2013 Volvo S80 Expert Review

Editor's Overview

The 2013 Volvo S80 may not have the cachet of a Lexus GS, Audi A6 or BMW 5 Series, but it merits consideration among these premium brands nonetheless. Volvo's largest sedan isn't known for the most modern styling or thrilling performance, but rather the safety pedigree and understated elegance long associated with the Swedish marque.

You'll Like The 2013 Volvo S80 If...

If comfort, safety and versatility are more important to you than image and style, check out the 2013 Volvo S80. Opt for the turbocharged, all-wheel-drive T6 version, and you'll also get sparkling performance in what appears to be a mild-mannered sedan.

You May Not Like The 2013 Volvo S80 If...

If a prestigious luxury nameplate, blazing performance or the latest techno wizardry matter more to you, check out the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series or Acura TL.

What's New

For 2013, the Volvo S80 gets only minor upgrades to its equipment, including rain-sensing wipers and keyless entry and starting. The Premier Plus trim package now includes active dual-xenon headlights, and the Technology Package has Road Sign Information, which detects important approaching signs and displays them on the driver-information monitor.

Interior Features

As you'd expect of a Swedish-designed car, the 2013 Volvo S80's 5-passenger cabin is straightforward and functional. To direct ventilation to your head or torso, for instance, press the corresponding area on the human-shaped controls. Audio and navigation functions benefit from a high-resolution 7-inch color display. Leather covers the seats, steering wheel and gearshift knob, and can also be had on the dash and armrests. The front bucket seats are ultra-supportive and feature 8-way power for both driver and passenger. The rear seats fold down to increase cargo space, which is good as trunk space is rather tight.

Exterior Features

The 2013 Volvo S80 isn't exactly an exercise in trend-setting design, but it's still a handsome car and one that may stand the test of time better than more edgy rivals. It has a graceful, sweeping roofline, and its strong shoulders, angular hood and twin tailpipes suggest some athleticism. Volvo's signature flowing taillights continue to make a statement of elegance. Base models ride on 17-inch wheels, and turbocharged versions get 18-inch alloy wheels.

Driving Impressions

The S80 offers two distinct experiences depending upon which engine is under the hood. Cars with the base 3.2-liter 6-cylinder emphasize comfort over performance, while those with the more powerful 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder have a lot more steam without sacrificing civility. The Volvo S80 feels confident and capable enough with either powerplant, but the difference in spirit and response between the two is significant. Those seeking an even more sporting experience in the all-wheel-drive T6 version of the S80 can opt for the Dynamic Package, which lowers the ride height and features firmer springs and anti-roll bars. But be advised – the sharper performance comes at a cost in comfort as the ride is considerably stiffer.

Pricing Notes

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on a base 2013 Volvo S80 3.2 is $39,845. The turbocharged, all-wheel-drive T6 version adds $4,000 to that price. A fully-loaded S80 T6 can top $56,000. At these prices, the 2013 Volvo S80 starts above the Acura TL, Lexus ES, Lincoln MKZ and Buick LaCrosse, and under the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Cadillac CTS. Be sure to check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are actually paying for the Volvo S80. Over several years, the S80 is not expected to retain its value as well as the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 or Acura TL.

Notable Equipment

All 2013 Volvo S80 models are equipped with the City Safety automatic braking feature, leather seating, walnut wood inlays, a 7-inch color display, dual-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rain-sensing windshield wipers, Bluetooth, and a pollen filter. The standard audio system puts out 160 watts through eight speakers and includes an AM/FM/CD/HD Radio receiver with iPod, USB and auxiliary inputs.

Notable Options

Two step-up trims are available on both S80 models: Premier Plus includes front and rear park assist and a built-in Homelink garage door opener, while Platinum adds a 12-speaker, 650-watt premium audio system and voice-controlled navigation system with a rear-view camera. Additional option packages on all S80s are the Climate Package with heated front and rear seats, and the Technology Package that includes adaptive cruise control and lane-departure and collision warning systems. In addition, the T6 AWD model offers a Dynamic package for a more sporting ride, and the Inscription Package adds loads of fine leather and a wood steering wheel.

Favorite Features

At city-street speeds, if the system senses impending contact with a vehicle or other object, and the driver does not apply the brakes, the car will stop itself. While it's best for drivers to not be distracted in the first place, the City Safety system really can help.

Combining impressive maximum output with a fat, flat torque curve, the 2013 S80 T6 AWD's turbocharged engine puts out nearly as much power as the V8 offered a couple of years ago.

Under the Hood

Volvo S80 models are powered solely by inline 6-cylinder engines. The base offering is a normally-aspirated 3.2-liter that produces 240 horsepower and is available only with front-wheel-drive. It is adequate to move this mid-size sedan, but hardly inspiring. Drivers who relish more excitement behind the wheel or simply want the security of effortless acceleration will prefer the turbocharged 3.0-liter six that makes a stout 300 horsepower and an even more impressive 325 lb-ft of torque. The turbo engine is paired with all-wheel drive, which offers superior grip on slippery surfaces. Both engines are connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission that can be manually shifted if desired. A Sport mode is added to the transmission this year. Both engines can run on less-expensive regular unleaded gasoline. And here's another surprise: The S80 is rated to tow up to 3,300 pounds.

3.2-liter inline-6
240 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 3,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 mpg

3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
300 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,100-4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg

Editors' Notes

The 2013 Volvo S80 may not have the cachet of a Lexus GS, Audi A6 or BMW 5 Series, but it merits consideration among these premium brands nonetheless. Volvo's largest sedan isn't known for the most daring styling or thrilling performance. Instead, it brings a pedigree of safety and understated elegance, qualities long associated with the Swedish marque. The S80 offers a choice of normally aspirated or turbocharged 6-cylinder engines, front-drive or all-wheel drive (AWD), and a luxurious, functional interior that's among the most comfortable in its class. And for those who need to tow, the S80 is rated to pull up to 3,300 pounds, more than some small SUVs.

Road Test Video Reviews

  • 2013 Volvo S80 - Sedan | New Car Review | AutoTrader
  • 2013 Volvo S80 - Drive Time Review with Steve Hammes | TestDriveNow
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Owner Reviews


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Owner reviews are verified by our team and cannot be altered or removed.

2013 Volvo s80 - pleased with purchase.

Overall very pleased with this car. Drives smooth and does not let in much noise. Owned this car for 5 years and have only had to do routine maintenance. Only regret I have is not getting back up camera and navigation. Blindspot assist and parking sensors are very helpful features.

- Andrew C