Used 2001 Volvo S80 Review

With its distinctive styling, luxurious interior and excellent reputation for safety, the often-overlooked S80 deserves consideration.

what's new

Volvo has added a new trim level, the luxurious S80 T6 Executive. Additional standard content for all trim levels comes in the form of leather seating, a luggage holder, remote retractable rear head restraints, memory position mirrors and Homelink. The 2.9 gets new 16-inch wheels and an auto-dimming rearview mirror as standard. All S80s get dual-stage airbags. The available Security Package for the S80 2.9 and T6 will now include the Interior Air Quality System (IAQS) which keeps the passenger cabin free from odors and pollutants.

vehicle overview

Are you looking to buy a well-appointed luxury sedan with enough horsepower to humble most of today's sporty coupes? Volvo's flagship sedan, the S80, might just be your car.

Volvo offers the S80 in three trim levels -- the S80 2.9, the S80 T6 and the S80 T6 Executive. The S80 2.9 is equipped with a 2.9-liter inline six-cylinder engine. It generates a respectable 197 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 207 foot-pounds of torque at 4,200 rpm. For the T6 models, Volvo takes the 2.9's engine and bolts on two small turbochargers. Even with slightly less displacement (2.8 liters), the T6's engine belts out 268 horsepower at 5,400 rpm and a tree stump-pulling 280 foot-pounds of torque at 2,000 rpm.

As you might expect, the T6's acceleration is very impressive, but the front-wheel-drive layout often conspires to create a lot of torque steer when the throttle is mashed to the carpet. Both engines are mated to four-speed automatic transmissions. The S80 T6 also provides a Geartronic feature, allowing for manual shifting if the driver desires.

The S80 does handle adequately for a front-drive car. A MacPherson strut suspension handles duties up front, while a fully independent multi-link setup keeps the rear planted. Front and rear antiroll bars help the S80 maintain a flat attitude in corners. The suspension's limits quickly become apparent in the T6, however. A dynamic stability control system is optional.

Comfort is a Volvo hallmark, and the S80 boasts one of the better interiors we've encountered. The rear seat is exceptionally roomy, and there are heating and air conditioning vents in the B-pillar to keep the rear passengers at the perfect temperature. Making their return for 2001 are remote retractable rear head restraints for all S80s.

If that still isn't good enough, order the T6 Executive. New for 2001, this model adds 2 more inches of legroom by pushing the rear seat farther back into the rear deck and by removing the folding seat mechanism. It also features wider rear door openings, heated rear seats, extra padding in the rear seat and bottom cushion, a multi-functional rear center armrest/console, an electric rear window sun shade, a small refrigerator, and a DVD player connected to a video screen mounted in the rear console.

Control layout is decent, though deciphering some of the markings will require the assistance of the owner's manual. An astounding Dolby Pro Logic sound system is offered as optional equipment, as is a CD-based navigation system. As with all Volvo cars, safety is paramount, with whiplash-reducing front seats and extensive side-impact collision protection.

There is little wrong with the S80. This isn't the car to get if you are looking for a driver's car, a styling pacesetter, or a value leader. But as a luxury car with cutting-edge safety and technology, the S80 is unmatched.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.