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Volvo S80 (1998-2006) Buying Guide

Volvo S80 (1998-2006)
Volvo S80 (1998-2006)Volvo S80 (1998-2006)Volvo S80 (1998-2006)Volvo S80 (1998-2006)Volvo S80 (1998-2006)Volvo S80 (1998-2006)Volvo S80 (1998-2006)Volvo S80 (1998-2006)Pictures shown may not represent exact model specified

by Richard Dredge

Volvo's S80 is a mixed bag for used buyers; they're great value compared with most rivals, but not as good to drive. It's also frequently not as well built; there's a surprisingly long list of potential faults to watch out for. However, buy a well-maintained example that has so far proved fault-free, and you could end up with a truly great motorway mile-muncher for amazingly little cash.

We LikeWe Don't Like
Spacious cabin
Safety levels
Strong value
Dynamically indifferent
Potential niggly faults
High running costs
Fidgety ride
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Key Dates 
5/98S80 supersedes S70, in 2.4, 2.9 and turbocharged 2.8 petrol forms, or 2.5TDi
6/01There's now a CNG (compressed natural gas) and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) options for the 2.4-litre engine. The D5 engine is also now available
12/01Turbocharged 2.4-litre petrol engine available
2/03Turbocharged 2.0 and 2.5-litre petrol engines now offered in facelifted car, with new nose and tail plus revised interior trim and specification
Checklist 
  • Even light crash damage is costly to fix
  • Exhaust manifold and catalytic converter heat shields can resonate
  • The auto's oil cooler can ground, causing damage
  • Tyres wear because of suspension ball joint and bush failures
  • Injectors fail on pre-2003 D5s
  • Early petrol cars can suffer from Electronic Throttle Module failure
  • Misfiring at low revs on five-cylinder cars can be down to a perished camshaft seal
  • Cam belt needs swapping every four years or 60,000 miles; they can snap otherwise
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