Vehicle Type: Luxury Sedan

History/Description: Volvo’s top-dog S80 was available in its most recent generation to us Canadians from model year 2007 to present day, with numerous updates and facelifts applied to keep things fresh. Designed and engineered with a Swedish eye for practicality, sensibility, elegant luxury and safety, prime purchase considerations for Volvo’s biggest sedan included comfort, confidence, peace of mind and a top-of-the-line driving experience that flew under the radar.

Depending on the year and model in question, feature content included automatic climate control, push-button start, a sunroof, the most comfortable seats you’ll visit in the course of your day, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, active cruise control, a Dynaudio stereo system, xenon headlights with washers, and a plethora of airbags and electronic traction and stability aids.
Build quality, comfort levels, noise levels and trim materials were all fitting of a range-topping luxury sedan.

Engines / Trim: Look for the S80 with a range of engines, including Volvo’s 3.2 litre straight-six, a turbocharged straight-six, or a gorgeous 4.4L Yamaha-built V8 in earlier models. Front or all-wheel drive was available and all units got an automatic transmission.

What Owners Like: Owner reviews typically see S80 owners raving about extreme comfort, a hearty feel of safety and security, a fantastic and tranquil highway drive, plenty of space, and good fuel mileage, even from the V8 engine.  The premium stereo system and high-intensity xenon headlamps are also highly rated, as is confidence when travelling in winter weather in models with the AWD system. Many S80 owners report their desire to purchase another one, some day.

What Owners Dislike: Complaints are minimal, and tend to centre around a fussy and clumsy navigation system, and a lack of North American friendly cup holder sizes. Many owners wonder if the Swedes drink coffee while they drive.

Here are some owner reviews on

The Test Drive: As the S80 is a top-dog car packed with numerous high-tech implements and complicated systems, plan on test-driving used candidates when you’ve got an hour or more to spend examining both the entire range of included features, and the way the vehicle drives.

Run through all electronic systems first, confirming that the memory seats, adaptive lamps, climate control, keyless start system, stereo, and anything else that runs on electricity is working properly. Plot a course with the navigation system, and pair your Bluetooth phone and call your grandmother.

Note that a bad Infotainment Control Module can cause a slew of sporadic problems with the on-screen display, stereo, steering-wheel controls and other functions related to the infotainment system.

Try the parking assist system a few times too, confirming proper operation and checking for any warning messages of system non-functionality. If any issues are noted, a faulty wiring harness may be to blame. This will likely cause a ‘Service Parking Assist’ message to pop up in the instrument cluster.

Confirm proper operation of the air conditioner, as some owners have reported premature system failure, possibly caused by a bad bearing on the AC compressor, or a refrigerant leak. Here’s some more reading. And speaking of keeping cool, rare but notable reports of cooling system leaks and overheating caused by failed fan modules were made in some online discussions, so be on the lookout.

Connect with