2003 Volvo S80 Reviews

2003 Volvo S80 2.9L NA (non-turbo) from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 2.9L NA (non-turbo) Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired125000 miles
Most recent distance137000 miles
Previous carHonda Passport

Summary:

For used car buyers like myself, you get Mercedes comfort at a Honda price, but they're not reliable

Faults:

Upper and lower torque rod motor mounts were completely shot. Replaced upper with IPD poly and lower with stock rubber.

Rear main seal leak still unresolved, but using a high mileage motor oil seems to have helped.

Oil cap was warped and leaked onto coils, two of which needed to be replaced.

Preheating pipe from exhaust manifold to airbox was rubbing on lower radiator hose, and almost wore a hole right through.

Front oxygen sensors needed to be replaced. Bosch (the OEM) recommends a 100,000 mile service interval, but Volvo makes no such recommendation.

Mass airflow sensor (MAF) needed to be replaced.

Numerous problems with frayed wires, including injector wires rubbing on the side of the block, and transmission control wires rubbing in a tight spot they were threaded through.

Rear brake light relay blown, was hard to find and replace.

Transmissions service urgent warning and slipping solved with a flush, bottle of Lucas Trans Fix and clearing codes with ppc-diagnostic.com tool.

All this and I've only owned the car for 1 year and about 12,000 miles. Luckily I did all the work myself or it would have bankrupted me at dealer's exorbitant rates.

General Comments:

Leather seats use a water-based, eco-friendly dye that wears prematurely, but they're very comfortable.

Handles nicely on the highway. You have to be careful not to fall asleep on long trips.

Audio system is excellent.

Not so great for stop-and-go daily driving with the relatively unreliable GM transmission.

2.9L inline six Volvo engine will go half a million miles, but unfortunately most everything else seems to fall apart at 100,000. There's a reason they're so cheap used. A nice ride if you can do the work yourself, otherwise look elsewhere.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th November, 2009

2003 Volvo S80 s80 T6 from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission T6 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.2 / 10
Distance when acquired16 miles
Most recent distance18500 miles
Previous carVolvo S80

Summary:

This is a great riding, powerful, reliable auto

Faults:

Loose antenna wire, fixed at time of oil change.

General Comments:

Just like my 2001 S80 this has been a very reliable car. In 24 months, I have taken it to the dealer only 3 times each for oil and lube and filter. At one visit they fixed the antenna wire which was causing some AM radio static. Otherwise no issues.

Drives great in the sport mode. Even one true panic stop was clean with no swerve. Tires have tracked fine since day one and worn even.

More than enough power.

Never activated the built in phone so can't comment about it.

Love the trunk space and flip down rear seats. It will carry half of my daughter's dorm room in one trip!

I average 20 miles in town and over 27 on long trips.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th May, 2006

2003 Volvo S80 2.9T 2.9 liter Twin turbo from North America

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 2.9 liter Twin turbo Manual
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 1 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
3.6 / 10
Distance when acquired23 miles
Most recent distance10589 miles
Previous carSAAB 900

Summary:

A waste of $44,000 dollars

Faults:

Both headlights died about a week after purchase.

Seats are flattening quickly

The This winter the car wouldn't start after being outside in 15 degree weather. The car starts to choke at 80 mph. I have two friends who have this car and they said their car did choked at high speed too.

The car has been getting poor mileage even on the highway.

Electrical system has a mind of its own.

General Comments:

The car annoyingly slow even with twin turbos. Off the start the car is like moving a bus. Even the 50-7o mph time is sluggish. I own a cool little device that measures the 0-60 and anything else you want it to. It said that the 2003 volvo's 0-60 was 8.3 seconds and my old 1985 saab 900s sedan's 0-60 was 7.9. The Saab even seemed quicker on the highway. The device said that the Saab's 0-100 was 1.9 seconds quicker than the Volvo's Luckily, I kept the Saab and I drive it most of the time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 7th April, 2004

8th Apr 2004, 10:12

In general, the majority of turbo-engined cars are slow off the mark, if they are not given plenty of revs when moving off. This is due to the turbo not being fully spooled up until a certain rpm point. Electronics do tend to make things better (by regulating the turbo pressure and playing with the waste-gate where fitted), but the problem cannot be totally eliminated: To regulate turbo pressure you *have* to have exhaust gases to spin that turbo fan... Large heavy automatic vehicles are particularly affected, as they feature high inertia AND the torque converter slip - and both have to be overcome by the engine at near idle speed when moving off.

On the other hand, lighter vehicles, especially, manuals are less affected due to the fact that you may move off by revving the engine hard (and slip/"burn" the clutch). As they say there's no substitute for cubic inches- at least at this particular case...

11th Apr 2004, 19:19

You have to compare the performance with that one published.

Saab is much lighter with the same power.

Also the time lag of turbo and the automatic can be a cause as very well explained the other reader.

21st Jul 2004, 10:07

Volvo advertised the 'Twin Turbo' design as having been designed with smaller turbos therefore less mass and faster spool up times to eliminate turbo lag. Waste gate pressures settings also impact turbo lag. The Volvo S80 T6 fails to meeet the expectations set by the Volvo Marketing team. A vehicle with a Premium Price and 'early KIA' quality. Trade me a new KIA for my S-80 T6 and I would be elated. At least a KIA doesn't spend most of its life in the repair shop.

11th Jul 2008, 11:59

Stop watches are not very accurate for testing 0-60 times. I suspect the "special device" the reviewer refers to is the motion activated laser timer type device used for testing times more accurately.

6th Feb 2009, 17:02

I worked for Volvo UK as a technician, there was a software upgrade for the turbo boost stalling at full boost, probably a little late now, but this should fix.

24th Feb 2010, 09:35

My 2004 S 80 2.5T failed hand brake system. The dealer offered a newly produced system, since many cars in Sweden have failed hand brakes, but not for free. If a braking system malfunctions, shouldn´t Volvo pay for this? Even the car dealer agrees to this. JL Sweden.

2003 Volvo S80 from North America

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.2 / 10
Distance when acquired16 miles
Most recent distance5900 miles
Previous carVolvo 760

Summary:

Sassy and Classy

Faults:

Had a fuse that somehow blew, other than that, it has been a pleasure.

General Comments:

This car is incredible from front to back. Comfortable and reliable plus somewhat sophisticated. This car has excellent acceleration and also handles like a dream. Another factor that pushed me to buy another Volvo was the safety record that these cars are known for.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 6th November, 2003

Average review marks: 6.7 / 10, based on 4 reviews