THIS handsome Volvo S80 feels like the car I deserve.
Even in standard specification, the SE Sport is well equipped. But with nearly £8,000 of options spread around it, well, it felt like the car that people might expect the editor of Fleet News to turn up in. You do know who I am, don’t you?
Volvo confidently compares its luxury saloon with rivals from Germany and most executives of a certain level will be proud to be seen in one. I think it’s a great-looking car and for me the interior exceeds the expectations set by the exterior. It’s really nice in there. The new S80 is bigger than its predecessor in every direction but doesn’t look it. The styling lines flow and the car manages to look leaner.
Inside, it has a ‘big car’ feel and has already been appreciated by groups of overgrown males with briefcases, raincoats and newspapers. If they did complain, I couldn’t hear them over the amazing premium sound system I was demonstrating to them.
The sat-nav system is operated by a remote control, which I keep in the cup holders in the centre console. The day I forget to put it back in there will be the start of three months of getting lost before it turns up behind one of the cushions on my living room couch. My wife will say, ‘I wondered why it didn’t work the Sky box’.
Sometimes the sat-nav sounds as if it features two female voices. They alternate the instructions between them, which feels like you have two women telling you where to go. I still find this preferable to the male voice, which is more suited to the voiceover for the National Lottery.
The 2.4-litre diesel engine has five cylinders and sounds wonderful. It growls under acceleration and reminds me of much more expensive and sportier cars I have driven.
The six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission completes the executive lux-mobile experience.
There is a distinct pause between putting your foot down and the car taking off, which has to be factored in when going for a gap in traffic at a roundabout, but this is a common trait of big car auto boxes. All the automatic Jaguars I’ve driven suffer similarly.
But one episode has put a small blemish on our first few weeks with the S80.
The awful grinding noise that scared the bejaysus out of me has been well documented in my blog.
The car was returned to Volvo on the back of a recovery vehicle and the problem was traced to the engine vibration damper, which hadn’t had the correct torque settings applied at the factory, apparently. Four days later the car was returned, restored to its smooth-running form.
Most of my driving at the moment is urban commuting, so I’m hoping to improve on my fuel consumption with a few longer business trips before my next report.
Price: £30,050 (£37,919 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 193
Company car tax bill (2007): 40% tax-payer: £256 per month
Insurance group: 16E
Combined mpg: 38.7
Test mpg: 29.0
CAP Monitor RV: £11,450/37%
Contract hire rate: £626
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles
The S80 has an important role in our fleet sales strategy and is one of the highlights from our busiest years ever for the introduction of new models. Together with other new models, such as the C30 sports coupe and XC90 SE Sport, the all-new S80 makes Volvo’s range more competitive than ever before for both fleet customers and corporate drivers, with excellent predicted residual values and benefit-in-kind tax figures, as well as incorporating all the latest Volvo technology, modern design and high standard specifications.
John Wallace, corporate sales and leasing manager, Volvo Car UK.
Price (OTR): £30,050
Price as tested: £37,919