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. 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 - the same as the TDIe version of the more expensive Audi. Your Fleet Manager will want to know that it sits in VED band D and return 46.9mpg on the Combined cycle. 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 - and have recently given this car a more distinctive look First impressions are deceiving with this car. It's only when you get the Mk1 S80 next to the current generation model that you'll see quite how far it has evolved. OK, so many of the primary design cues are still much the same - the distinctive shoulders that run all the way back to the tail lights, the arched roofline and the rather bluff front grille up front. Look beyond them though and you can see some significant changes to the vehicle's stance and its fine detailing. The old S80 was a bit of a frumpy thing. This one has smartened up nicely and the most recent models feature a more distinctive front featuring a larger badge, plus extra chrome detailing on the air intakes, the lower part of the doors and under the tail lamps.
"The S80 2.0D is a car that strikes a welcome note of pragmatism "
Inside, well, it's all rather refreshing. Instead of trying to copy their German rivals, Volvo have gone their own way. The Swedes claim that their `design language' radiates a simpler, more stylish and modern feel by combining aesthetics and technology in a more inviting and intelligent way. I'm not sure that I buy into that completely but there's certainly a nice blend of no-nonsense Scandinavian style thanks to nice touches like the slim 'floating' centre stack (with its smarter `Silk Metal' frame) in the centre of the dashboard, quality materials for upholsteries and a thoughtful choice of inlays and colour schemes that blend smoothly together. As before, there's comfortable room for five adults and a huge 422-litre boot. For more carrying space from this brand, you'll need a Volvo V70, effectively the estate version of this car. 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.
Facts At A Glance
CAR: Volvo S80 2.0D
PRICES: £23,245-£25,245 - on the road
INSURANCE GROUP: 15
CO2 EMISSIONS: 151g/km
PERFORMANCE: 0-60mph 10.4s / Max Speed 124mph
FUEL CONSUMPTION: (combined) 49.6mpg
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Twin front airbags, side airbags, side impact curtains WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE ?: Length/Width/Heightmm 4820/1830/1450
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