Both the Maxima and the S80 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.
Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the Maxima 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Volvo covers the S80. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the S80 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
The Maxima’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the S80’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).
There are over 3 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Volvo dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Maxima’s warranty.
The camshafts in the Maxima’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The S80 T6 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the S80’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.
A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without their vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports predicts that the Maxima’s reliability will be 24% better than the S80.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2013 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 19th in reliability. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 24th.
The Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 50 more horsepower (290 vs. 240) and 25 lbs.-ft. more torque (261 vs. 236) than the S80 3.2’s standard 3.2 DOHC 6 cyl.
The Maxima has 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the S80 (20 vs. 18.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better stopping power the Maxima’s brake rotors are larger than those on the S80:
The Maxima’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the S80 are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the Maxima has larger tires than the S80 (245/45R18 vs. 225/50R17).
The Maxima’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the S80’s standard 50 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Maxima has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the S80.
The Maxima has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The S80 doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
The Nissan Maxima may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 500 pounds less than the Volvo S80.
The Maxima has .7 inches more front headroom and 1.9 inches more front legroom than the S80.
The Maxima SV’s optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The S80 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
If the front windows are left down on the Maxima the driver can raise them using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the S80 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield, the Maxima has standard extendable sun visors. The S80 doesn’t offer extendable visors.
A power rear sunshade is optional in the Maxima SV to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The S80 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.
The Maxima SV offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The S80 has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
Insurance will cost less for the Maxima owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Maxima with a number “3” insurance rate while the S80 is rated higher at a number “8” rate.
The Maxima will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. Kiplinger’s estimates that the Maxima will retain 36% of its original price after five years, while the S80 only retains 35%.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Maxima is less expensive to operate than the S80 because it costs $63 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Maxima than the S80, including $2 less for a water pump, $40 less for front brake pads, $41 less for a starter, $302 less for a fuel pump and $346 less for a power steering pump.
Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Nissan Maxima will be $1946 to $6033 less than for the Volvo S80.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Maxima, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Volvo S80 isn't recommended.
Strategic Vision rates overall owner satisfaction with vehicle quality. With a Total Quality Index of 889, Strategic Vision rated the Nissan Maxima 22 points higher than the Volvo S80 for 2012.
The Nissan Maxima outsold the Volvo S80 by over twenty-four to one during the 2013 model year.