ever owned. Specifically, it tracks down the road like it is on rails, it has the most comfortable front seat I have ever sat in (still comfortable after a all day 8-hour drive), and it gets good gas mileage (about 35 to 26 miles per gallon when traveling on the interstate at 65 to 75 mph). The adaptive cruise control and blind spot warning systems are also extremely useful highway features for me. The adaptive dual xenon headlights are the best I have every experienced for nighttime driving. To say that I am pleased with this car would be a gross understatement and I would highly recommend it.

By Jim Monteleone on December 20 @ 9:06 am
Miss my Subaru
I scratched the side of my 16 subaru legacy 3.6 R , I almost got an s 60 when i bought the legacy. i went back to volvo since the repair on the legacy to be done properly needed a door and quarter panel, it didn,t look too bad with touch up paint. The volvo dealer had an s80 program car with 11k on it and a CPO warranty for 89k and up to 6 yrs that they wanted to sell. They gave me a good value on the trade and the s80 was discounted heavily. The suby had a good ride, but a little too much road noise. The volvo has less road noise and a little less body roll in turns. I miss the all wheel drive and the eyesight system of the Suby. We haven,t any snow so I can,t compare, but the Suby was great in bad weather. The volvo is only front wheel drive. The volvo does have comfortable seats. I averaged 24 with the suby 6, so far i,m only gettin 25 in the s80 in mixed driving. Maybe I need to give this more time , I,ll update in 6 months.

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