What We Drove
Fun to Drive
On a scale of nit-picky-nits, this ranks right up there, but here goes: The tuner knob is too small. It's on the side nearest the passenger, so the driver must reach over and scroll, which takes a number of rotations. Otherwise, the stereo is simply laid out, with a knob for power/volume, one for tuning, and buttons for channel presets. It's so simply laid out, in fact, that it's nearly impossible to miss a button or control, even at a glance.
2nd Opinion -- Blackett
I think this Volvo may be one of the best looking family sedans currently on the market. Yeah, Volvo. The brand's designers are obviously now comfortable with curvy lines and sexy shapes, and inside they've carried on with the waterfall instrument panel that serves as a distinguishing Volvo element. However, that center stack is wrapped in hard plastic that's lousy to the touch, and worse, it's a hard spot for right knees in left turns. Other materials are better, but our tester was awash in a blindingly bland sea of tans, all of which served as buzzkill contrast to the alluring exterior. The powertrain was lively, but I was disappointed to find the manumatic shift handle fitted with chintzy bits of fake wood.
2nd Opinion -- Wardlaw
Volvo means well, but the overpriced S80's collision avoidance alert system only reminded me that I was driving like a jerk as I rushed through traffic to an appointment in L.A. Once, the alert flashed and sounded as surrounding cars came crushing to a stop and it appeared the guy behind me might crunch the Volvo's bumper, injecting an extra and unwelcome dose of adrenaline into my system. I recommend skipping this annoying option. Volvo's Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), however, rocks. The rest of the car is nice enough, with comfortable seats and a Scandinavian minimalist look. However, is it expecting too much that I think this 4.4-liter V8 should be getting better gas mileage than a Chrysler Hemi?
Photos courtesy of Ron Perry