2015 Volvo S80 Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection Expert Review

Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
May 14, 2015

The 2015 Volvo S80 puts safety and comfort first, making it one of the most family-friendly full-size luxury sedans.

Stately yet curvaceous, the 2015 Volvo S80 is the brand’s flagship sedan, updated for 2015 with a host of changes to the interior, drivetrain, and more.

The exterior of the 2015 S80 remains largely unchanged, though a new wider chrome trim molding on the trunk lid adds some shine to the S80 T5 Drive-E model, which also gets new optional 18-inch “Magni” alloy wheels, and a new Bright Silver Metallic color option. The S80 T6 AWD gets the trunk chrome, wheels, and exterior paint, too, plus a new available Inscription package that adds dark walnut wood inlays to the cabin.

Still distinctively Volvo from the exterior, especially the front, the S80’s rakish, slick lines are far more current than the brand’s boxy heritage, but beside the even sleeker S60, the S80 begins to betray its age. Inside, the story is one of daring and cool Swedish simplicity. Contrasting materials, a “floated” center stack housing the climate controls and high-end audio system interface—it all combines to form an impression of refined, curated elegance.

Features abound in the S80, with all of the offerings you’d expect for comfort, convenience, and entertainment, but it’s safety where the S80 really shines. With the optional Technology Package, the S80 offers both radar- and camera-based safety systems, such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake, Distance Alert, and Lane Departure Warning System. Last year, the Road Sign Information system was also included, as well as rain-sensor wipers and headlight washers. The standard Personal Car Communicator key fob system can even remotely report on the S80’s security status, and is even capable of detecting an intruder in the vehicle.

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New to the S80 range for 2015 is the S80 T5 Drive-E, which pairs a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine with front-wheel drive, an eight-speed automatic transmission, start/stop technology, and an ECO+ driving mode that offers ECO-coast and ECO-Climate functions. Rated at 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, the T5 Drive-E’s power output isn’t far off the larger turbocharged six-cylinder in the S80 T6.

The S80 T6’s 300-horsepower, 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder is more performance oriented than the economy-focused T5 Drive-E, however, and is capable of moving the large S80 quickly. That said, the S80 is still a hefty sedan, and despite its rapid acceleration, it feels most at home on the highway. The previously offered base T6 six-cylinder with front-wheel drive is no longer offered for 2015, replaced by the T5 Drive-E.

Sitting inside the 2015 Volvo S80, one of the most immediately noticeable things is the comfort of the seats: they’re simply amazing. No matter your height or size, the S80’s front seats are just about the pinnacle of automotive comfort. The rear seats are nice, too, easily fitting adults thanks to intelligently contoured backs. Smaller passengers can even fit three across in the rear. Throughout the cabin, the leather upholstery feels rich and durable, while real wood finishes, metallic accents, and tasteful contrasting color schemes combine to make a unique but decidedly luxurious experience.

Despite the plush seats, the ride quality of the 2015 Volvo S80 is firm, and perhaps firmer than some would expect. That firmness turns into a stable, solid feeling out on the highway where the S80 is most at home, however, completely avoiding the rolling, floating feel of some other full-size luxury sedans.

At the pump, the new S80 T5 Drive-E is a refreshingly light drinker for a full-size luxury sedan, rating 25 mpg city, 37 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined in EPA testing. The S80 T6’s more powerful engine and all-wheel drive result in 19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined EPA ratings.

The S80 hasn't been tested recently by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has given the 2015 Volvo S80 a Top Safety Pick+ (TSP Plus) designation, scoring top marks in all test categories and “superior” in front crash prevention, based on standard safety equipment.

The 2015 Volvo S80 starts at $40,500 plus $925 in destination fees for the S80 T5 Drive-E Premier model, and ranges up to a base price of $48,150 plus destination for the S80 T6 AWD Platinum.

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