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Volvo S80 Reviews


The second generation Volvo S80 executive saloon benefits from the addition of the company's clever 'Drive-E' engine technology. Jonathan Crouch reports.

Volvo's second generation S80 has always been a safe, sturdy and dependable choice in the executive saloon segment, but newer rivals had recently left it behind a little. In response, Volvo's has added its impressively efficient 'Drive-E' 2.0-litre D4 diesel engine into the line-up. The result still isn't an obvious choice in this sector but for Executive saloon buyers not obsessed with German badgework, the S80 makes remarkable sense.

Few cars are better equipped to keep a low profile than the Volvo S80. It's just that kind of highly efficient, yet unassuming car that slips in under the radar. The model's problem has been that many buyers choose executive saloons to make an impact and flaunt their status. Still, if you're of the kind that want executive luxury without the turning too many heads, this Volvo might be the answer. The first generation version was very similar in its approach and when it was replaced by this car in 2006, most assumed that Volvo would deliver something more dynamic. In many ways they did, but it isn't immediately obvious. Still, if you find class-leading safety, powerful engines or outstanding economy dull, then that's your loss. The most important news here is the addition of the first of Volvo's new generation of 'Drive-E' engines, the 181bhp 2.0-litre unit you'll find in the D4 variant that's become the default pick of the range.

You won't be expecting this Volvo to handle like a BMW 5 Series - which is just as well because it doesn't, even if you specify the Lowered Sport Chassis, or, even better, the optional Active Four-C adaptive dampers and put them in their sportiest mode. But then, no other executive saloon in the sector handles like a 5 Series either and few of them compensate by being such a relaxing long distance companion as the S80. Those that do are either much more expensive - or they depreciate like a stone. Better to go for the 'Comfort' chassis specification and enjoy this car for what it is. The engine line-up is now diesel-only, the range starting with the 115bhp four cylinder D2, then graduating up to the engine most will want, the 181bhp 2.0-litre D4.Here, you get the tempting combination of 70mpg combined cycle economy with 0-62mph in 8.4s capability en route to 140mph. On that basis, there isn't really much point in stretching to the similarly-performing 215bhp D5 diesel model, but it remains in the range anyway.

The changes made to this improved second generation S80 amount to subtle styling nips and tucks. Otherwise, it's much as before, the boxy shape distinguished by the arched roofline and the rather bluff front grille up front as well as by distinctive shoulders that run all the way back to the tail lights. Inside, well, it's all rather refreshing. Slip behind the wheel and you're treated to an example of Scandinavian design at its very best. The Adaptive Digital Display we first saw in the smaller V40 has been added to allow users to adapt the look of the instrument panel. New to the range is the Sensus Connected Touch infotainment system with its 7-inch centre touchscreen and microphone above the driver to enable voice control. Via this, you can connect to the internet using a mobile 'phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot. This allows you to connect to apps like Spotify. We're not sure that we buy into that completely but there's certainly a nice blend of no-nonsense Scandinavian style thanks to nice touches like the slim 'floating' centre stack (with its smarter 'Silk Metal' frame) in the centre of the dashboard, quality materials for upholsteries and a thoughtful choice of inlays and colour schemes that blend smoothly together. As before, there's comfortable room for five adults and a huge 422-litre boot.

The S80 undercuts leading executive car rivals on price and with the current engine range, you get quite a bit of power for your Pound. Trim levels run from SE NAV to SE LUX and prices start at around the £30,000 mark. New to the range is the Sensus Connected Touch infotainment system with its 7-inch centre touchscreen and microphone above the driver to enable voice control. Via this, you can connect to the internet using a mobile 'phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot. This allows you to connect to apps like Spotify. Equipment levels on all models run to 16" alloy wheels, cruise control, electronic climate control and a punchy stereo package. More important standard features however, are those concerned with the S80's class-leading safety systems. It would take me all day to go into these, so I'll just give you the highlights. Volvo think that there's a great deal more to safety than just dotting airbags around the cabin - though of course, there are plenty of those. That's why a Collision Warning system has been developed for the car, along with a Brake Support set-up. There's also Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), active Bi-Xenon headlights that swivel with the car and a patented body structure developed at the Volvo Safety Centre. There's even a 'Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with full auto brake' system that scans the road ahead for people and cyclists and will brake the car if the driver doesn't respond to warnings in a potential collision situation.

One of the highlight models in the range from the point of view of cost of ownership is the D4 'Drive-E' diesel model: ask for it by name. After all, you can't really argue with limo luxury, 140mph performance, 0-62mph in a shade over eight seconds, 70.6mpg combined fuel economy and 104g/km CO2 emissions. Even the 1.6-litre diesel D2 model can't match this, returning a CO2 figure of 109g/km and up to 68.9mpg on the combined cycle. If you do want to go faster (why - it's not a sports saloon for goodness sake), then the diesel D5 is a decent pick. Fuel consumption isn't too badly affected by the lively performance - official economy is 46.3mpg which is acceptable. Depreciation is always a tricky subject for Volvo and you'll have to accept up-front that the S80 will lose its value more quickly than its key German rivals. Long servicing intervals and lower asking prices help to redress the balance though and overall, the S80 is a competitive proposition on cost grounds.

This has to be the thinking person's executive saloon. No, it's not the most dynamic car to drive and it certainly could be a bit more charismatic. Still, there's little doubt that a lot of thought has gone into the S80, to our eyes still a handsome car with none of the pretension that accompanies some of its rivals. Build quality and safety are obvious strengths but the cabin design will also win the S80 many friends and the latest D4 'Drive-E' diesel engine is first class. If you're looking for a softer, friendlier antidote to all that Germanic slickness, this could be it.

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The Volvo S80 is an executive saloon vehicle just perfect for a business lease to ensure your riding in style and total comfort on those long commutes. It’s also a fantastic choice for a family car rewarding the whole family with elegance with a shed load of entertainment.

Key Volvo S80 Points

So you get a choice of three trims with us SE Nav or SE Lux and engines sizes of D2, D4 and D5. As usual, with every Volvo model you get can have a power shift or a geartronic transmission for your vehicle. A further few key points of this Volvo model are that is can do combined miles per gallon of 68.9 and can work up to 62mph in 12.8 seconds. True, it’s not the fastest of saloon cars but it ranks well for other factors of other cars in its class. As standard with the S80 you get electric windows, rain sensor wipers, luxury floor mats, cruise control, rear park assist, RTI nav with European DVD maps, DAB digital radio with 8 speakers around, Bluetooth and an AUX input, climate control and leather interior for your comfort and eye catching 17” alloy wheels ion the exterior.

Why Lease a Volvo S80

If a nice bit of luxury with quiet refined engines is exactly what you need for your long business trips, as well as the bonus of excellent fuel efficiency then maybe the Volvo S80 is the car for your leasing needs? It will ensure you get exactly what you need for your money’s worth, and as you have just read above you don’t really need to add anything extra onto the vehicle as it comes with an excellent standard kit. I think you’ll agree that this car is anything but standard. Never forget that the Volvo is a Swedish car manufacturer and so guarantees endurance and stamina on any type of road and in any type of weather. It is just perfect for those long haul journeys.

Five reasons to lease a Volvo S80

  • Business executive car
  • Luxurious
  • Low emissions
  • Excellent standard kit
  • Reliable


To summarise, the Volvo S80 is a superb executive car with a spacious, airy cabin and excellent features to keep you comfortable and entertained for that long journey ahead. Go and have a look at our range of engines and trims to match a price suitable for your needs.


As good as we are At All Car Leasing we can’t possibly know everything about the Volvo S80, so for further information on the Volvo S80 why not check out the following resources –

The official Volvo S80 page

The Volvo S80 reviews on Auto Car

Volvo S80 owner’s club.