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2007 Volvo S80 Road Test

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Judging this car strictly by its cover, its easy to believe that there’s not a lot new about the redesigned 2007 Volvo S80 luxury sedan.

The styling update is so conservative that a side-by-side comparison is necessary to differentiate the new from the old.

But, as they say, looks can be deceiving. This is a Volvo with attitude.

, 2007 Volvo S80 Road Test

Category: $40,000 to $50,000 Front-Wheel (or All-Wheel) Drive Luxury Sedan
should buy
this car:
A person looking for a luxury car with safety, comfort and style
cars in
this class:
Acura RL, Audi A6, Cadillac DTS, Lexus GS350

, 2007 Volvo S80 Road TestThat’s because its available with a 4.4-liter powerplant that produces 311 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. Supplied by Yamaha and first used in the heavy Volvo XC90 sport-utility vehicle, it can push you back in your seat as you rip from a stop to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds. Along the way, you’ll even detect a snappy snarl instead of the soulful sigh that has been more typical of Volvo’s five-cylinder engines.

It handles fairly well, too, thanks to an adjustable independent suspension. Press a button on the instrument panel and you change the settings from Comfort to Sport or even to Advanced. Then, grab the handle of the six-speed automatic transmission, slip it into manual mode and take over the shifting chores.

When the back roads beckon, you’ll also appreciate the responsive, speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering, the meaty anti-lock disc brakes and the all-wheel-drive system that is standard on V-8 models.

But, just because this Volvo can play a little harder than many of the other relatives in its garage, don’t get the idea that the Swedish subsidiary of Ford is straying away from its conservative, safety-based heritage.

At heart, this Volvo, like all the others, is a solidly built automobile that likes nothing more than to protect its occupants. It is also happier coolly cruising the interstates than it is working up a sweat on some challenging mountain switchbacks.

, 2007 Volvo S80 Road TestThat’s because nothing has really altered its basic DNA. Like its predecessor, it is a front-heavy, front-wheel-drive sedan that gets an assist from the rear wheels mostly to help out in bad weather.

The stiffer suspension settings can firm up the ride and straighten up some curves, but they wont put the Volvo in the winners circle at the local gymkhana. To me, the mid-range sport setting offered the best ride/handling compromise, so that’s where I left it.

And, knowing more than a few Volvo fans in my time, I’m willing to wager that a large percentage of buyers actually will choose an S80 powered by Volvo’s standard engine, an all-new, 3.2-liter, 235-horsepower, in-line six-cylinder powerplant.

This sedan does not come with all-wheel drive, but it does come with two of its own special features. At a base price of $38,705, it is about $9,000 cheaper than the S80 V-8. And with an EPA rating of 19 miles per gallon of gasoline in the city and 28 on the highway, it will still be on the move when the V-8 (17 mpg city/25 highway) runs out of fuel.

So, lets take a look at what makes all the Volvophiles really care about – passenger protection.

Dual-stage airbags for front-seat passengers, stability control, traction control, collapsible steering wheel and pedals, side impact beams, inflatable side curtains, tire pressure monitors, whiplash protection they are all standard equipment on every new S80. And, there’s more.

The front body structure has been divided into zones and uses four different grades of steel to better absorb impacts and channel collision forces away from the passengers.

, 2007 Volvo S80 Road TestNew side airbags have two chambers -one for the hips, one for the chest to enhance the effectiveness of Volvo’s side-impact protection system.

Rear impact protection has been enhanced to further reduce whiplash injuries.

The hood has been raised and the front of the car contains energy absorbing features, both to lessen the severity of injuries should the Volvo strike a pedestrian.

And then there are the extra-cost safety features.

A blind-side warning system ($595) uses cameras to detect when another vehicle is entering the drivers blind spot on either side of the car and then triggers a warning light that is flashed onto the inside of the appropriate front pillar.

Bi-xenon headlights (part of a $2,495 package) will swivel 15 degrees to help the driver see around curves at night and they have a self-adjusting feature to avoid blinding oncoming drivers.

Adaptive cruise control ($1,495) slows the Volvo to the speed of the vehicle in front, then brings the S80 back to the set cruising speed when the road ahead is clear.

To improve personal security, a pocket-size Personal Communicator ($495) can communicate with the car to tell the approaching driver if it is locked or unlocked, if the alarm is activated and if someone is in the car.

Of course, the Volvo flagship is not short on creature comforts, either. The S80 has sumptuous leather upholstery, real wood trim, room for up to five and a long list of available convenience features that approach or match the level of luxury in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series and Audi A6 sedans the Volvo is meant to compete with.

Base price of the S80 V-8 is $47,350. But if you want Volvo’s newfound power, it will probably carry a price that is more like the one on the car I drove. The bottom line was $56,075.

Yes, its a Volvo like all the others safe, solid and substantial. But now you can add another s: snappy.

, 2007 Volvo S80 Road Test

Standard Equipment
(partial list)

  • 3.2 liter 235 horsepower inline 6 cylinder engine
  • 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Four-wheel anti-lock brakes
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • 17 inch alloy wheels with225/50R17 V all-season tires
  • Power glass sunroof
  • Dual front side-mounted airbags
  • Front and rear head airbags
  • Front and rear head restraint whiplash protection system
  • Tire pressure monitoring
  • Front fog/driving lights
  • Leather upholstery
  • 8-way power front seats
  • Memory seat for driver
  • Fold flat front passenger seat
  • 4 one-touch power windows
  • Remote power door locks
  • Heatedpower mirrors
  • Cruise control
  • Tilt and telescopic steering wheel
  • Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel
  • Universal remote transmitter for garage door
  • Dual zone climate controls
  • Interior air filtration
  • AM/FM in-dash 6 CD player with CD MP3 Playback stereo with 8 speakers
  • On-call plus telecommunications service

V8 models also include:
(partial list)

  • 4.4 liter 311 horsepower V8 engine
  • All-wheel drive
  • Mechanical center differential
  • 17 inch alloy wheels with245/45R17 V all-season tires
  • Interior active charcoal air filter

Major Available Options

  • Sport package Includes: 18inch alloy wheels with 245/40WR18 performance tires, ventilated front seats with perforated leather seating surfaces, Active bi-Xenon headlights and speed-sensitive power steering. Four-C chassis with Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept with electronically controlled hydraulic shock absorbers and driver selectable Comfort, Sport, and Advanced settings.
  • GPS hard drive-based navigation system
  • Headrest mounted DVD based rear entertainment system
  • Adaptive Cruise Control w/Collision Warning and Brake Support
  • 18 inch chrome wheels
  • Dolby ProLogic II sound system with 650-watt amplifier and 12 Dynaudio speakers, and Sirius satellite radio
  • Blind Spot Information System
  • Front And Rear Park Assist
  • Personal Car Communicator (PCC) includes keyless entry and start, Two-way remote communication, and heartbeat sensor to tell you if anyone is hiding in the car

For more information on the S80, visit Volvocars.com.


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