2012 Volvo S80 Review
The 2012 Volvo S80 receives praise for its high-tech safety features, comfortable interior and low price, but lacks the performance of other luxury large cars.
The 2012 Volvo S80 flies under the radar when compared with many of its more-luxurious competitors. Historically, Volvos had a conservative, sober design, and although the 2012 S80 is more curvaceous than its ancestors, it still lacks the bold exterior styling of sedans like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Jaguar XF. Inside, the Volvo S80 is comfortable and upscale, but it doesn’t offer the opulence that some luxury car shoppers may want. And, while many rivals have a performance edge, the 2012 Volvo S80 has other priorities.
So, what’s the draw to the 2012 Volvo S80? Safety and price. Shoppers can choose high-tech safety options that can help prevent accidents caused by driver fatigue and distraction. The Volvo S80 was also named a Top Safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2011, and since the 2012 model shares the same design, those good safety ratings will likely carry over.
The 2012 Volvo S80 also costs thousands less than the competition does. If you prioritize value and safety over athleticism and luxury, the S80 might be exactly what you’re looking for. However, if you’re willing to pay more, and want a luxury large car that offers the complete package of safety, performance and opulence, you can probably cross the S80 off your list.
Other Cars to Consider
Shoppers interested in a luxury large car that also offers optional all-wheel drive and a history of strong safety ratings should consider the 2012 Infiniti M. Unlike the S80, the M has a performance edge thanks to its powerful V6 and optional V8 engines, as well as nimble driving dynamics. Although it does cost more than the S80, the Infiniti is still fairly affordable by luxury car standards.
If you’re drawn to the S80’s low price tag, it may pay to expand your search beyond direct competitors. The Buick LaCrosse will save you thousands when compared with the Volvo S80, and reviewers say that if you load the LaCrosse with options, you can turn it into a near-luxury car. The LaCrosse also carries a longer powertrain warranty and performs well in crash tests. The Buick LaCrosse, Volvo S80 and Infiniti M were all named Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2011.
Volvo S80: The Details
For 2012, Volvo has updated the S80 with its new Sensus infotainment system, which controls audio, Bluetooth and navigation functions (if equipped). Additionally, Volvo’s City Safety system is now standard equipment, which can automatically apply the brakes at low speed to help avoid a collision.
Two trims are available: the front-wheel drive S80 3.2 and the more-powerful S80 T6, which comes with all-wheel drive.
- "This Volvo can't match the brand cachet, sportiness, or pure luxury of the best in this class. ... The 3.2 model trails rivals for power and isn't offered with all-wheel drive. Despite an occasionally unsettled ride, T6 versions are more in-line with luxury buyers' expectations." -- Consumer Guide
- "Make no mistake, this flagship sedan boasts all the latest high-tech luxury and safety features expected in this class. But the S80 just doesn't have the sophisticated character of its rivals among luxury sedans." -- Edmunds
- "Touting ‘Scandinavian luxury’ as its defining attribute, Volvo's flagship sedan combines traditional Volvo lines with high-tech safety features typical of the brand." -- Cars.com