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Volvo S80 D-5 (Old)

9th Dec 2009 8:00 am

The base line is this


  • Make : Volvo
  • Model : S80

Volvo’s design language is conservative. Compare any boxy Volvo from the ‘80s or ‘90s to the new S80, and you will realize that the move up in design is big by Volvo standards. There are no radical ‘Bangle’ lines on the S80. It’s a mature design meant to appeal and last a little longer than forever – it’s elegant, clean and simple. The emphasis is more on solid, safe engineering rather than design flair or performance. It still has the characteristic robust and square-shouldered stance that characterizes the brand. The prominent bonnet ‘V’ and the chunky rear section all spell Volvo.

Volvo S80 uses fully independent suspension sending drives to the front wheels. It sports a transversely-mounted straight six and Volvo has mounted all of its motors in this manner as it is apparently safer during a crash. Trust Volvo to do what’s safest. S80 uses ESP or stability control and aluminium suspension bits with radar-guided cruise control. It has an India-spec suspension which is a combination of reworked dampers and increased ride heights as part of rough road packages. ABS, eight airbags, emergency brake assist, emergency brake light flashing, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control and whiplash protection system are standard for all S80s.

S80 comes with Volvo’s Personal Car Communicator (PCC) system which means you simply walk into the car with the key in your pocket, push the engine start button and you are off.

Step inside the S80 and everything feels well-built, with all the switches working with a nice tactile feel. It doesn’t feel plush, but you notice that the seats are fantastically supportive and comfortable – maybe even more than those in the E-class.

You also notice that the steering has a huge range of adjustment and that the dials are very clear. There is one button too many on the centre console, but the main dials for the audio and air conditioner are within easy reach. There are about 15 buttons more than one would ask for on the unique ‘floating’ centre console, and this makes finding the right button on the move a bit tricky. Four large rotary knobs control the audio system and the air con, so these are easy to operate on the move.

It’s a very elegant cabin – black leather, brushed aluminium and chrome. The simple dials with the floating needle are probably some of the clearest and easiest to read ever.
What the S80 has by the bucketload is comfort, very high levels of it. The front seats are soft and hugely comfortable and this is true of the rear seats as well, which have the feel of an oversized sofa.

The S80’s cabin is functional. Classy? Yes. Understated? A bit too much for its own good though. Beautiful? Not really.

Every bit of the S80 feels like it is designed to make the occupants feel comfortable and safe. Like the driver’s seat, it’s fantastic. The cushion is perfectly firm, there’s good support and the eight-way power-adjust seat means finding a comfortable driving position is easy. The steering heel has a huge tilt and telescopic adjust range, so that’s not a problem either. The slim A-pillars improve visibility and, despite the black interiors the car feels quite spacious and airy.

Body movements are very well controlled and the suspension simply pummels uneven surfaces into submission – silently. Only the sharpest of bumps elicits a thud from the suspension. The S80 comes with Volvo’s Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept (four-C) suspension system. It has three modes to play with – Comfort, Sport and Advanced. The Comfort mode irons out the occasional road irregularity, the Sport mode stiffens the dampers, while Advanced mode stiffens them even further for those max-attack driving days.

Volvo’s four-C suspension system interacts with the stability control, engine, brakes and steering to interrupt any hooligan tendencies you might have; so it can be quite a killjoy, especially when feel like having a little fun behind the wheel. The steering too is light, but is speed-sensitive, so weighs up as speeds increase, but not enough. It is very direct and accurate though.

Volvo S80 D-5 (Old)
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