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Updated Oct. 5, 2023

Navigating High Car Prices? Consider Older Volvo Models for Value and Reliability

In recent years, prospective car buyers have been facing the daunting challenge of exceedingly high prices for both new and used vehicles. The automotive industry has witnessed a surge in demand, supply chain disruptions, and semiconductor shortages, all contributing to the high prices of cars.

As a result, it has become increasingly important for consumers to explore alternative options to make a wise and more budget-friendly choice. One such option may be to consider older Volvo models, particularly those that are 5 years or older as a way to better fit the budget.

The Case for Older Volvo Models

I saw some numbers a while back that have stuck with me: an incredible 90% of Volvos made it to age 15 before being scrapped. Only Mercedes-Benz was better, edging it out with 91%. And a Volvo is expected to reach over 200,000 miles with regular maintenance.

These are pretty amazing statistics that point out just how strong Volvos should be considered as a used car purchase. They are built to last and therefore may provide a path for consumers to get more quality, safety, ownership duration and value for the dollar.

But first ...

Things To Do When Considering An "Older" Vehicle

Locate Lower Mileage Vehicles: They are certainly out there to be found with careful and patient shopping. Be willing to drive a distance if you have to.

Vehicle History and Maintenance: Ask for the vehicle history report (CarFax or AutoCheck) as well as documented maintenance and repair records. If not provided by the Dealer or private seller, it's usually best to move on.

Pre-Purchase Inspection: Have the vehicle independently inspected before making a final decision. This usually will cost in the $150-$200 range but is well worth it given the potentially thousands in savings over the long term.

Also, Always Know The Value Of Your Trade-In!

Whether you are trading or selling on your own, it's just a good idea ... even whether you are in the market or not at the moment. You can then use this important information for a number of purposes ... to negotiate with a dealer, or to know how to price your car in the retail market, or simply to know the value of one of your assets, which is always a good idea.

Getting trade-in values online tend to vary a lot from site to site. But I've found the one at Edmunds Trade-In Quotes is particularly comprehensive and accurate. It's free, it's quick and there's no contact by any third parties. I think what helps its accuracy is the inputs will include either your plate# or VIN#. They really focus in on the specific vehicle.

Older (5-10 years old) Volvo Models Worth Considering

Okay, here's a few of our favorites you may want to consider, assuming you shop patiently and search out the still remaining relatively lower mileage vehicles ... they are out there:

Volvo S60:

Price Range: $10,000 to $30,000 (price will vary depending on trim level, mileage, and condition of the vehicle.)

The Volvo S60 is a compact luxury sedan that combines Scandinavian elegance with a focus on safety and performance. It's known for its comfortable and well-appointed interior, solid build quality, and impressive safety features.

2017 Volvo S60

The S60 offers a range of engine options, including turbocharged and supercharged variants, providing a mix of power and fuel efficiency. While it may have limited rear-seat space in some models and its fuel economy may not be as competitive as newer models, the S60 is a reliable and stylish choice for those seeking a compact luxury sedan.

S60 Pros

Safety: Volvo has a strong reputation for safety, and the S60 is no exception. It comes equipped with advanced safety features, including driver-assistance systems like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking.

Comfort: The S60 offers a comfortable and well-appointed interior with supportive seats and high-quality materials. It also provides a smooth and refined ride quality, making it suitable for long journeys.

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Solid Build Quality: Volvo is known for its solid build quality, and the S60 is no different. It's a well-constructed vehicle that can withstand years of use.

Engine Options: The S60 offers a range of engine options, including turbocharged and supercharged variants. This allows buyers to choose the level of performance and fuel efficiency that suits their preferences.

Stylish Design: The S60 features Volvo's signature Scandinavian design, characterized by clean lines and a minimalist yet elegant aesthetic. It's a stylish and attractive sedan.

S60 Cons

Limited Rear-Seat Space: Some S60 models may have limited rear-seat space compared to competitors in the same class. Taller passengers in the rear might find headroom and legroom somewhat restricted.

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Fuel Economy: While the S60's fuel economy is competitive, it may not be as impressive as some other compact luxury sedans, especially in older models or those with more powerful engines.

Tech Features: Older S60 models may not have the latest technology features found in more recent luxury sedans. If advanced infotainment and tech are a priority, buyers might need to consider higher trim levels or newer model years.

Maintenance Costs: While Volvo vehicles are known for their reliability, maintenance and repair costs can be higher compared to non-premium brands. And regular maintenance is very important to keep the vehicle running smoothly.

Resale Value: The depreciation rate for luxury vehicles can be steeper compared to non-luxury counterparts. This can impact the vehicle's resale value over time.

Volvo XC60:

Price Range: $15,000 to $40,000

The Volvo XC60 is a compact luxury SUV that embodies the brand's commitment to safety, comfort, and style. It features an attractive exterior design, high-quality materials in the cabin, and good cargo space and rear-seat legroom.

2016 Volvo XC60

The XC60 is known for its smooth ride and strong safety features, making it a popular choice for families. However, some models may have a firm ride in certain trims, and older versions might lack the latest tech features. Overall, the XC60 is a versatile and well-rounded luxury SUV.

XC60 Pros

Safety: Like all Volvo models, the XC60 is known for its top-notch safety features and ratings. It includes advanced driver-assistance systems that enhance safety on the road.

Comfortable Interior: The XC60 offers a comfortable and luxurious interior with high-quality materials, supportive seats, and a quiet cabin. It provides a pleasant driving experience for both short trips and long journeys.

Versatile Cargo Space: The XC60 has a well-designed cargo area with ample space. The rear seats can be folded down to accommodate larger items, making it a practical choice for those with active lifestyles.

Smooth Ride: It provides a smooth and composed ride quality, making it suitable for daily commuting as well as road trips.

Choice of Powertrains: The XC60 offers various powertrain options, including efficient T5 and T6 engines, as well as plug-in hybrid versions for eco-conscious buyers.

XC60 Cons

Infotainment System: While the XC60's infotainment system is user-friendly, some may find it less intuitive than competitors' systems. And older models may have outdated technology.

Price: The XC60 is positioned in the premium segment, so it's priced at a premium to non-luxury compact SUVs.

Limited Third-Row Space: Some XC60 models may offer an optional third row, but it's not particularly spacious. It's better suited for occasional use by children.

Resale Value: Like other luxury vehicles, the XC60 may experience higher depreciation compared to non-luxury SUVs.

Volvo XC90:

Price Range: $20,000 to $50,000

The Volvo XC90 is a midsize luxury SUV known for its spacious and versatile interior, user-friendly infotainment system, and impressive safety features. It's designed with families in mind, offering ample room for passengers and cargo. The XC90 provides a comfortable and refined driving experience, with various engine options, including hybrid powertrains.

2018 Volvo XC90 T8 R

While some models may have limited third-row space and fuel economy may not be exceptional, the XC90's strong reputation for reliability and safety has made it a top choice in its class. It's a well-rounded and luxurious SUV for those seeking a combination of space and sophistication.

XC90 Pros

Spacious Interior: The XC90 boasts a spacious and luxurious interior with comfortable seating for up to seven passengers. It's one of the few SUVs in its class that offers a truly usable third-row seat.

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Advanced Safety Features: It comes equipped with Volvo's comprehensive suite of safety features, making it a top choice for families concerned about safety.

Impressive Cargo Capacity: The XC90 provides ample cargo space, and the rear seats can be folded down to create even more room.

User-Friendly Infotainment: The XC90 features a user-friendly infotainment system with a large touchscreen and smartphone integration.

Variety of Powertrains: Like the XC60, the XC90 offers a range of powertrains, including plug-in hybrid options for those looking to balance power and efficiency.

XC90 Cons

Price: The XC90 is positioned as a premium SUV and has a higher price compared to non-luxury competitors.

Fuel Economy: Fuel economy can vary depending on the engine choice, and larger engines may have lower fuel efficiency.

Maintenance Costs: Maintenance and repair costs will be higher as compared to non-premium brands.

Size: Its larger size can make parking and maneuvering in tight spaces more challenging compared to smaller SUVs.

Essentials When Considering An Older Volvo

Vehicle History: Obtain a comprehensive vehicle history report to check for accidents or major repairs.

Maintenance Records: Request maintenance records from the seller to ensure the car has been well-cared for.

Pre-Purchase Inspection: Invest in a pre-purchase inspection by a trusted mechanic to identify any hidden problems. Usually in the $150 - $200 range.

Budget For Maintenance: While older Volvos are generally reliable, they may require more maintenance as they age.

The Case for Even Older Volvo Models

And if you are willing to take on a larger risk and look even further back, perhaps these models are worth considering:

Volvo V70 Wagon: The V70 is an extremely versatile wagon. Whether you're looking for turbo charged power, comfortable transportation, sporty handling or off-road prowess, the V70 is an option.

2004 V70 R

Most popular is the XC70 Cross Country, while the 300-horsepower V70 R is the performance leader. Whatever model you choose, this wagon is well-built, comfortable, feature-laden and has an excellent reputation for safety.

Most of the used Volvo V70 models come from its second generation, produced from the 2001 to 2007 model years, and its third generation, produced from 2008 - 2016. Built on the same platform as the sleek S80 sedan, it also borrowed large portions of its interior layout from the S60 sedan.

Overall Pros: Lots of safety features, very comfortable front seats, nice balance of ride quality and handling, abundant cargo space, cool optional rear-facing third-row.

Overall Cons: Not a lot of luxury features except those equipped with options, tight rear legroom, adequate but unimpressive engines.

Volvo S40: It was the introduction in 2000 of the sleek S40 silhouette and its fun-to-drive personality that really began to redefine the Volvo image ... and immediately steal marketshare from their more prominent German competitors.

2007 Volvo S40

And with the second generation introduced midway through the 2004 model year, along with the debut of the turbo charged T5, the S40 became even sportier and more refined. Less expensive than its European luxury sport sedan counterparts, the S40 packs plenty of comfort, refinement, style and performance.

In addition to the redesign in 2004, other important equipment changes include stability control becoming standard for 2007, an upgraded audio system and the new blind-spot monitoring system for 2008, and a host of previous options becoming standard for 2009, including a sunroof, Bluetooth compatibility, 17-inch alloy wheels, a power driver seat, foglights and an 8-speaker stereo with satellite radio and a 6-disc CD changer.

Overall Pros: Sharp handling, long list of safety features, attractive interior and exterior designs, available all-wheel drive.

Overall Cons: Modest acceleration without the turbo, limited cabin storage, firm highway ride with optional sport suspension.

Volvo S60: In a segment dominated by V6 engines, the S60 is unique, offering three choices of five-cylinder turbocharged engines instead. It's smooth ride, incredibly comfortable orthopedically designed seating and extremely high crash test scores makes this a serious contender in the midsize luxury segment.

2008 Volvo S60

The first-generation S60 was produced for the 2001 through 2009 model years. It was first available in base 2.4, midlevel 2.4T and top-of-the-line T5 models. Under the hood of the 2.4 was a 2.4-liter five-cylinder engine that produced 168 horsepower, while the turbo 2.4T generated 197 hp. Powering the T5 was the most robust engine, a 247-horsepower 2.3-liter five-cylinder. An all-wheel-drive model, the 2.4T AWD, was added to the lineup for 2002.

After skipping 2010, a redesigned S60 returned for 2011 (and produced through 2018), originally available in T6 form only, while 2012 added the entry-level T5 and high performance T6 R-Design models.

Overall Pros: Excellent front-seat comfort, long list of safety and luxury features, good balance of handling and ride quality, available all-wheel drive.

Overall Cons: Doesn't have "sport sedan" handling, T5 turbo lag and torque steer, somewhat cramped rear legroom.

Volvo XC90: In case you haven't noticed yet, Volvo does things differently than the other top brands. This is also true when it comes to their SUV, the XC90. This vehicle pioneered Roll Stability Control with the 2003 model, using a gyro sensor to activate its stability control system to avert a potential rollover.

2008 Volvo XC90

Initially, the base engine was a 208-horsepower, 2.5-liter turbocharged inline five-cylinder (2.5T) which was paired with a 5-speed automatic. This was replaced with a 3.2-liter six-cylinder for the 2007 model year. There are also some twin-turbocharged 2.8-liter inline-6 T6 models that were produced from 2003 to 2005 that generated 268 horsepower and were mated with 4-speed automatic transmissions.

A 311-horsepower 4.4-liter V8 was added for 2005, while 2007 and 2008 saw a lively V8 Sport model with a sport-tuned suspenstion, 19-inch wheels, quicker steering, unique exterior trim and heavily bolstered front seats. This version was replaced with the R-Design model for 2009 which retained most of the Sport's features but could also be had with the smaller 3.2 engine as well. For 2010, the V8 version of the R-Design was discontinued.

Overall Pros: Comfortable drive, high-quality cabin materials, high safety ratings, lots of cargo space.

Overall Cons: Below average fuel economy, third-row tightens the second-row's space.

2002 Volvo S60 T5

Summing up, navigating the current high car price market can be a daunting task for car buyers. However, older Volvo models with their track record for reliability, safety, and value, could make a prudent choice that better fits your budget.

Just remember to be a patient and careful shopper and do your due diligence, and you could find yourself behind the wheel of a trusted and iconic brand that has stood the test of time.

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Other Older Models Of Possible Interest:
Older Acuras
Older Lexus
Older Audi
Older Volkswagens
Older Mercedes-Benz
Older BMWs
Older Porsches
Older Jaguars