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2004 Volvo S80 Review
Competes well with its higher-end German rivals.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 2004 Volvo S80 classifies as a midsize executive sedan and continues a model produced by Volvo since 1998. It also represents the largest sedan in Volvo’s lineup, and it has been redesigned a little for the 2004 model year.
Engines: 2.9-liter six-cylinder, 2.9-liter six-cylinder twin turbo, 2.5-liter five-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic
Models: Volvo S80 2.5T, Volvo S80 2.9, Volvo S80 T6, Volvo S80 T6 Premier
The S80 receives a slight redesign for 2004. The 2004 Volvo S80 now has a modified grille, a revised rear fascia, and additional chrome trim on the outside. On the inside, the sedan gets a new gauge cluster and door panels. A suspension system called Four-C adjustable suspension becomes available as an option for all models.
The Volvo S80 sedan looks markedly different from its previous versions and predecessors in the 1990s. The older Volvos look like boxy wagons, but the S80 uses rear sheet metal to get the sedan look. The 2004 Volvo S80 has a uniquely compact grille that juts forward and is shaped by the V-shape prominently molded on the hood. The back window comes sharply raked with almost the same steep angle as the windshield. Crisp creases at the rear end give it sharp contrast to the rounded front end of the car. The 2004 Volvo S80 sits on a wheelbase of 109.9 inches and reaches an overall length of 189.9 inches.
The S80 provides the largest sedan in Volvo’s lineup, but it still categorizes as a midsize sedan because of its interior volume. Nevertheless, the 2004 Volvo S80 still feels very spacious inside. In fact, the interior compares to that of some luxury sedans. The controls look classy, but rationally designed, except for the audio functions and navigation system, which seem a little confusing. The navigation screen proves difficult to read in sunlight and it is strangely controlled by buttons behind the steering wheel. The front seats feel wide and comfortable with lots of legroom to spare. Headroom does not cause a problem either, and the driver’s seat adjusts. Legroom at the rear seems quite generous as well, along with good headroom and lots of under-seat foot space. Entry and exit seem easy. The trunk lid can also open by more than 90 degrees, but the trunk opening does not look particularly large. Nevertheless, the cargo floor has been optimized for space with a flat, wide, and long floor. The trunk can hold about 14.4 cubic feet of cargo.
Performance & Handling
The 2004 Volvo S80 comes fitted with a 2.9-liter, six-cylinder engine that delivers 194 horsepower, but only for the 2.9. The T6, which focuses more on performance, gets a 2.9-liter, twin-turbocharged, six-cylinder engine that delivers 268 horsepower. The all-wheel-drive version comes fitted with a 2.5-liter, turbocharged, five-cylinder engine that delivers 208 horsepower. All engines, except for the last one, pair with a four-speed automatic transmission. The 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine mates to a five-speed automatic transmission. The T6 engine comes fitted with a Geartronic transmission that permits manual gear changes.
The base 2.5T offers decent acceleration with very little turbo lag. However, the all-wheel-drive version might have some nonlinear throttle action. The powerful T6 has a smooth engine that accelerates with almost no turbo lag and accelerates from a standstill to 60 mph in seven seconds. The impression you get from driving a 2004 Volvo S80 is that of elegance and understated power. The S80 delivers a smooth and easy ride. The six-cylinder engines deliver spirited performances, and gearshifts on the automatic transmission feel smooth, but still a little noticeable. Overall, the 2004 S80 is a very easy vehicle to drive, with precise handling and good control.
The 2004 Volvo S80 comes with some impressive safety features. Side-impact airbags, traction control, and anti-lock brakes come standard on all models. All five seating positions get their own three-point shoulder belts, along with pretensioners. Full-length side-curtain airbags also provide a standard feature, and so does Volvo’s patented Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS). This system moves the front seats back in a rear-impact collision to minimize whiplash. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) awards the 2004 Volvo S80 five-star ratings for driver and passenger safety during frontal-impact and side-impact collision tests. The car also receives a five-star NHTSA rollover rating.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Lots of safety innovations added
- Fast T6 version
- Spacious rear seat
- Smooth and relaxed ride
You Won't Like
- Suspension not athletic, even with Four-C
- Annoying turbo lag
- Price tag increases exponentially with more options
Competes well with its higher-end German rivals.
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