Car of the Year 2012
Volvo S80 D3 SE Lux
In the past three years, choosing the Professional Driver Car of the Year has been relatively straightforward, and the Chauffeur Car of the Year has also scooped the top prize.
But these are tough times, and perhaps a £65,000 car isn’t the optimum choice for the chauffeur sector in the teeth of a recession that won’t go away. And that’s why the prize has this year fallen not to the top Chauffeur Car, but to the Executive Car of the Year.
And the Volvo S80 is clearly a car for our times. It received a host of refinements last year. The clunky, old-fashioned sat-nav has been brought bang up to date, while ever-so-subtle tweaks to the cabin have given a much more prestigious luxury feel. Rear legroom is excellent, and softer seats have enhanced the customer experience.
The S80 does have customer appeal – and Volvo’s good reputation for safety is backed up with some first-rate safety features, especially the City Safety system. City Safety uses a laser sensor built into the windscreen at the height of the rear-view mirror to monitor the position of the vehicle in front.
At speeds of up to 18.6mph, the system will make the car brake automatically if the driver does not respond in time when the car in front slows down or stops - or if the driver is driving too fast towards a stationary object. It’s an excellent system that could save you hundreds of pounds in repair costs and vehicle off-road time by avoiding urban bumps and scrapes.
Factor in some excellent running costs, low CO2 emissions and a very keen contract hire price for chauffeurs, and the Volvo S80 makes so much sense for a very wide range of businesses. It’s solid and reliable enough to be a workaday private hire vehicle, yet up-market enough to handle chauffeur work.
Would your clients really be disappointed if a Volvo turned up instead of a Mercedes or an Audi? We’re guessing not. And in austere times, turning up in a less ostentatious car puts across a better image.
A car for our times? Certianly. And that’s why the Volvo S80 is Professional Driver’s Car of the Year for 2012.
2010Jaguar XJL 3.0D