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2012 Volvo S80 Overview
Volvo’s top-of-the-line luxury sedan got a refresh for 2012, but still lacks the pizzazz of other cars in its class. Its conservative looks and safe handling might appeal to wealthy folks that don’t like to flash their cash.
The S80 has two basic trims: the 3.2, which has a 3.2-liter inline 6-cylinder engine with 240 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, front-wheel drive and 17-inch alloy wheels; also available is the T6, with a 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder engine with 300 hp, 325 lb-ft of torque, all-wheel drive (AWD), and 18-inch alloys. A bevy of features come standard, including a high performance in-dash 6-CD stereo with MP3 capability, Bluetooth and audio controls on the steering wheel; electric-adjustable seats with leather surfaces; fog and halogen lights; and polished dual exhaust pipes.
From there, trim levels come in Premier Plus, which adds keyless drive, Personal Car Communicator and HomeLink, which allows you to perform such task as opening the garage, turning on home alarm or exterior lights without leaving the cab. Platinum tops everything out with a navigation system, rear park assist camera and a premium sound system.
Optional packages are the Climate (cozying it up with heated seats), the Technology (with adaptive cruise control and collision warning with full auto brake), the Dynamic (18-inch diamond-cut wheels and sport chassis) and the ultra-swank Inscription (with full soft leather seats and embroidered logo).
Stylistically, on the outside, it’s just not all that. While those on the right may call its looks “conservative,” on the left they call it “dull.” Inside, however, it combines its own unique minimalist style with garishly comfortable seats that both sides of the fence can appreciate.
Its biggest innovation in this year’s lineup is safety and technology. All trims come standard with Sensus, a way to personalize all the audio, climate and safety features via a high-resolution 7-inch touchscreen mounted at eye level on the center dash. Once you get it set up, this can be quite handy, but it may initially produce some head-scratching.
Also on the cutting-edge is the standard City Safety package, which kicks in at 19 mph and senses when cars have slowed or stopped ahead and reduces speed automatically. Studies have shown this decreases accidents by 25% — good job, Volvo! Even more high-tech safety options are available, including high-speed and/or pedestrian impact detection with full auto braking and blind spot monitoring. Both dual-stage and dual-chamber side airbags come standard in the front, and an inflatable curtain protects passengers in the rear.
Still, those in the upper echelon tend to be picky about their purchases, and there have been complaints the S80's drive is uninspiring, especially when compared to other models in its class. There’s a lot to like about Volvo's S80, but if you’re looking to make some kind of statement, you might try another automobile.
by Stephen Moramarco
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