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Our Fleet: Volvo S80 - 1st report Update

Date: 17 April 2007

Update number six and the big Volvo's economy is in the 30s all round

18 APRIL 2007
Mileage 5744
Forecast CPM 40.9p
Actual CPM 42.2p
The big Volvo’s well and truly settled into our fleet now and we’re averaging MPG in the mid-30s on motorways and around 30mpg in town. Light-footed high is 38.4.
21 MARCH 2007
Mileage 5245
Forecast CPM 41.9p
Actual CPM 45.4p
We love the fact that everything about the Volvo feels so solid and chunky. The stalks and controls, manual gearchange and the thud the doors make when closed all imply quality.
7 MARCH 2007
Mileage 4850
Forecast CPM 41.9p
Actual CPM 45.4p
There have been moans about the positioning of the electronic handbrake. It's to the right of the steering wheel in the bottom corner of the dash - not the most convenient place.
21 FEBRUARY 2007
Mileage 4764
Forecast CPM 41.9p
Actual CPM 45.4p
Volvo's revamped its spec, having previously offered leather seats with the SE trim. However, the utterly comfy armchairs that used to be standard may still be worth the £1200 price.
Mileage 3904
Forecast CPM 41.9p
Actual CPM 45.4p
Some debris caused a bit of damage underneath, and the only nearby Volvo dealer couldn't check it out for a fortnight. But when they did, a loose plate was diagnosed and fixed.

23 JANUARY 2007
Mileage 2819
Forecast CPM 41.9p
Actual CPM 45.4p
We’ve got our car back from Tony Blair (see below), and it was in its element when pointed south for a pre-Xmas overnight trip to Paris. More on that trip soon.

Main Report

When we sat down for a chat with Volvo at the beginning of 2006, they bullishly talked about the new S80's business importance, and the emphasis they would be putting on making sure it is successful in the corporate market.

We've taken on the big saloon equipped with the 2.4D diesel engine, and gone for the six-speed manual as I prefer it to the Volvo auto that seems to sap an excessive amount of power. We also considered the extra cost, mpg and CO2 implications.


We plumped for the SE trim level that offers a good balance between a reasonable P11D and decent kit levels. On top of the standard equipment, we avoided going mad on the options list even though those with less self-control could have spent something heading towards £10,000 to get every conceivable gadget. Our additional spending amounted to £1370, which adds metallic paint, rear parking assist, the passenger airbag cut-off switch and the winter pack comprising heated seats and washer nozzles, luxury floor mats (honest!) and headlamp washers.

My biggest initial criticism of the new S80 is its sober styling. It doesn't look like the kind of car a dynamic executive would drive, compared to the BMW 5-series or Audi A6, and there's a question mark about whether the gentle evolution from the previous S80 is enough to grab the attention of new buyers.

It did, however, grab the attention of our PM. We only had the car for a week before I was bumped out of it for someone far more important than myself (even more important than BusinessCar editor Tristan Young - just!). When Tony Blair comes knocking and asks to borrow your motor, you kind of have to say yes. Actually, when I say Tony Blair, it was actually a TV company making a drama about the Prime Minister, and wanting suitable on-screen transport for the big man. The classy combination of our car's Barents Blue Pearl paint and leather-faced off-black interior hit the spot, so it spent a week as a TV star. Keep an eye out for it when 10 Years of Blair hits the small screen next summer.