Used Volvo S80 Saloon 1998-2006 review

Category: Executive car

The Volvo S80 might not have the 'right' badge for the class, but it's still a very impressive car

Volvo S80 Saloon (98-06)
  • Volvo S80 Saloon (98-06)
  • Volvo S80 Saloon (98-06)
Used Volvo S80 Saloon 1998-2006 review
Star rating

What's the used Volvo S80 saloon like?

Few cars make long-distance journeys as relaxing as the Volvo S80. The larger engines are all refined and provide the S80 with decent performance, while wind and road noise are nicely suppressed. With a comfortable chassis, it really does waft you along as the miles fall away.

What the big front-wheel-drive saloon won't do is encourage you to leave the motorway and take the twisty route. The steering is dull and body control poor; even the high-powered T6 doesn't have a chassis sharp enough to do its performance justice.


The Volvo S80 might not have the 'right' badge for the class, but it's still a very impressive car

  • Excellent long-distance cruiser
  • Plenty of space and comfort
  • The handling isn't as sharp as a BMW's
  • Clutch is jerky at low speeds

It's better to sit back, relax and enjoy the big, comfortable, supportive seats. The dashboard may not be the most exciting, but it's logically laid out with plenty of stowage space. Rear passengers have limousine-like levels of leg room and the boot is massive - and bigger still once the rear seats are folded.

Ownership cost

What used Volvo S80 saloon will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Volvo S80 saloon?

If you can set your badge snobbery aside, your money will go an awful lot further on a Volvo S80 than it will on the equivalent BMW 5 Series or Audi A6. You'll end up with a much better-equipped car, too.

The petrol engines can cover 12,000 miles or go for a year before needing a service, while the diesels are on slightly shorter, 10,000-mile intervals, which isn't too bad - especially when you consider that Volvo dealers charge less than their BMW and Audi counterparts for servicing. However, independent Volvo experts tend to be slightly more expensive than those who specialise in used BMWs and Audis.

As long as you stay away from the group 33-rated T6, insurance costs are reasonable, too; diesel engines are particularly good news with just a group 27 rating. The D5's official 44mpg should put a smile on your face, too, but the T6's claimed 25mpg is less appealing.

Our recommendations

Which used Volvo S80 saloon should I buy?

The best engine choice for the Volvo S80 is the D5 five-cylinder turbodiesel. It was introduced in June 2001, but in S trim only, and its good fuel economy and strong, 163bhp performance made it a big hit with customers. A more powerful version was introduced in May 2005.

Don't be put off by the S badge, because even the base S80 is a well equipped car, with climate control, side airbags, anti-lock-brakes, remote central locking, alloy wheels, CD player and an electric sunroof. But, if that's not enough, SE (available from August 2001) provided leather, a trip computer and front foglights.

Other than the D5, you might consder the five-cylinder, 140bhp 2.4-litre petrol, but it can feel overwhelmed when the car is fully laden. The 170bhp version provides more punch.

The early 140bhp 2.5 diesel is okay, but not as good as the D5 which replaced it in 2001. Two versions of the 2.9 V6 petrol are available: one with 200bhp, while the other has 272bhp, but we wouldn't bother with either.

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