looking for advice on purchasing a Volvo XC70!

WagoneerSX4

Adventurer
Thanks for the info. Not planning on building an overlander. This will be daily driving / winter wagon. Hopefully an 03-05 will be early enough to avoid those "modern" electronic problems.
Most of the electrical gremlins were with the early XC90's, but the XC70 and the rest of the platform models had their fair share of issues. If you can find one with the sunroof still working then buy a lottery ticket.

I'm actually quite surprised Volvo made it through the 2001-2009 era without more scars than it did. Kind of like subaru dodging a bullet with the 20 year long stretch of inevitable headgasket failures. When you think about the tiny problems that other manufacturers have gotten in the media, they're darn lucky. Saab had a very similar returning customer base but even they got fed up with the horrible partnerships and horrendous hommologations they went through in the last years and they never made it out alive.

If you're planning to use it as a bad weather/winter DD car here are some more reasons to avoid it. The angle gears are terrible on them. If they last 50,000km you're lucky. That means a lot of the XC70's on the road are running around without rear driveshafts for good reason. So if you want to keep AWD, just keep that in mind. Secondly, the AWD is a pretty terrible system. It's slow to transfer power to the rear which ends up with a ton of front wheel spin. The center diff also has it's own problems. Usually if you keep going through angle gears, it means your center diff is shot. It's just a very fragile system. If you ever get stuck in deep snow or mud you'll be smelling gear oil out of the angle gear vent in no time.

But in all this negativity I will say ONE nice thing about it. It's a beautiful high-speed cruiser on the highway. Set the cruise to whatever speed you want and the cabin is quiet, the squeaks of the interior go away, you aren't steering so the numb steering feel is gone, the transmission won't ever need to change out of 5th gear locked up because of all the torque from the tiny little turbo. And the seats... such glorious pieces of engineering. Volvos will and always have the best butt cradles out of any car manufacturer when it comes to long trip comfort.

...until they stop working and it gets stuck in your 5'0" mother's setting.
 

SoCalMonty

Explorer
A lot of poor advice here, unfortunately. While they have quirks, most cars do. Best to head over to Volvospeed.com, Turbobricks.com or Swedespeed.com and ask people with more experience.

The angle gears are only an issue if someone had a leaky gear case, or if you're making 450 horsepower and launching hard at drag strips...it's pretty easy to drop and re-seal (uses anaerobic sealant). Regular driving on a well-maintained car and you won't ever have an issue.

AWD slow to react?! It's nearly instantaneous, requiring as little as 1/15th of a wheel revolution to engage. It received a lot of praise when it was released. Haldex is used in some of the world's fastest and most powerful sports cars. The ones that sucked were 1st Gen XC70, which didn't use Haldex.

We currently have an '05 with 130k (as well as a 95 940 and 85 240). The 2nd generation Haldex AWD is really pretty good assuming you aren't rock-crawling. The Aisin-Warner transmissions in the P2 Volvos (2001-07) were unfortunately troublesome and clunky. Fresh fluid, external cooling, and software updates from the dealer will be the best ways to avoid trouble and make it as smooth as possible. Still, they can feel "confused" about shifting from N-1 and 1-N.

The engine itself is robust, powerful, smooth, and sounds amazing uncorked if that's your thing. They are also easy to modify; my last Volvo 5 cylinder was making 349hp to the wheels. In stock form, it's torquey down low and adequate, but top end passing power won't amaze you.

Do more research on enthusiast forums. These cars can be VERY expensive to maintain if you aren't willing to do a little homework and research. But if you're mechanically inclined and you can navigate the internet well, it will put you 1 step ahead.

In short, this will make a nice, fairly fuel efficient fire road explorer. But if you do any serious wheeling, this should be the daily commuter and not the ExPo rig. :)
 
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balexander87

Observer
This may seem a bit random, but you might consider the Ford Taurus X from the late 2000's. I seem to recall it is based on a platform Ford adopted from Volvo. Perhaps you can get a lot of the same perks (AWD and traction control tech) with the added benefit of a powertrain that any shop on any corner can work on.

Just a thought. My gearhead buddy has one and loves it.
 

SnoViking

Adventurer
We owned a CPO low-mileage one (44k miles) for almost a year; My wife really liked them and wanted it. I liked the car at first. It felt solid, didn't feel SUV slow, and had decent room. It didn't get great fuel mileage (19mpg best), but for an turbo AWD wagon, decent enough.

It started out well enough and then boom.... pretty much every component in the front suspension went out. It was my wife's DD and it was not "beat-on" by some high school kids. It was previously owned by a nice woman who I actually met while I returned some paperwork I found in the folded up 3rd row seat.

It went into the shop for a broken coil spring. Yup, broken. From there it continued to go down hill over the next month. Every time the mechanic tried to fix something, something else broke. At the end of month in the shop and almost $6500 in estimated bills, I had to basically threaten the shop/dealership with litigation and they bought the car back for what we paid for it. I'm fairly sure it was going to the crusher after we left....

Just my experience with an XC70....
 

SoCalMonty

Explorer
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They can be finicky, but they are nice when everything works right. P3 cars (2008+) could be had with 300hp/325tq from the factory.
 

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