Volvo S80. Comfort
A long wheelbase and wide track certainly provide plenty of room and a high level of ride comfort, but they also produce size. This need not necessarily be a drawback in terms of manoeuvrability, however. If the car is easy to park and can turn between most kerbs, it has proved the point. The Volvo S80 does so, as previous chapters demonstrate.
A well-tuned chassis and a rigid body on the right wheelbase, sprung and dampened in the optimum manner, create fine ride comfort, which is further enhanced by well-designed seats, an ergonomic interior and good climate comfort. Comfort is something that has to extend to everyone in the car - collectively as well as individually.
As the word comfort includes so many meanings and aspects, Volvo definitely regards it as a matter of safety. Because the very basic prerequisites for the general feeling in a car is that you should sit in comfort and safety, that you should have a quiet, pleasant and enjoyable setting, full of ingenious features to makes more comfortable and enjoyable. The driver of a car like this is far more alert and safe than a driver who has to put up with things that he or she does not like and who is forced constantly to compromise while travelling.
For many years, Volvo seats have been developed not only by engineers but also together with orthopaedic experts in order to make them more than just something to sit in. Hours of driving should not make the driver - or the passengers - tired. So a great deal of emphasis has been placed on the fact that each and every driver must be able to find her or his perfect position, with good support, especially in the lateral and lumbar regions.
In addition to what was described earlier under the headline of Driving Experience, the front seats also feature:
A backrest which folds forward completely to make it possible to carry load long objects (passenger seat).
Seat heating that now operates at two levels The effect of the heater is pre-adapted according to the type of upholstery in order to work in the optimum way in each specific seat.
Practical storage pockets at the front edge of the seat cushions.
Driver's head restraint with built-in loudspeaker for the integrated telephone (described later).
The driver's environment must be the perfect combination of correct ergonomics, comfort and pleasure, with harmonious colours and quality materials. Function and feeling must be well-balanced. Everything must radiate a sense of quality. It must also be within easy reach.
The dashboard is designed according to these precise principles. All the instruments and gauges are logical and easy to read. In addition to the usual symbols and indicator lamps, there is also a message display window for different functions.
A well-equipped centre console houses the audio system, the climate control and different control buttons, for example. It also contains one of the two cupholders - the other is located in the centre armrest which also contains a storage area, a CD rack and a coin holder.
The power windows and power rear-view mirrors are easy to operate. The front windows have both auto-down and auto-up functions; one quick touch of the button makes the window wind all the way up or down. A built-in crushing guard eliminates the risk of fingers being crushed.
The mirrors, which are heated, have a very useful optional function. They can be folded flat at the touch of a button, a very handy feature in tight spaces. They can also be fitted with a groundlight, which makes it safer and easier to get into and out of the car in the dark.
This is also facilitated by the courtesy lighting; there are courtesy lamps at the doors and in the roof lining at the front and rear.
As Volvo sees it, climate comfort is very definitely a safety factor. Maintaining a pleasant, constant temperature and constantly changing the air are vital in order to stay alert and fell good.
The Volvo S80 offers three different types of climate control, all with newly designed and ingenious control symbols:
- the standard manual type with a timer function and recirculation
without air conditioning.
- an optional manual climate control - MCC - with the functions
mentioned above and with air conditioning
- the optional fully automatic Electronic Climate Control, the very latest
version, which makes it possible to set the precise interior temperature that is required, quickly cool down hot air and quickly heat up cold air.
Just like the MCC, it contains no CFC.
Cars with air conditioning also have a particle or pollen filter which effectively shuts out unwanted substances and is specially beneficial for people with allergy problems.
All three types of climate control can adjust the passenger compartment temperature on the left and right side independently of each other.
The system has a large number of air outlets, which are designed so that the fresh air is distributed around the compartment instead of being blown at high speeds as one concentrated stream of air straight into the faces of the driver and passengers.
An outlet in the b-pillars on each side facing the rear seat enable hot or cool air to be directed at rear seat passengers. At the same time, this also helps to keep the rear windows free from mist.
First car with integrated GSM telephone
The climate controls units are built into a centre console which also houses the space to fit another Volvo first, a fully integrated GSM telephone, as an option.
Thanks to this well integrated installation the telephone can be used both safely and simply, without distracting the driver or jeopardising safety.
The keypad is elegantly integrated in the centre console next to the radio, while the microphone is fitted to the rear-view mirror and the loudspeaker is in the driver's seat head restraint.
Using this system, the telephone can be operated hands-free, but, if more privacy is required, there is a handset recessed into the centre armrest.
For extra safety, the telephone can also be operated with control buttons on the steering wheel; these buttons can also be used to control the radio. They are used to select the menu functions for the telephone, for example.
When the telephone is in use, the audio system is automatically turned off and the message display below the temperature gauge in the instrument cluster provides information about the current telephone number.
The aerial is built into the windscreen, making an outside aerial unnecessary, while the telephone itself is safely placed out of sight in the luggage compartment.
The integrated telephone in the Volvo S80 is the optimum combination of ingenious design, safety and function.
Two other interesting features can also be controlled, safely and very handily, from the steering wheel. Both are optional and built into the centre console - the audio system and RTI.
The audio system
The audio system for the Volvo S80 has been developed alongside the car and is therefore purpose-designed and fully integrated in the centre console. The system, which offers a choice of four different versions with many joint functions, consists of a main unit with front panel and display, a cassette recorder and CD player and control knobs.
The top-of-the-line system has the following features: RDS radio with a built-in 4x50 w amplifier, integrated CD player/changer, Mini-Disc player, the Dolby Surround and Pro Logic System, control buttons on the steering wheel, nine speakers and a diversity aerial which provides extremely good reception.
The second version consists of an RDS radio with a built-in 4x25 w amplifier, integrated CD and cassette players, a control button for a separate CD chanter, control buttons on the steering wheel, eight speakers and a diversity aerial.
The next system has an RDS radio with a built-in 4x15 w amplifier, a cassette recorder, a control button for a separate CD changer, control buttons on the steering wheel, eight speakers and a diversity aerial
The basic system has an RDS radio with a built-in 4x15 w amplifier, a cassette recorder and six loudspeakers.
The systems can be supplemented with a separate 10-disc CD changer which is one of the smallest on the market. It is safely located in the luggage compartment and controlled from the main unit. The systems also have an automatic volume control that is speed-controlled. It keeps the volume at the same level irrespective of the speed of the car.
The Dolby Surround Pro Logic System, which has been used by Volvo for almost two years, produces sound of concert-hall quality in the Volvo S80. The principal property of the system is that it creates a three-dimensional sound pattern, a rare feature in the automotive world.
It comprises a built-in sound processor and an additional loudspeaker in the centre, on top of the dashboard.
The Volvo S80 features twin aerials, the main one in the rear screen and a sub-aerial with amplifier in the rear bumper; the second aerial is necessary for the diversity function. This guarantees extremely good signal reception, even in poor conditions. It is also used by the RTI, Road and Traffic information system - another option.
Never lost with RTI
RTI has also been used by Volvo with very good results for well over a year. This is an electronic information and route guidance system that helps the driver find any destination and the shortest route to reach it.
The system keep track of the position of the car using the GPS system and a recorded voice continuously directs the driver, who can then concentrate on the traffic situation. The route is, however, also shown on an electronic roadmap in the display which is situated on top of the dashboard.
The system is controlled by a multi-function button on the rear side of the steering wheel or by a passenger with a remote control.
The RTI system is based on CD-roms containing maps with different scales, depending on how detailed the map has to be. The maps also contain the addresses of hotels, airports, hospitals, Volvo dealers and other useful facilities.
The system uses the GPS satellite navigation system in order to establish the position of the car and a built-in gyro senses the direction in which the car is travelling. Signals from the speedometer also keep track of the distance covered along the route.
In the unlikely event of the driver making a mistake along the route, the system automatically selects an alternative route in order to put the car back on track.
Rear seat environment
The passenger environment in the rear seat is often neglected, but it is almost as important to pay attention to the comfort of the people travelling with an alert and comfortable driver.
The rear seat is designed for three adults seated in full comfort, with ample legroom, thanks to the width and wheelbase of the car.
The interior door panels are specially designed to make good use of the generous width and all the occupants in the Volvo S80 travel both safely and comfortably within the wheelbase, something that is only possible in a large car.
It goes without saying that all three rear seats have three-point belts, with pre-tensioners and head restraints. The height of the centre position head restraint can be adjusted in order to work with the optional child booster cushion, which can be specified instead of the standard centre armrest.
The armrest can also be equipped with twin cupholders and covers the hatch to the luggage compartment which makes it possible to transport long items, like skis.
In order to provide even more luggage space, the rear seat can be folded down in a 60/40 split to makes the floor behind the driver flat. The folding mechanism is situated on both sides of the luggage compartment for safety reasons. The backrest cannot be folded down from the passenger compartment.
There is also a 12v socket in the rear seat which enables the passengers to use different appliances, like a battery charger.
The luggage compartment is spacious and the boot lid has a very generous opening angle which make the car easy to load. The shape makes it efficient to use and very practical.
The fully-lined compartment is full of ingenious details e.g. the expandable load support which keeps carrier bags and other items of baggage safely in position.
Under the boot floor lies the spare wheel which is part of the crumple zone and energy-absorption network and beside it there is the battery.
Related page: Volvo S80 Original Press Release