$15,887 - $19,171

2014 Volvo S80 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Volvo S80 was new.


Performance: 7.0

Automotive journalists agree that the 2014 Volvo S80 offers the comfortable ride they expect from a luxury large car, but lacks the agility of many cars in the class. They recommend skipping the six-cylinder engine in the base 3.2 model, which they say can’t match the power of the S80’s six-cylinder rivals, in favor of the potent turbocharged six-cylinder in the T6 AWD.

  • "As such, the 2014 Volvo S80 finds itself in a tough battle against newer luxury sedans, most of which surpass its performance and are far more enjoyable to drive overall." -- Edmunds
  • "If you're looking for a comfortable commuter with room for four adults, you could do much worse than the S80; just don't expect much in the way of driver involvement. This Volvo is a throwback to the days when luxury meant soft, smooth and straight ahead -- and we can see the appeal in that." -- AutoTrader
  • "Go with the base 3.2 and you'll get a very comfortable, very smooth-riding car that delivers the kind of performance we suspect the most members of the car buying public would say is just fine. Get behind the wheel of the turbocharged T6 AWD, and it's a whole different story. Acceleration is rapid and the big sedan's demeanor in the turns becomes one of poised confidence." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The base Volvo S80 3.2 has a 240-horsepower, 3.2-liter, six-cylinder engine, which is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. The S80 T6 AWD features a 300-horsepower, turbocharged, 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The 2014 S80 3.2 gets an EPA-estimated 20/29 mpg city/highway, which is a bit less than what cars with comparable power get, while the T6 AWD gets 18/25, which is on par with the fuel economy estimates of other similarly powered cars with all-wheel drive in the class.

Reviewers write that the S80 3.2’s acceleration is adequate, but disappointing when compared to the acceleration of rival six-cylinder luxury large cars. Most test drivers prefer the S80 T6 AWD, which provides the commanding power they want from cars in this class. Automotive journalists write that the S80’s six-speed automatic delivers quick, seamless shifts in both the 3.2 and the T6 AWD.

  • "Under the hood, the 3.2-liter inline 6-cylinder disappoints with its mediocre acceleration and unrefined noises at high rpm. This isn't a flagship-worthy engine. Much more satisfying is the twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder, which delivers authoritative power on demand." -- AutoTrader
  • "The 2014 Volvo S80's 3.2-liter base engine is adequate, but its relative lack of power and personality makes it hard to recommend. The turbocharged engine of the T6 is another matter entirely, as it delivers the kind of lively acceleration you'd expect from an upscale sedan, and the wave of torque it produces is noticeable." -- Edmunds
  • "The 3.2's inline 6-cylinder is admirably smooth and provides adequate acceleration. At the same time, this motor is noticeably underpowered compared to many of the V6 engines that power this car's rivals. T6 versions are relaxed from a stop, but once underway, deliver satisfying punch. With either engine, the automatic transmission shifts very smoothly." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "Thrust from the inline-six is solid throughout the rev range with no perceptible turbo lag. The six-speed automatic transmission might be down a gear or two compared to some rivals, but it still fired off quick, smooth shifts when called upon." -- Left Lane News (2013 S80 T6)

Handling and Braking

Reviewers agree that the 2014 S80 has the smooth, comfortable ride they expect from a luxury large car, especially while cruising on the highway. However, critics agree that the S80 isn’t as much fun to drive as sportier luxury rivals. Many reviewers think the steering system is too light and feels unresponsive. According to test drivers, the optional sport chassis and 19-inch wheels sharpen the S80’s handling but make its ride much stiffer.

  • "On the road, the S80 has a nose for the fast lane, hunkering down at high speeds the way a good European luxury sedan should. Otherwise, though, it drives like a big luxury sedan, which means it's well isolated from the elements but not remotely engaging." -- AutoTrader
  • "When equipped with the standard suspension, the S80 has a plush, isolated ride quality. However, the steering is overly light and noticeably slow to respond when going around turns, and the sedan's overall handling abilities leave plenty to be desired. Committed Volvo S80 buyers will find the T6 version's available 19-inch wheels and sport chassis option a worthwhile investment, as it noticeably sharpens the car's handling." -- Edmunds
  • "Available only on T6 models, the Sport Chassis adds 19-inch wheels, a lower ride height and a stiffer suspension, but it also brings a much stiffer ride." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "But once the road straightened out and we drove the sedan like, well, most owners should, we found a four-door with a refined and isolated ride quality that begged for a long-distance highway jaunt." -- Left Lane News (2013 T6 AWD)

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