Text and photos by The Lenspeed Team

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The Volvo S80 has always had a soft spot for me. A family friend used to have one, and I always remembered how comfortable the seats felt and, for its time, how surprisingly luxurious it was too. The current S80 we sampled is still a lovely thing, but a lot subtler than the previous model and looks smaller too, despite its flagship status. The new S90 is set to change all that, but let’s revisit this outgoing model before ushering in the new…

If you do not mind something that looks safe and conservative, the S80 fits the bill to a tee. While having a clean and uncluttered design language, in the company of flashier competitors the car does seem to fade into the background a little. It’s still an attractive car, but not quite as bold as we’d like.

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The interior also echoes the exterior, with safe and solid design that appears to be able to last for generations, but is not particularly interesting. The fact that it is not that all dissimilar to a S60’s also means it begs to feel a lot more special given it should be a cut above its smaller sibling.

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The drivetrain is probably the most modern aspect of the car. In T5 guise, as in the previous versions we’ve tried in the S60 and XC60, the car is undeniably brisk. In purely quantifiable terms there is all the power you’d ever need, with lots of torque and an efficient gearbox to make the most out of it. It’s a pity then that the engine doesn’t sound particularly good and as a whole feels more utilitarian above all else.

The handling is cut from the same cloth as the S60, which is safe and predictable but isn’t all that fun to drive. The steering as we’ve noticed before is also as dull here as it is in the S60.

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So, with all that, are we ready for the S90? While the S80 has been a soldier for its time, and has aged gracefully, a tough competitor is needed for the segment. And oh yes, we cannot wait for the S90 to arrive. Especially in wagon form…

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