The Volvo S80 is a solid car. There is no denying it from the first sight to the first touch, and the first time you drive it – the Volvo S80 stays true to its legendary attributes of “solid and safe”. Whether it is as exciting to drive in comparison with its European counterparts – or why, its younger sibling, the S60 – opinions could vary. What is not a matter of opinion is the large dose of comfort the S80 offers and at a fairly lower price point than its large-size sedan rivals.

At once, the S80 lives up to its new age design and old world image of safe, comfortable and - ahem – sedate Volvo!

 The Drive

240hp is a sizeable amount of power. And it is balanced with a steady torque that makes for smooth acceleration, although I wouldn’t call it pulse quickening. (But I suspect the Volvo S80 driver would perhaps stay cool even if he went whitewater rafting!)

The turbo-charged engine has a good mid – high rpm torque range, which has a lot of merit during overtaking and quick escapes. It handled my impatience with a bit of wheel spin that got corrected within no time. The S80 has an ably stabilizing ESP system that keeps a grip on things, even when the car can’t handle the surge of torque on glossy roads. But for those few seconds, I could clearly feel it as the car groped with the power, suddenly made available to its 18” wheels. The brakes and the ABS too, are pretty well equipped to bring the car to a quick stop in a straight line.

2.0 L Four–cylinder direct injection turbo / 240 hp at 5500 rpm / 320 Nm at 1800-5000 rpm, 6-speed Powershift AT, 0-100: 9 sec, Fuel efficiency: 7.45 km/L Safety: ABS with EBA, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), City Safety, Dynamic Stability Traction Control

The BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) is mounted onto the bottom of the A-pillar rather than the Mercedes way of a blinking dot on the rear view mirror itself. Rather convenient coz the warning is more visible even while keeping an eye on the road.

The Design

The S80 had not yet made it to my “something to take up a second job for” list, unlike its smaller sibling. The S80 used to come across as a boring, executive’s car, poles apart from the virtues of fun, sporty, stunning and such frills of contemporary carriages – something my Dad would appreciate as a part of his retirement package.

Pricing: At AED 174,900, the Volvo S80 costs many thousands less than comparable German brands or the Japanese upper strata.

Times have changed. The S80 has lent itself to driving smarter and has taken a few cues from the stylish S60, finally! As is the current trend, the executive has been whipped at its workout and has moved beyond the cardios. It shows in the impressive muscles it has put on around the ribs, shoulder front and rear flanks – though not quite enough to rival its sportier sibling. The shoulder line is part of the new age Volvo, slightly flared and smoothly joining the rear lamp mounting. The conservative spirit of the brand is still celebrated in the S80, unlike the more avant-garde design of the S60, as the solid rear lights with the muscular curve will highlight. The fender too is sharply cut and solidly moulded just as the front-grille is more straight and square with a wider look.

Bluetooth hands-free, Electronic Climate Control with Air Quality System, Heated front seats, Rear window sun-curtain, Cruise control, 17” alloys, Active Bi-Xenon lights with headlamp washers, Front and rear park assist, sunroof, power seats with memory (driverside), 12 speaker surround sound

Cabin and controls

If you have something light, loose and metallic around the AC vents (as I had) it would sound like a tin can rolling in an empty alley – that is how exceptionally silent the cabin is!

The aluminium paneling featured on the dash and door sides has the new Volvo curve, and flaunts a multidimensional effect – which perhaps could be out of sync with the car’s serious persona – but taken alone, is interesting. Despite a classy texture to it, the dashboard is not as soft as it looks and together with the door handles, reeks of Chinese “value” amidst the promise of Scandinavian luxury.

The console unit, unlike in the S60 or XC60, has shed its driver oriented angle. But though straight facing, the typical Volvo design of keeping the console control like a panel fitted on to the front of the dash and leaving space between them is a convenient way to reach out without stretching.

The BLIS is certainly a blessing. But the bane is that I couldn’t count on it entirely as its function or dysfunction depends a lot on surrounding parameters – I prefer the blind-spot segment in my own sedan’s side mirrors that leaves judgment to what my eyes see and my mind selects.

Family Drive

Going by safety parameters, the Volvo S80 is one of the top choices. Inflatable Curtain Airbags, Side Impact airbags and Whiplash protection make it a reassuring cage to be in during a collision. Taking about collisions, the standard “City Safety System” prevents or softens crash-impact by automatically applying brakes in front of an impediment, when driving below 40 kmph.

Despite large legroom and creamy leather seats, lumbar support at the back is reserved for the taller passengers. ISOFIX seats are easily locked-in and make it a child-safe and parent-friendly car.

The boot-space is rather good but for the fact that it is a bit low roofed and the mouth of the cave is a bit narrow, making it hard for larger cargo to enter straight!

The essential S80

The Volvo S80 commands respect and looks solid and muscular, in a dignified sort of way. When you compare the price with the comfort quotient, it will not hang its head in shame for what it offers!

UPSIDE: Power available, Safety features, Exceptionally silent cabin, Extra-value comparative pricing

FLIPSIDE: Handling not as enjoyable as an S60, Dated design of interiors, sober exteriors, occasional feeling of cheap material

Drive Courtesy: Al Futtaim Motors/ Volvo Middle East
Picture Courtesy: Sudeep Koshy/Stock

2012 Volvo S 80 review: Safe and sober was last modified: December 27th, 2016 by Sudeep Koshy

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