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2007 Volvo S80

by Martha Hindes

2007 Volvo S80
2007 Volvo S80 Interior

With Volvo's new S80 flagship sedan, safety is just a heartbeat away. The automaker that's been the epitome of safety for decades has added the ability to detect the heartbeat of someone who might be hiding inside. The detection communications device that can sense an intruder is part of Volvo's Personal Car Communicator, or PCC, that also will read whether the vehicle has been unlocked. It's the first use on any vehicle worldwide, and is only one of a number of technologies in the second generation S80 for 2007.

The S80's updated, more aerodynamic styling hasn't changed radically from the previous generation. It's still recognizable as an S80 despite some rounding of taillamp curves and a little less hood crease among changes. But below the surface it's next generation, in front-wheel or all-wheel-drive. Under the hood is a choice of engines giving discernible power differences with Volvo's first ever V8 in a sedan that generates 311-HP. The first use of a new, compact 3.2L inline 6 that pumps out 235-HP, surpasses the previous generation's 5-cylinder.

Like any Volvo, safety is a paramount concern. It's the feature that has defined the brand for years, and Volvo has no intention of giving up its claim to the title. New protections include a side airbag system with dual chamber hip and chest protection, next generation rear impact protection in front headrests, and BLIS (for Blindspot Information System) that uses exterior cameras by the outside mirrors to warn of a vehicle approaching on the side. Other safety technologies include a new, extremely rigid structural design, adaptive cruise control with collision warning and brake support, and standard tire pressure monitor.

Inside, there's a cool Scandinavian feel with premium leather seating, an uncluttered dash, clean lines and a trim, thin-line console and DVD-based nav system. Power moonroof and power driver's seat with memory are standard. The optional, enhanced premium 650-watt Dynaudio sound system includes Sirius satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity.

Base pricing starts at $38,705 ($47,360 for AWD), and mileage should average about 22 MPG.