How to Compare the Volvo S60 to the S80

by Michael G. Sanchez
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An exceptional commitment to safety has historically been Volvo's calling card. In a time when even bare-bones economy cars come with ABS, traction control and a plethora of airbags, however, standing out for safety features is no longer a particularly viable strategy. The variance between the safest and least safe new cars on the road is much slighter than it used to be. Even with its brand identity arguably less of an asset than in times past, Volvo continued to produce a solid line of vehicles. The S60 was a premium compact sedan, positioned to compete with cars like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3-Series and Lexus IS. Its big sister, the S80, was a mid-size luxury cruiser and the Swedish company's flagship model. Its competitors included the BMW 5-Series, Audi A6 and Cadillac CTS.


The S60 was 182.5 inches long, 73.4 inches wide and 58.4 inches tall, with a 109.3-inch wheelbase. Its base curb weight was 3,433 pounds. The larger S80 was 191.1 inches long, 73.3 inches wide and 58.4 inches tall. It rode on a 111.6-inch wheelbase and weighed-in at 3,712 pounds. The S60's front seats provided 39.3 inches of headroom, 57.0 inches of shoulder room, 54.9 inches of hip room and 41.9 inches of legroom. The rear seats offered 38.3 inches of headroom, 55.2 inches of shoulder room, 53.5 inches of hip room and 33.5 inches of legroom. The S80's driver and front passenger seats provided 37.8 inches of headroom with the sunroof and 38.8 inches without, 57.4 inches of shoulder room, 54.8 inches of hip room and 41.9 inches of legroom. Rear-seat passengers got 38.3 inches of headroom, 56.3 inches of shoulder room, 54.7 of hip room and 35.0 inches of legroom. The S60's trunk hold up to 12.0 cubic feet of cargo, while the S80's had a capacity of 14.9 cubic feet.


The front-wheel-drive S60 was powered by one of two versions of Volvo's new "Drive-E" 2.0-liter inline-four. The first, which appeared in entry-level T5 models, featured direct injection and a single turbocharger. It produced 240 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 258 foot-pounds of torque at 4,800 rpm. The upgraded, more powerful version of the Drive-E inline-four employed both a turbocharger and a supercharger. This unusual configuration made for impressive power output, minimal turbo lag and high fuel efficiency. The engine generated 302 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 295 foot-pounds of torque at 5,500 rpm. All-wheel-drive S60s were motivated by either a 2.5-liter inline-five or a turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline-six. The inline-five produced 250 horsepower at 5,400 rpm and 266 foot-pounds of torque at 4,200 rpm. The six-cylinder engine, which was exclusive to the high-performance T6 R-Design model, put out an impressive 325 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 354 foot-pounds of torque at 4,200 rpm. The four-cylinder Drive-E engines came with an eight-speed version of Volvo's Geartronic driver-adaptive automatic transmission, while the two other engines got a six-speed version.

S80 buyers could choose between the turbocharged, 2.0-liter, inline-four or the turbocharged, 3.0-liter, inline-six. The four-cylinder engine produced 240 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 258 foot-pounds of torque at 4,800 rpm. The larger engine put out 300 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 325 foot-pounds of torque at 4,200 rpm. The eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission came with inline-four models, while inline-six-powered S80s got the six-speed version. All 2.0-liter models employed front-wheel drive, while all 3.0-liter S80s came with all-wheel drive

Features & Options

The S60 came in three trim levels: T5, T6 and T6 R-Design. The T5 came with 17-inch wheels, T-Tec cloth upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat with adjustable lumbar support and memory function, full power accessories, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, automatic headlights, headlight washers, heated mirrors, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment display. Bluetooth connectivity and an eight-speaker CD stereo with HD and satellite radio, auxiliary audio jack and iPod-USB interface were also standard. The T6 added 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery, upgraded front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a rearview camera. The performance-oriented T6 R-Design added special 18-inch wheels, a strut-tower brace for increased chassis stiffness, a stiffer and lower sport suspension, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, upgraded brakes and special interior trim, in addition to the R-Design-specific six-cylinder engine.

The S80 came in two trim levels: T5 and T6. Standard equipment on the T5 included 17-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, keyless entry and ignition, heated mirrors, foglights, automatic wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, a configurable instrument display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and power front seats with driver memory function. Entertainment was provided by an eight-speaker CD audio system with Bluetooth connectivity and HD and satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod-USB interface. The T6 added 18-inch alloy wheels and a sunroof. Stand-alone options included adaptive bi-xenon headlights, 19-inch wheels, and a blind-spot monitoring system.

Consumer Data

Equipped with the entry-level four-cylinder engine, the S60 received an EPA fuel economy rating of 25 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. With the upgraded, more-powerful inline-four, it was rated at 24-35. Equipped with the inline-five, it received a 20-29 rating. Finally, the inline-six-powered S60 was rated at 19-28. The larger S80 was rated at 25-37 with the four-cylinder engine and 19-28 with the inline-six under its hood. The 2015 S60 had a base price of $33,750 to $43,550, depending on trim level. The 2015 S80's starting price ranged from $41,450 to $44,850,

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