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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy everyone!

I've been lurking on these forums for years on and off tinkering with the idea of buying a Volvo. I'll probably be in the market later this year or early next year and I'm seriously considering a CPO probably a 2013 S60 T5 AWD, or possibly a T6 (maybe too thirsty?), or a wagon if I could snag one in my price range (low to mid 20s). I've always liked Volvo's style. I'm looking for something that will be comfortable to take on long trips and my 50 mile round-trip daily commute so Volvo's legendary seats would be nice. The AWD would also be handy a few times per year since I have a job that requires attendance no matter the weather. Throw some Nokians on there and I figure I'll be able to handle any poorly plowed road central CT has to offer.

So my main concern then is long-term reliability/likelihood of becoming a money pit. My plan is to hold on to this car for 10 years/200k miles at least. My research indicates Volvo is by far the most reliable of the European brands. The T5, auto tranny, and Haldex AWD systems appear to be tried and true. I do all my own preventative maintenance by the book, and I've owned a 2002 Jetta TDI in the past, so I'm not afraid of getting my hands dirty, but by no means am I a mechanic. On past cars I've done oil/filters, brakes, replaced drop links and some bushings, very minor exhaust work, ATF flushes using cooler lines, replaced spark/glow plugs and coolant sensors, but I'd draw the line at say a timing belt, turbo replacements, or drive line component replacements unless I had a very detailed how-to guide/video. I'd be afraid of getting stuck with a broken bolt or something and not having the knowledge or tools to fix it properly.

Reading threads like this one, it seems many of the issues that pop up are relatively minor and are taken care of by the warranty. Since Volvo CPO warranty seems to be pretty much bumper-to-bumper I figure those little things will be taken care in the first 100K miles.

But what about north of 100K miles? What have your or other owners' experiences been? I under stand it probably won't be Honda/Toyota-reliable but I'd hope it would be much better than BWM/Audi. The trade off will be keeping me entertained with a more comfortable but engaging driving experience!

Many thanks,

Scott
 

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My experience with older Volvos is to expect a little worse than older Toyota/Honda reliability (I've had good and bad examples of both) but more like BMW/Audi repair cost. Getting a VIDA/DICE setup for diagnostics is a huge benefit to the DIYer and opens up the range of what you can handle. Mechanically speaking I think Volvos are pretty easy to work on as modern vehicles go.
 

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Only a few on here have reached the 100k mark so far (none in a 2013 AFAIK) and they report no real issues. I havd read about a few XC60's well into the 100's, but only a few, and should be taken with a grain of salt, simce sample size is small. It will be anyones guess since the '13 are at most 3 years old, so you will get the answer you choose to get, since its everyones opinion at this point. I say go for it, and worry about it later. By the time your warranty is up, big expensive parts should be inexpensive used, greatly reducing cost.
 

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Welcome to swedespeed!

Like the others have suggested, it's really hard to tell how reliable the current generation of cars will be long-term. What I can tell you is that I have been driving Volvo's for twenty years now and generally newer generations have been more reliable than the generations that preceded them.

AWD is somewhat of a newer technology in Volvos (since 1997) but by now is pretty tried and true. The earlier viscous coupling system that was somewhat finicky was replaced by haldex, which has been continually refined and improved on to the version that is in the current generation cars.

Volvo was a pioneer in turbocharging technology (since 1981) so they are pretty bulletproof.

Volvo still uses timing belts so plan on that expense though the interval has been lengthened from 70k miles with the first five cylinder motor 20+ years ago to 120k miles now I think.

Like with most cars, get the newest one you can afford and try and find one that has good service records and appears to have been well kept and not abused. Staying up to date on maintenance and service is important as you don't want a lot of deferred items to accumulate. I do all of the regular maintenance items and bring my car to a local independent shop for timing belts and items like that.

There is a wealth of information on these threads. Good luck on your search!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the reply, guys! Much appreciated!

While I've got my eye on a 2013 I'm interested for any information on the late 2000s and onward. I understand there were some differences between generations, but I'm guessing those were largely cosmetics and the underlying systems (engine, trans, drive train) didn't change too much. Or maybe they did change significantly and experiences with late 2000s Volvos doesn’t apply to the 2012+ models…

Usually forums are filled with all kinds of horror stories because it’s mostly the people with problems that post (and of course the enthusiasts who are crazy about their cars!). This forum and other Volvo forums just don’t appear to have a high number of these types of posts. Most complain about nagging issues the dealer or VCNA takes care of under warrant, no questions asked. Go on any BMW or Audi or VW forum and you’ll see what I’m talking about. So this tells me either the Volvos are fairly reliable (closer to Japanese end of the spectrum as opposed to the German end), or Volvo owners are well off group and are simply happy to pay the dealer thousands to fix problems (or that they dump their cars before the warranty expires). I’m hoping it’s the former!

Also, I’m used to the VW TDI community (TDIclub). Those guys put on some mega miles quickly, which is the reason they choose diesels. It seems the Volvo community puts on mega miles but at a slower pace! I drive about 18K miles per year and I’m considering going back to a TDI but the general concerns about VW quality always worry me. It seems very hit or miss and always has been – some go 300K with nothing but normal stuff, others have awful problems (probably most the universally awful dealer service departments). And the new emissions control systems o the new TDIs add a lot of complexity. A lot of former TDI diehards have moved away from VW/diesels due to quality issues and complexity. I can get a 2-3 year old CPO Volvo with <30K miles on it with a 7yr/100k warranty for about the same cost as a new Jetta TDI. I’d rather pay more at the pump in exchange for more reliability and a much nicer driving experience, and AWD will be a nice extra.

Sorry for being so long winded. I hope the information I provided gives you a better idea of the information I’m interested in.

Thanks again,

Scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Also, other vehicles I've got my eye on:

Mazda 6 (2014+) - sporty chassis, fuel efficient. Cons: engine down on power, no AWD, and the "Skyactiv" engine hasn't been around long enough to provide long-term quality data.

Jetta TDI (2015+) - fuel efficient, diesel torque, new EA288 engine seems to have solved issues in previous generation, DSG transmission issues mostly sorted at this point (would get manual except for wife's inability to drive on and unwillingness to learn). Cons: DSG does require rather complicated fluid change procedure; very specific engine oil requirement which isn't cheap; no AWD; $2500K DPF/SCR replacement north of 200K miles is guaranteed; and general reliability worries.

Infiniti G37x (2012+) - good reliability, luxury-ish, sporty chassis, powerful. Cons: poor fuel economy and requires premium, good aftermarket support but dude-bro image of many owners is a turn off, no folding rear seats is a bummer.

Acura TL SH-AWD (2012+) - good reliability, good AWD system. Cons: exterior styling is questionable, interior has 747-worthy number of buttons, don't think rear seats fold, AWD models very difficult to find and a bit pricy.
 

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My local dealer has a '12 S60 T5 for sale with 112k miles. First one I've seen with that many miles (38k/year), but it looks good and has detailed service history. This dealer sells plenty of Volvos with 100k+. No reason at all to think this generation would be any worse than the others.
http://www.carfax.com/VehicleHistory/p/Report.cfx?partner=CPV_0&vin=YV1622FS9C2080300
Of course there's no guarantee any car with high miles is going to be cheap and trouble free, but I think an S60 is a pretty good bet. If you find a well cared for example and keep up the maintenance it should last. One big plus with Volvos is that they don't seem to rust, so even when they start to need fixing, they still look respectable.

And the AWD on the S60 is excellent. Gets you through anything in the winter and provides confident and entertaining handling the rest of the time.
 

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Thanks for the reply, guys! Much appreciated!

While I've got my eye on a 2013 I'm interested for any information on the late 2000s and onward. I understand there were some differences between generations, but I'm guessing those were largely cosmetics and the underlying systems (engine, trans, drive train) didn't change too much. Or maybe they did change significantly and experiences with late 2000s Volvos doesn’t apply to the 2012+ models…

Usually forums are filled with all kinds of horror stories because it’s mostly the people with problems that post (and of course the enthusiasts who are crazy about their cars!). This forum and other Volvo forums just don’t appear to have a high number of these types of posts. Most complain about nagging issues the dealer or VCNA takes care of under warrant, no questions asked. Go on any BMW or Audi or VW forum and you’ll see what I’m talking about. So this tells me either the Volvos are fairly reliable (closer to Japanese end of the spectrum as opposed to the German end), or Volvo owners are well off group and are simply happy to pay the dealer thousands to fix problems (or that they dump their cars before the warranty expires). I’m hoping it’s the former!

Also, I’m used to the VW TDI community (TDIclub). Those guys put on some mega miles quickly, which is the reason they choose diesels. It seems the Volvo community puts on mega miles but at a slower pace! I drive about 18K miles per year and I’m considering going back to a TDI but the general concerns about VW quality always worry me. It seems very hit or miss and always has been – some go 300K with nothing but normal stuff, others have awful problems (probably most the universally awful dealer service departments). And the new emissions control systems o the new TDIs add a lot of complexity. A lot of former TDI diehards have moved away from VW/diesels due to quality issues and complexity. I can get a 2-3 year old CPO Volvo with <30K miles on it with a 7yr/100k warranty for about the same cost as a new Jetta TDI. I’d rather pay more at the pump in exchange for more reliability and a much nicer driving experience, and AWD will be a nice extra.

Sorry for being so long winded. I hope the information I provided gives you a better idea of the information I’m interested in.

Thanks again,

Scott
Our pace is about 28,000 miles a year, were currently at 62,000 miles, with no major issues. We had an Audi before, and can attest to the issues we had in the same amount of miles. The short list is a hood latch and gas door lock (out of warranty), and it burned a quart of oil every 800 miles (never resolved). So by comparison the Volvo has been solid, with only needing a fuel pump and new front rotors, both under warranty. We have been out of warranty for 12k and so far so good. I am only one example, so take it lightly, buy you should be fine.
 

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My '12 S60 T5 just turned to 107K this morning. So far, so good. Only normal maintenance. The front rotors were replaced around 40K and again around 98K. The rear rotors were replaced at 98K. The rear pads were down to 5% at 98K, while the front pads still had 25% life on them at 98K. Did the spark plug change at 75K (make sure you use the Volvo plugs - I didn't and I had some misfires during hard acceleration). Been through several sets of tires, but nothing out of the ordinary. Only annoyances have been the AC compressor drone, the *very* occasional hiccup by the tranny (gets confused as to what gear to be in), wear of the front beechwood leather seat side bolsters (had the front seats replaced due to wear around 50K), the rattling front door panels due to the stereo's bass, and I had to have something electrical replaced on the top of the interior trunk area, as I broke it off when I was loading something large into it (bad design). I'm currently averaging 24 MPG in mixed suburban driving and 31 MPG on pure highway driving on premium.

I'm not looking forward to the 120K timing belt replacement cost. Barrington Volvo said it would be around $750.

My car still gets looks and compliments wherever I go, and there is suddenly another vibrant copper S60 T5 in my area now too!
 

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Also, other vehicles I've got my eye on:

Mazda 6 (2014+) - sporty chassis, fuel efficient. Cons: engine down on power, no AWD, and the "Skyactiv" engine hasn't been around long enough to provide long-term quality data.

Jetta TDI (2015+) - fuel efficient, diesel torque, new EA288 engine seems to have solved issues in previous generation, DSG transmission issues mostly sorted at this point (would get manual except for wife's inability to drive on and unwillingness to learn). Cons: DSG does require rather complicated fluid change procedure; very specific engine oil requirement which isn't cheap; no AWD; $2500K DPF/SCR replacement north of 200K miles is guaranteed; and general reliability worries.

Infiniti G37x (2012+) - good reliability, luxury-ish, sporty chassis, powerful. Cons: poor fuel economy and requires premium, good aftermarket support but dude-bro image of many owners is a turn off, no folding rear seats is a bummer.

Acura TL SH-AWD (2012+) - good reliability, good AWD system. Cons: exterior styling is questionable, interior has 747-worthy number of buttons, don't think rear seats fold, AWD models very difficult to find and a bit pricy.
The only cars on that list that I have experience with are the TDI and the G37. My inlaws have a Sportwagen TDI and really like it for family hauling. My father has the G37xS. It's a performance monster and I think a very well-refined one at that. I would have a hard time if I were choosing between that and a S60 T6 AWD. My dad's one major complaint (aside from the 22mpg average that you already know about) is the S-trim seats. They're adjustable as all get-out but apparently very very hard and no fun at all after the first hour or so. This is coming from a guy who drove two Volvos before that car. If you aren't going for the sport trim it might be better?
 

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I understand the concern, I was apprehensive as well when I bought mine especially since I do over 25,000 miles/year. In the end, I felt the CPO warranty was enough piece of mind, and so far the car has been fine. The only warranty issue was a problem with a module in the infotainment system which was repaired. I have put 18,000 miles on the car since the first of the year (it had 3K when I got it) and it is as tight as when I bought it, aside from the terrible Continental tires. As others have said, buy the newest, lowest mileage CPO you can afford. I would think you could get a 2014 T5 with less than 15K on it for under $25K depending on options. I'd also stick to the proven 5 or 6 cylinder engines for now, the new 4 cylinders are much more efficient but long term dependability is obviously unknown. Good luck!
 

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Only a few on here have reached the 100k mark so far (none in a 2013 AFAIK) and they report no real issues. I havd read about a few XC60's well into the 100's, but only a few, and should be taken with a grain of salt, simce sample size is small. It will be anyones guess since the '13 are at most 3 years old, so you will get the answer you choose to get, since its everyones opinion at this point. I say go for it, and worry about it later. By the time your warranty is up, big expensive parts should be inexpensive used, greatly reducing cost.
Exactly this!

scotthershall, I was making the same decision 5 mo ago. My commute is 34 miles one way/day and will remain this high for the next at least 3-4 years. I'm planning on doing close to 20k/ year, including all the trips to inlaws and such.

I bought a CPO '13 T5 AWD premier w/ heated seats and 16k miles for $24.9k. Keep in mind, this was 5 months ago. I also wanted AWD because I HAVE TO come to work every day and I live in Wisconsin. I'm planning on getting Pirelli Scottozero 3. I'm actually excited for the bad weather this year :)

Since you want an AWD vehicle, 4 cylinder engines are really out of the question. Even if that wasn't the case, I would still opt for an I5 engine due to its reliability and ~20 years old proven design. Yes, fuel savings and the 8 speed tranny would be nice, but I think (hope!) that the extra reliability will compensate for it in the long run. Plus I really like its sound compared to a cylinder. 6spd is very good too. My commute is 24 miles highway @ 75-79mph + 10 miles through city, relatively low speed but smooth sailing. No hills, Wisconisn is as flat as it gets and I'm averaging 28-28.5mpg per trip computer (so minus ~1mpg) using Shell's premium V Power Nitro gas. I'm going to try using 87 one of these days, just out of curiosity.

I have had some minor issues with the car, but Volvo took care of it quickly and to my satisfaction. I have also purchased a Volvo maintenance wear&tear plan covering 100k miles/7 years for 3k.

Remember, Volvo is not an economy vehicle. My wife's daily commute is ~50 miles one way and she drives a '15 Sentra. We got a great deal on it and she loves it. It's a nice economy car, has everything you need and more. It's 90% as comfortable as volvo, handles ok, soaks up bumps much better than my S60. Slightly underpowered, but with 38mpg she is averaging and regular gas vs. premium, her cost of commuting per mile is literally half of mine. This applies to most of maintenance costs also. I'm about to buy winter wheels and tires for our cars and her set comes to ~$800 vs $1,400 for my 'vo. Do I regret getting a Volvo? No, I love it. But it's costing me ~$350 more per month compared to getting a not-so-exciting economy car. Decision is yours though, do what you can afford and makes you happy. Every day I open my garage door I get a <s>chub in my pants</s> smile on my face and my otherwise miserable drive suddenly becomes enjoyable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
This is great info! Thanks for ALL the replies! Sounds like Volvo makes a pretty solid vehicle. Your positive experiences, and the fact that you folks have some good post counts which tells me you've been around this forum for a while and haven't see much in the way of negative trends, are very helpful.

I currently drive a 2009 Prius and the only thing I'll miss will be the fuel mileage and the low maintenance cost. I'm fairly good at eeking out MPGs but my fuel cost will just about double; not so bad now but if gas goes north of $4 again, it will hurt. At 125K, knock on wood, it's never needed anything but fluids, filters, and tires. Still got about 25% left on the brakes. But man... it's just the most boring driving experience, and it's getting uncomfortable. I have snow tires but it's terrible in the snow; I make it work but the un-defeatable traction control (unless you know how to put the car into "inspection mode" which I use) makes it borderline unsafe. The T5 will feel like a rocket ship in comparison!

djstorm - good to know about the timing belt cost. That was in the back of my mind. Got a few indie Euro garages around me which would hopefully be able to did it for a bit less. I was wondering if it was worth going with the T6 for the timing chain... The increased fuel consumption would probably cost more than the TB... and chains aren't 100% fool proof well Audi's aren't anyway.

zircular - thanks for the heads up about the seats and confirmation on the fuel econ. My bony rear end will not like super-hard seats; I just want something firm and with good lumbar support. And I just couldn't do 22MPG. 28MPG will be a kick in the pants as it is.

PeterNa - your last sentence... awesome! I miss that. I used to have it with my 2002 Jetta TDI. Yeah, it was not a luxury car by any means but it put a smile on my face. Should have never got rid of that car... Anyway, fuel mileage is the reason I'm entertaining another TDI given VW's general issues, and the Mazda 6. I've been driving FWD cars for this long, and with a good set of snow tires I'll probably be fine, but having AWD would put all those worries to rest. Part of me wishes I could be happy in a Sentra or similar, but it's just not going to happen. Thanks for all the good info.

Scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
PeterNa said:
I have had some minor issues with the car, but Volvo took care of it quickly and to my satisfaction. I have also purchased a Volvo maintenance wear&tear plan covering 100k miles/7 years for 3k.
I understand the CPO warranty is exclusionary but covers many items beyond a traditional "power train warranty." I'd guess the maintenance plan covers everything else. Do you know what the CPO warranty exclusions are? Perhaps the CPO covers less than I'm thinking, making the maintenance plan a good idea... but $3k is quite a bit of coin.

Thanks,

Scott
 

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I understand the CPO warranty is exclusionary but covers many items beyond a traditional "power train warranty." I'd guess the maintenance plan covers everything else. Do you know what the CPO warranty exclusions are? Perhaps the CPO covers less than I'm thinking, making the maintenance plan a good idea... but $3k is quite a bit of coin.

Thanks,

Scott
From my conversation with sales and service people it sounds like it's comparable with volvo's 50k regular warranty that comes with the car. I'm sure there are little things that are not covered, but being on this forum I've have never heard someone complaining that they had an issue with a car and it wasn't fixed because CPO doesn't cover it. Volvo and (I think) Hyundai also constantly win awards for their CPO programs....

Now my negative experience -- dealership where I got it did a rushed CPO inspection job and my car's 12V power outlets were not working. I went on this forum and it sounds like a bunch of people have had a blown fuse for 12V outlets. So I call my local dealership to see if I can stop by and get it changed (they were down the road from my old job) and they tell me yeah, but it's going to cost 30min of labor - $65. 65 dollars for a f*#%$*g fuse!! My car is still in factory warranty, so it wasn't even a CPO warranty issue. Their rationale was that I could have overloaded so fuses are not covered. I spent 10 min reading a manual to find out which one to change, drove up to napa and spent 50c on a fuse that I changed myself in 30 sec. With that being said, when it came to more important matters, the same dealership handled it well and quickly.

3k is a lot. comes to 50 bucks a month when added to my car payment. The way I thought about it is that my car will be covered for warranty AND maintenance as long as I have payments on it. I should be at 100k right about the time when my warranty and payments end. It makes me feel better because with a certain monthly payment (other than tires) I should have no worries about my car (in theory). It will save me time looking for parts and finding ways to fix stuff myself and at the end of the term I have a running car with a complete Volvo maintenance done on it. At that point I can sell it at a premium, or keep it going knowing it was properly taken care of. Just the way I thought about it.

I found that there is a very poor selection of new vehicles at that 23-25k range. There's always something wrong with them - burning oil, not so great crash test ratings, underpowered... they just don't stack up against an AWD S60. Once you test them back to back you will see that Volvo is in a completely different league.I would think that you should be able to get a 13 T5 AWD with 15k miles for around 22.5 now if you look and negotiate. It's just the ongoing gasoline and maintenance cost that make it somewhat bittersweet at times.
 

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FWIW re: MPG of the 4cyl vs the 5 cyl. It's not that much different on the freeway. Real world in flat Ohio the 5 cyl loaner gets 35 MPG and my T5e 4 cyl gets 38 MPG. Same road, same temp, cruise set on 65-70, A/C on.
 

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I understand the CPO warranty is exclusionary but covers many items beyond a traditional "power train warranty." I'd guess the maintenance plan covers everything else. Do you know what the CPO warranty exclusions are? Perhaps the CPO covers less than I'm thinking, making the maintenance plan a good idea... but $3k is quite a bit of coin.

Thanks,

Scott
My response to coverage costs like that is to self insure.
 

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If you can, I'd look for a MY14 or newer. You'll get the improved transmission mapping as well as the TFT display and some exterior design changes.
 

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If you can, I'd look for a MY14 or newer. You'll get the improved transmission mapping as well as the TFT display and some exterior design changes.
'14 got a new 8 spd transmission to go with 4 bangers, but I wasn't aware that there were changes made to 6spd. Perhaps you were thinking '12->'13 transmission programming changes? or am I missing something?
 

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'14 got a new 8 spd transmission to go with 4 bangers, but I wasn't aware that there were changes made to 6spd. Perhaps you were thinking '12->'13 transmission programming changes? or am I missing something?
Not until 2015 for the 8 speed and Drive E motor - 2014 T5 was still the 5 cylinder and 6 speed automatic.
 
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