REVIEW DATE: 23 Nov 2007
Looking for an affordably priced, diesel-powered Executive car? Here's one you have to try. Jonathan Crouch checks out Volvo's S80 2.0D
Want a prestigiously-badged diesel-powered Executive saloon on a £25,000 budget? Many business buyers do. For that kind of money, they can forget BMW or Mercedes alternatives. Only Audi and Volvo can help, the former with the rather dull A6 2.0 TDI and the latter with the S80 2.0D we're looking at here.
Normally, Audi tends to win its head-to-head battles with Volvo but in this case, it's the more modern S80 that comes across as the more appealing product. It helps that the £23,995 asking price gives it a £1,500 advantage over the German car, money you can useful put towards the extra equipment items you may not need since the Swedish model is actually better equipped.
The S80's 2.0-litre diesel develops 136PS but it's the 320Nm torque figure that's more significant. It gives this car enough pulling power to negate the need for many to pay more for either the 163 or 185bhp diesel S80 models. A CO2 emissions figure of 151g/km is also impressive - and 8g/km better than the comparable Audi. Your Fleet Manager will want to know that it sits in VED band D and return 46.9mpg on the Combined cycle, which if you're interested is 5% better than the A6.
And the S80 itself? Well I think the Swedish company have played their cards rather smartly in slotting it in considerably cheaper than its equivalent German rivals. Given the fact that it's a newer, more technically advanced product, it's not hard to see why Volvo are so bullish.
Most will see this vehicle as a facelift instead of the all-new car it actually is. They'll spot the reassuringly familiar proportions, the solid, dependable Volvo design cues and the emphasis on safety and assume that all is pretty much as before. No amount of free beer or consumer durables is going to change this perception. Their loss. For those who are either easily attracted by my cheap attention seeking or who are a little more curious about this latest big Volvo, there's plenty worth looking at.
"The S80 D5 must walk a tightrope between the mainstream and the true premium brands. That doesn't give it a whole lot of scope for expression"
Let's start with that styling. It's only when you get the old S80 next to the latest generation car that you'll see quite how far it has evolved. Yes, many of the primary design cues are still much the same. The car retains the distinctive shoulders that run all the way back to the tail lights that look like a piece of ornate marquetry. The roofline is still arched in an almost coupe-like manner and there's still a rather bluff grille up front. Where the biggest changes have been made is in the vehicle's stance and its fine detailing. Compared to the latest model, the old car looks notably less athletic. It seems to ride higher and the front and rear overhangs are longer. Break out the tape measure and you'll realise that the current S80 is exactly the same length as its predecessor, significantly longer in the wheelbase, and a smidgeon wider and higher.
The interior pursues a different set of design goals than many of the S80's direct rivals. It's refreshing that a premium manufacturer has the nous to go its own way in terms of design and the S80's 'Scandinavian Luxury' take differs from the increasingly prevalent Teutonic themes offered by the majority of the other premium brands. Volvo claim their 'design language' radiates a simpler, more stylish and modern feel by combining aesthetics and technology in a more inviting and intelligent way. The interior design offers a blend of no-nonsense Scandinavian style with a slim 'floating' centre stack, quality materials for upholsteries and a choice of inlays and colour schemes that blend smoothly together. As ever, Volvo is highly committed to providing safety leadership in its class.
Safety technology for the S80 includes a unique Personal Car Communicator (PCC) and new active safety systems - Collision Warning and Brake Support - with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), active Bi-Xenon headlights and a patented body structure developed at the Volvo Safety Centre. The S80 includes an optional key fob offering 'keyless drive' and incorporating a world first innovation - the Personal Car Communicator (PCC). This features intelligent technology to remotely check if the car is locked or not, then alert you if the alarm has been activated, and a heartbeat sensor which warns if there is anyone in the car.
Another interesting technology is the Collision Warning system which alerts the driver, via a 'heads-up' warning display on the windscreen and an audible buzzer, if the gap to the car in front closes so fast that a collision is likely. Meanwhile, the Brake Support system boosts the braking force to ensure braking is as effective as possible. The active Bi-Xenon headlights turn the beam of the headlights in the direction the steering wheel is being turned, allowing better visibility deeper into corners at night and also helping to highlight the immediate verge where a pedestrian, cyclist or parked vehicle could be obscured.
In an age when executive car makers are falling over themselves to produce diesels developing 200bhp-plus, the S80 2.0D is a car that strikes a welcome note of pragmatism. The fact that it's thousands less than a comparable Mercedes E-Class or BMW 5 Series and less even than an equivalent Audi A6, yet as a product is just as good, makes this Swede an alternative you shouldn't ignore.
The results below show the top S80 deals on buyacar
|Volvo S80 D4  SE Lux 4dr Geartronic diesel saloon|
|Price £26,265||Save £8,690|
|Volvo S80 D4  SE Lux 4dr diesel saloon|
|Price £24,951||Save £8,519|
|Volvo S80 D4  SE Nav 4dr Geartronic diesel saloon|
|Price £24,937||Save £8,518|
|Volvo S80 D5  Executive 4dr Geartronic diesel saloon|
|Price £29,886||Save £9,139|
|Volvo S80 D5  SE Lux 4dr Geartronic diesel saloon|
|Price £27,674||Save £8,851|
|VIEW MORE DISCOUNT S80 DEALS|
|OVERALL||7.4 OUT OF 10|
|Space / Versatility||7|
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