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Should I Buy a Used Volvo? (My Opinion About Volvos)

Should I Buy a Used Volvo

image source: BringATrailer

Volvo is not a new name in the world of automobiles.

My first car was a used Volvo 240 GL like the image above, but with quad headlights. It had an automatic transmission, power windows and a sunroof. It was indestructible. My friends nicknamed it Tank.

I’m ashamed to admit that at the time I didn’t appreciate how good a car it was.

The Swedish automaker built its reputation by setting standards with innovative engineering for nearly a century.

Choose any year or model and you’re pretty much guaranteed a solid vehicle.

If I sound biased it’s because I am – Volvos are a worthy investment. Here are nine reasons why I think you should buy a used Volvo.

1. Incomparable Swedish Engineering

The Swedish flag.

Volvo’s headquarters is in Gothenburg, Sweden. The first Volvo rolled out of the factory in 1927. It was built to withstand the often harsh and brutal Swedish climate.

Volvo parts are engineered to last a long time. Lots of time and money is invested in getting these vehicles right. So much so in fact that the design of my car didn’t change from when it was introduced in 1974 until the end of the 240’s production run in 1993 – almost twenty years.

Volvo is synonymous with excellent build quality. You’ll be hard pressed to find rust and corrosion on a used Volvo. The company is so confident about its cars that it even offers an impressive 12-year unlimited mileage corrosion warranty.

Today, Volvos are still some of the toughest and most durable vehicles on the road.

2. Most Common Safety Features Came from Volvos

Young brother and sister in a Volvo's integrated child safety seats.

image source: VovloCars

Perhaps the top reason why Volvos always score so well in the new and used car market is safety.

The brand was the first to introduce many safety features we take for granted today, like three-point seat belts. This was introduced as early as 1959 in the Volvo Amazon and PV 544. The rear facing child car seat was introduced by Volvo in 1964.

My 1984 Volvo featured tall headrests. They’re designed to keep you from breaking your neck in the event of a rear-end collision. This feature has only recently became mainstream in automobiles.

The company also invented seatbelt reminders which if I remember correctly in my car was a red warning light that kept flashing until all occupants were buckled in.

Passenger side airbags? The 1994 Volvo 850 was the first production vehicle to feature it.

The latest safety features first introduced by Volvo also include roll-over protection and blind spot monitoring.

3. When It Comes to Reliability, My Car Wasn’t Called the Tank for Nothing

Blue late model Volvo 240 GL.

Volvos are crazy reliable.

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Mileage is an important consideration when purchasing a used vehicle. But the fact that Volvo’s CPO program (which we’ll get into here in a moment) eliminates any models with more than 80,000 miles shouldn’t deter you from considering a Volvo with higher mileage.

Besides, lower miles doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a better car. Cars like to be driven. If a car has less than 100,000 miles but it’s hardly ever driven. That could cause havoc to the driving line.

My 1984 Volvo 240 GL was the most reliable car I’ve ever owned. It had already done 124,000 miles by the time I got it. In the year I owned it, I never did one oil change. I even had two accidents and the car just shrugged it off and kept on motoring.

Just stay clear of troublesome years and you’ll find a reliable Volvo.

4. Volvos Don’t Require Frequent Maintenance, But When They Do It Can Be Expensive

A 1960s Volvo Amazon.

All cars eventually suffer break downs and will need to get fixed.

But on average, Volvos spend less time in a garage than vehicles from most manufacturers.

They also tend to suffer a break down much later than most vehicles on the road.

But I can tell you from experience that when it comes to repairs, Volvos are on the expensive side – these are luxury cars after all. Maintenance becomes an even more important subject as the age of the model you’re after goes up.

My Volvo was fourteen years old when I got it, so naturally parts needed repair or replacing. The brakes went out one day in December which caused me to wipe out on a curb. The car only suffered a bent rim.

The issue was a worn-out brake master cylinder which my parents fixed so I don’t know how much it cost. I just remember them commenting that the repair, plus the replacement rim was expensive.

According to Repair Pal a Volvo’s average maintenance cost is $769 annually. For reference, Toyotas cost half as much to maintain per year.

5. Volvo’s CPO Program Is One of the Best in the Biz

Three Volvo cars outside a Volvo dealership.

image source: BayWayVolvoCars

There’s a difference between just buying a used car and purchasing certified pre-owned.

A phrase you’ll hear a lot if going Volvo’s certified pre-owned route is that these used cars are nearly indistinguishable from new models.

Among other things, a certified pre-owned Volvo:

  • Must be less than five years old,
  • have less the 80,000 miles on the clock
  • and pass a rigorous 170+ point inspection.

Under the Volvo certified pre-owned program, every vehicle comes with a generous warranty providing total coverage that’s good for five years with, get this: unlimited miles.

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And the warranty is fully transferable, which should increase your Volvo’s resale value should you decide to sell within five years.

6. Volvos Have the Type of Comfortable Interiors You’ll Appreciate on Long Road Trips

Volvo's signature front seats from a new model.

Even though the stuffing from the driver’s seat of my 240 was coming out, I remember it being a comfortable car.

Volvo is famous for making what I’m going to say are the best automotive seats the world has ever seen. The influence of their design can be seen in vehicles today.

How has the company earned its reputation for comfort?

By offering really comfortable seats that somehow leave you feeling more relaxed after a trip than when you started.

You may also find it as interesting as I do that Volvo designs seats with orthopedic health in mind – how thoughtful.

7. You Can Rest Assured That When You Buy a Used Volvo, You’re Getting a Quality Car

Red Volvo S60.

image source: RoadandTrack

Buying a used Volvo means getting quality. And purchasing one through the company’s CPO program gives you the added confidence of buying a used Volvo that’s nearly indistinguishable from a new one.

One of the used Volvos that’s caught my interest the most is the S60. Not so much the latest generation with its sedate (read: boring) styling. But the generation produced between 2011 and 2018.

It features a lot of the same styling ques that also makes me like the third generation Mazda 3 so much, like a trunk area that terminates abruptly lending the car a sense of athleticism.

You can get a five-year-old model of the S60 with less than 60,000 miles for under $25,000. That’s impressive to me considering all you can get with it like all-wheel drive, leather appointments and a CrossCountry version that sits taller for off-roading. Don’t know about you, but I call that a bargain.

8. Volvos Offer a Smooth, Powerful and Comfortable Ride When It Comes to Performance

Volvo XC60.

image source: VolvoCars

But you shouldn’t necessarily expect a sporty drive – they’re not BMWs. Along with a comfortable ride, Volvo’s tend to be miserly on fuel consumption.

The latest Volvos feature supercharged, turbocharged and hybrid engines. And these days, Volvo even offers fully electric vehicle options like the XC40 Recharge which you can finally find on the used car market. It’s an eco-friendly four passenger SUV with a 402 HP electric motor and a 396 V lithium-ion battery with a 223-mile range.

No matter what you choose you can be assured of a smooth drive and smooth steering, underscoring Volvo’s luxurious personality.

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9. In Case I Haven’t Mentioned It, Volvos Are Feature Packed

The most modern interior of a Volvo.

image source: CarBodyDesign

Volvo always stuffs many features into the models it offers with the ultimate goal of enhancing your overall experience.

Those features include a high-performance audio system – even in my 240.

During the fall after the school year started, I picked up my friend Shawn to ride with me to school. As we were jamming out to the latest tunes, he was so impressed about the quality of the audio that he asked if I installed aftermarket speakers.  I told him, no. Everything about the car was bone stock.

State-of-the-art tech is what you can expect from a Volvo. The stereo in my car had an equalizer which was big stuff back in the 80s when the car was new.

Some of the best features you can expect in modern Volvos include Sensus Connect which is Volvo’s name for its touchscreen. You can get it with a landscape or portrait orientation for easier viewing.

But the truly innovative part is the natural speech recognition software. It’s on the heap of other technologies that make Volvos so appealing.


Well, that’s my small take on Volvos.

There’s a lot more I’d like to say about Volvo and perhaps a future post will give me the opportunity. For now just know that the Swedish automaker has built its reputation by setting standards with innovative engineering for nearly a century.

Choose any year or model and you’re pretty much guaranteed a solid vehicle.

As my final anecdote, personally I prefer buying used cars. Financially speaking, it just makes sense since most of the depreciation of a new car happens within the first year. Luxury vehicles lose their value even faster. Going into a used car buying situation, the ideal is to take delivery on a ride that’s proven reliable for a long time after it leaves the lot.

And if you’re in the market for a Volvo, considering the company’s generous Certified Pre-Owned, why would you want to buy used?

Volvos rank as one of the car brands with the least number of recalls. And they hold their value incredibly well.

Used Volvos prove the adage that shopping smart has serious benefits. Volvos are built to offer style and comfort while keeping you and your passengers safe.

In my opinion, Volvos are worth every penny.