Full 2010 Volvo S80 Review
What's New for 2010
The 2010 Volvo S80's options have been revised, including a few new features and a reorganization of packages. Notably, the Sport package has been broken up into stand-alone options for the V8 model, while its sport-tuned suspension is available on the T6 as part of the new Dynamic package. All S80s get a revised front grille, chrome trim accents and dual exhaust tips, while the base model gets snazzier interior trim.
Though Volvo has made big strides in the past few years to rid itself of its stodgy image, the 2010 Volvo S80 reminds us what we used to expect from the Swedish automaker: safe and comfortable but a little dull to look at and drive. As Volvo's flagship sedan, the S80 packs all the luxury and technology features the company has to offer, but it lacks the sophistication and premium feel of other midsize luxury sedans. Often, it can seem like a really nice Volvo rather than a premium vehicle that strives for something greater.
Of course, being a really nice Volvo isn't necessarily all that bad. Boasting a dizzying array of cutting-edge safety technologies, the S80's primary purpose is to make its passengers feel protected from the vagaries of chance. The S80 seems to have been purpose-built for the obsessively safety-minded consumer. If there were a "Peace of Mind" award in the midsize luxury sedan segment, this Volvo would win it, hands down.
For the luxury sedan shopper, it really comes down to what you want. Traditional models like the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Lexus GS 430 boast higher-quality cabins, better handling, more power and increased levels of prestige. But they also cost considerably more. Acura's RL and Hyundai's new Genesis, meanwhile, are the S80's closest competitors. All are worth checking out. But if ensuring the safety of your occupants while coddling them in an attractively styled cabin is your top priority, the 2010 Volvo S80 should suit you well.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Volvo S80 is available in 3.2, T6 AWD and V8 AWD trim levels. The 3.2 comes standard with 17-inch wheels, eight-way power front seats, driver memory functions, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, leather upholstery dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker stereo with a six-CD changer, auxiliary audio jack, iPod/USB audio interface and HD radio. To this the T6 AWD adds a more powerful engine, 18-inch wheels, all-wheel drive and a sunroof (optional on 3.2).
The Climate package available on the 3.2 and T6 includes heated front and rear seats, heated windshield washer nozzles and automatic wipers. The Multimedia package includes a DVD-based navigation system and a 12-speaker Dynaudio surround-sound system with satellite radio and rear seat headphone jacks and controls. The Executive package adds different 18-inch wheels, upgraded leather upholstery, wood trim and massaging and ventilated front seats. You can also get a Dynamic package for the T6 that includes different 18-inch wheels, adaptive bi-xenon headlights and a sport-tuned suspension with load-leveling dampers.
The S80 V8 AWD has the Multimedia and Executive packages as standard, while adding bi-xenon headlights, heated front seats and the Personal Car Communicator keyless ignition/entry system with interior heartbeat sensor to warn of attackers lurking in your parked car's backseat. Its Climate package includes the heated rear seats and heated windshield-washer nozzles. Optional only on the V8 AWD are a rear seat entertainment system, speed-sensitive power steering and the sport-tuned suspension as a stand-alone item.
The Technology package available on all S80s adds adaptive cruise control, collision warning alert, distance alert, driver fatigue alert and lane departure warning. Stand-alone options include the Personal Car Communicator, a rear seat refrigerator (includes two crystal glasses!) and a blind-spot warning system.
Powertrains and Performance
The front-wheel-drive 2010 Volvo S80 3.2 is powered by a 3.2-liter inline-6 that produces 235 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The all-wheel-drive S80 T6 has a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 producing 281 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The all-wheel-drive S80 V8 features a 4.4-liter V8 that boasts 311 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. All versions of the S80 come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission.
In performance testing, we've clocked the S80 V8 at 5.9 seconds from zero to 60 mph, while the T6 required 6.6 seconds. Fuel economy is 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined for the 3.2, 16/24/19 for the T6 and 15/22/18 for the V8.
The 2010 Volvo S80 comes standard with antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags featuring separate chambers for chest and hip protection, side curtain airbags, anti-whiplash front head restraints and seatbelt pre-tensioners in all five positions. In crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Volvo S80 earned the top rating of "Good" for both frontal-offset and side collision protection. In braking testing, the last S80 V8 we tested came to a stop from 60 mph in 118 feet, which is an above-average result for this class.
Additional safety features are available such as a blind-spot monitor as well as the Technology package that adds adaptive cruise control, collision warning with "Auto Brake" (which reduces brake reaction time by snugging the brake pads up against the brake discs), a driver fatigue warning (monitors a variety of factors including the driver's face to determine whether he or she is dozing off) and lane-departure warning.
Interior Design and Special Features
The S80's interior layout features Volvo's trademark "floating panel" center stack, a slim control panel suspended between the center console and the dashboard. The styling is clean but a bit dull compared to the similar designs found in Volvo's S40 and XC60. The controls are generally intuitive, but the available navigation system has a quirky interface that's controlled with either two buttons and a joystick mounted behind the steering wheel spoke or a handheld remote control. It can be irksome to use.
The front seats are typical Volvo -- supportive enough to impress a chiropractor and comfortable for miles on end. However, the Volvo S80's cabin doesn't feel quite as upscale as some competitors', and its build quality similarly falls a bit short. On the bright side, the rear seat offers ample room for two adults, and the rear seatback folds down to increase cargo capacity, as does the front passenger seat. The S80's trunk capacity stands at 14.9 cubic feet.
The 2010 Volvo S80 3.2 provides adequate power for most situations, though it sounds a bit coarse. We'd recommend opting for the T6 or V8, as the 3.2 just doesn't have the premium character we expect in a midsize luxury sedan. The T6 offers snappy turbocharged thrust, while the V8 is impressively smooth and powerful. The S80's ride is appropriately supple and isolated, but handling is rather ponderous unless you opt for the sport-tuned suspension.