Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
You'll Like The 2010 Volvo S80 If...
Buyers who believe that functional luxury and state-of-the-art safety systems outweigh the inherent status appeal of a traditional prestige nameplate can expect to find their transportation and aspirational needs well met by any member of the S80 lineup.
You May Not Like The 2010 Volvo S80 If...
Those seeking a sedan with overtly sporty handling characteristics would be better served by a BMW 5 Series or Infiniti M. If maximum trunk space is a priority, you’d be happier with an Audi A6 or Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
A new PZEV (Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine is offered, touting lower emissions but also 10 less horsepower than the non-PZEV 3.2-liter engine. Subtle visual updates grace the S80’s front end and interior, while the V8-powered model gains speed-sensitive steering, a Dynaudio Surround Sound audio system and Dual Xenon Active Bending headlamps.
The 2010 Volvo S80’s well-appointed cabin reflects a Swedish-modern mentality, with limited flash but lots of function. All versions match leather, wood and brushed aluminum trim with legible analog gauges, well-placed controls and Volvo’s elegant slim-line center stack that houses the audio and climate control switchgear. The S80’s somewhat firm front seats feature eight-way power assist and "ortho-posture" design to provide long-range comfort, while its 60/40 split-folding rear bench has sufficient head and leg room to take on a pair of average-sized adults or a trio of kids, or it can be dropped to reveal a large pass-through opening that significantly increases the cargo-carrying capability over that of the somewhat modestly-scaled 14.9 cubic-foot trunk.
Classically understated but with detail refinements that reflect a new interpretation of traditional Volvo styling cues, the S80 has a lean, well-tailored appearance. Its subtle wedge shape is effectively reinforced by a sweeping roofline and prominent shoulder ridges. A new front grille touts a larger Iron Mark logo and chrome trim accents now adorn the tail lamps, lower front fascia and lower door side moldings. At the rear, the S80’s short deck is framed by large tail lamps and accented with chrome exhaust tips. The standard tire sizes are 225/50R17 on the S80 3.2, while the T6 AWD and V8 AWD ride on 245/40R-18s; alloy wheels are standard on all models.
All three 2010 Volvo S80 variants have a solid and confident handling character, although the emphasis leans more towards ride comfort than sheer agility. The driver-selectable Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DTSC) permits modestly energetic cornering before making its presence known and the all-wheel-drive package on the T6 AWD and V8 AWD does an impressive job of instantly rebalancing the front-to-rear power equation as traction conditions change. While the S80’s naturally-aspirated in-line six-cylinder engine makes the 3.2 fully capable of dealing with daily commutes and cross-country cruises, the engines in both the T6 AWD and V8 AWD make them demonstrably quicker, more responsive and far more engaging.
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on the 2010 Volvo S80 lineup opens at just over $40,000 for the 3.2, nudges $44,000 for the T6 AWD and closes in on $52,000 for the V8 AWD. That puts them in a fairly attractive position, particularly when benchmarked against their prime German competitors from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. However, adding the full range of option packages, Dynaudio premium sound system, navigation and the rear-seat DVD entertainment can bump any of those baseline numbers by nearly $10,000. Given its enthusiastic performance and impressive list of features, the new T6 AWD delivers the most up-front bang for the buck. As a group, the S80 lineup remain slightly lower overall than the anticipated residuals of their various German sedan rivals, as well as such luxury makes as the Acura TL and Lexus GS. The S80 remains on par, however, with such makes as the Cadillac DTS and Jaguar XF.
Highlighting the S80’s standard features are numerous power assists, including eight-way adjustment for the front seats, a tilt and telescopic steering column, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, 160-watt/eight-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with an auxiliary input and MP3 capability, USB/iPod port, Volvo’s anti-whiplash (WHIPS) and side-impact protection (SIPS) systems, Dynamic Traction and Stability Control, anti-lock disc brakes with Electronic Brake Assistance and front, front-side and side-curtain airbags. The T6 and V8 models include all-wheel drive and a power sunroof, while the top-line S80 gets the 650-watt Dynaudio Surround Sound system and the Personal Car Communicator (PCC) with keyless starting that notifies you if the vehicle has been tampered with or if an intruder is inside.
The 2010 Volvo S80’s options start with five key groups: The Climate Package (heated front and rear seats, heated washer nozzles, Rainsensor windshield wipers, Interior Air Quality System and high-pressure headlamp washers); the Technology Package (Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Collision Warning with Auto Brake and Driver Alert Control); the Dynamic Package (18-inch "Fortuna" diamond-cut alloy wheels, sport suspension and Active Bending xenon head lamps); the Multimedia Package (Dynaudio Surround Sound system with SIRIUS Satellite Radio, DVD navigation and rear audio jacks with volume control) and the Executive Package (massaging and ventilated front seats, full leather seating and 18-inch "Balius" alloy wheels). Single options include Personal Car Communicator with Keyless Drive, dual-screen rear-seat DVD entertainment system, front and rear Park Assist, Blind Spot Information System and a rear seat refrigerator.
3.0-liter Turbocharged EnginePairing impressive output with a fat, flat torque curve, Volvo’s turbocharged six is a brilliant piece of work that literally rivals the V8 for enthusiastic real-world performance and establishes the new T6 AWD as the most desirable member of the S80 line. Executive PackageFinding amenities that transform a luxury sedan into a mini-limo is uncommon in this price range, as is the optional rear seat refrigerator.
Under the Hood
The S80 engine lineup includes three distinct choices for 2010. Anchoring the mix, the front-drive 3.2 model has a naturally-aspirated 3.2-liter in-line six-cylinder that makes 235 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The S80 T6 AWD uses a 3.0-liter turbocharged variation that develops 281 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, while the S80 V8 AWD’s 4.4-liter packs a 311-horsepower punch and makes 325 pound-feet of torque. All three engines are backed by an electronically controlled six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission with a manual-style Sportshift mode. Although the 3.2 marginally bests the T6 AWD and V8 AWD in formal EPA mileage ratings and offers performance that is more than capable of merely keeping up with traffic, it cannot match the two more powerful models in acceleration.3.2-liter in-line 6235 horsepower @ 6200 rpm236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/273.0-liter in-line 6 turbocharged281 horsepower @ 5600 rpm295 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1500-4800 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 (AWD)4.4-liter V8311 horsepower @ 5950 rpm325 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3950 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 (AWD)
Despite relatively modest overall production numbers, Volvo has mounted an ambitious program to raise its profile among the world’s premium automakers. The S80 typifies the scope of that ongoing effort. The flagship of Volvo’s sedan fleet embodies a Swedish approach to style, creature comforts and leading-edge safety features while offering multiple powertrain configurations and solid value pricing. The 2010 lineup includes the front-drive S80 3.2, the turbocharged S80 T6 AWD and the S80 V8 AWD. While the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class are the S80’s closest rivals, potential buyers also might consider up-line mid-size sedans like the Acura TL, Lincoln MKS, Cadillac STS, Jaguar XF and Lexus GS series.