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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For Well finished; comfortable; later version is more efficient

Against Numb steering; compromised ride; some wind- and road noise

Verdict Classy and elegant, but lacks the polish of some rivals

Go for… 2.0D/1.6D DRIVe SE

Avoid… Petrol models

Volvo S80 Saloon
  • 1. The S80 has the size and style to go up against the likes of the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • 2. The S80’s engine line-up has evolved over time, but you’ll need a good reason look at anything other than a diesel
  • 3. There was a four-wheel-drive version of the higher-powered 2.4-litre diesel available, but it hasn't got the ground clearance of a true off-roader
  • 4. The entry-level ES comes with all the essentials, including alloys, electric windows and climate control, but the SE adds leather upholstery and an upgraded stereo
  • 5. The S80 has been hit with a huge number of recalls, so contact a franchised dealer to make sure all relevant work has been carried out.
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Volvo S80 Saloon full review with expert trade views

The S80 has the size and style to go up against the likes of the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

The cabin is classy, solidly built, and will seat four in comfort. However, it’s not as generous as those of rivals such as the BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E-Class. At 422-litres, the boot isn't a class-leader, but the 60/40 split folding rear seats mean larger loads can be accommodated. Wind- and road noise are noticeable only at higher speeds, but the diesel engines are loud when pushed hard.

The Volvo’s firm suspension can be jittery on poor surfaces and thud over potholes. Still, it makes the car composed and reasonably agile at higher speed. The light steering is good for town driving, but feels increasingly numb the faster you go.

Trade view

The 1.6D DRIVe is the green king of the S80 range, at 62.8mpg and 119g/km of CO2.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The S80’s engine line-up has evolved over time, but you’ll need a good reason look at anything other than a diesel. Petrol models are extremely rare, and don’t have the overall appeal of the diesels. In 2009, the S80 underwent a face-lift, with a new grille, extra chrome trim and revised cabin design.

Originally, two 2.4-litre diesel engines were available: one with 160bhp and one with 182bhp. Both were given more power in 2009 – the first to 173bhp and the second to 202bhp.

Towards the end of 2007, a 134bhp 2.0-litre diesel was launched, and proved popular with company car drivers. It’s surprisingly capable despite its lower-power output. In early 2009, the 1.6D DRIVe was launched. With only 108bhp it sounds weedy but, in reality, is acceptable and very economical. It was replaced in 2010 by the D3, a new 161bhp five-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel.

There was a four-wheel-drive version of the higher-powered 2.4-litre diesel available, but it hasn't got the ground clearance of a true off-roader.

The entry-level ES comes with all the essentials, including alloys, electric windows and climate control, but the SE adds leather upholstery and an upgraded stereo. The Sport editions include an adaptive chassis system, but we don’t think it’s worth much extra.

Trade view

It’s not quite on a par with the BMW 5 Series, but the S80 is a sophisticated and well-equipped executive saloon.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The newer cars are more environmentally friendly and cheaper to run, with the short-lived 1.6D DRIVe the most-efficient at 62.8mpg and 119g/km of CO2. In comparison, the original 2.0-litre diesel manages 49.6mpg and emits 151g/km, while both the older 2.4-litre engines deliver around 44mpg and emit 169g/km of CO2.

Servicing costs should be reasonable, thanks to intervals of two years/18,000 miles on many models, and the Volvo has also proved durable to date, so repair bills shouldn’t be too frightening. The S80 is generally cheaper to insure than rivals, sitting in a lower group than both the Audi A6 and BMW 5 series.

Trade view

The 1.6D DRIVe is the green king of the S80 range, at 62.8mpg and 119g/km of CO2.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

There are some known issues with the S80.

The front tyres can wear at a greater rate than expected and phantom electrical issues can cause multiple warning lights on the dash, without any problems actually existing.

The timing belts, pulleys and tensioners on the diesel engines all need work around 60,000 miles or four years, so check when the work was previously carried out.

The S80 has been hit with a huge number of recalls, so contact a franchised dealer to make sure all relevant work has been carried out.

Trade view

It’s not quite on a par with the BMW 5 Series, but the S80 is a sophisticated and well-equipped executive saloon.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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