Reviews

2011 Volvo S80 Walk Around

The Volvo S80 is a handsome sedan with distinctive styling, though it's getting a bit long in the tooth. The S80 shares the semi-fastback profile of the smaller Volvo S60.

The S80 is comparable in size to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Cadillac CTS, and Lexus GS.

Wheels on the S80 3.2 are a 17-inch design Volvo calls Cassini, with a bright-finish, nine-spoke pattern; they are available for the T6, also. The T6 comes with 18-inch wheels in a pattern called Balius. The 18-inch Fortuna Diamond Cut, optional for the S80 3.2, has seven spokes with machined surfaces at the tips.

Interior

The sumptuous surroundings in the S80 are amplified by the wonderfully comfortable seats and the generous front and rear legroom that helps to put the S80 squarely in the luxury class. The seats are available plain, heated, or heated and cooled. For 2011, new Toscana Tan/Off Black and Espresso Brown/Soft Beige interior colors are available with the Inscription Package.

The instruments in the S80 are mounted in the traditional Volvo trapezoidal binnacle, and Volvo's watch dial instrument faces are standard on all S80 models. The freestanding center stack that connects the dashboard to the console is a key design element. The switches, controls and instruments follow traditional Volvo themes, but everything is contemporary, including the tachometer and speedometer, more classic and less industrial than in previous designs. A menu system tailors the seats, rearview mirrors, climate control, audio, navigation.

The navigation system pops up out of the dashtop, either by using the steering-wheel-mounted controls on the right rear of the wheel or the provided remote control, which stores in the console. We found the steering wheel controls fussy and hard to use, but owners will figure them out quickly.

The 160-watt, eight-speaker sound system will play MP3 files and has an auxiliary input for iPods and other players. Sirius Satellite Radio is standard. A USB port is provided. Also available is a five-channel, 12-speaker Dolby Pro Logic II surround-sound system developed with Dynaudio.

The Personal Car Communicator is an electronic key fob that can lock or unlock the S80 from distances up to 110 yards, and can tell you what state the locks are in. It can activate the alarm, and can sense the presence of a human heartbeat inside the car.

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