Volvo S80: Playing It Too Safe?

As Volvo tries to move away from its conservative, "safe" persona, it risks losing whatever personality it has

Editor's Rating:

The Good: V-8 barks and bites, updated design, distinctive interior, some smart features, amazing seats, stand- out stereo, real value vs. V-8 rivals

The Bad: Essentially a front-wheeler in RWD territory, technology overkill, pricey options list, competition has more character

The Bottom Line: Better than its predecessor; optional V-8 a plus; but it's a bit less distinguished than top rivals

Up Front

Any American suburb worth its salt follows certain new-car etiquette. When your neighbor proudly pulls up in something shiny with dealer tags, you act excited and ask lots of questions. Well, let's say Ned Flanders rolls curbside in a brand new Volvo S80 V-8 AWD. The model designation alone, with all its numbers and letters, leaves much to talk about, too much in fact. This is where the problem of the S80 V-8's ambiguous, Swiss-army-knife personality arises. In trying to be all things to all people, the S80 V-8 lacks distinctive character in any one area.

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