Volvo Station Wagon

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Thinking about buying Volvo wagon - mechanical problems?

June 2006

We're thinking of getting a new or newer Volvo wagon and I'd like to know if other people are happy with theirs. Specifically have there been any mechanical problems? We bought a used '95 wagon in 2002 which has been nothing but repair after repair, including a new transmission! Each repair seems to be at least $800. However this car is older so I'm wondering how the newer Volvos are holding up. Thanks!
Tired of car repairs

We had a 2000 V70, bought in July 2000 as new and we've been very happy with it. It now has almost 90K miles and we only did the regular maintenance, no repair done so far. We love it and would not hesitate to buy another Volvo when our other car reaches the end of its life.

Had to reply to the Volvo wagon posting! We had a 2002 Volvo XC which we just sold after thousands of dollars worth of repairs. Everything was covered under the warranty, but the inconvenience was not worth it in the long run. In 2005 our Volvo was in the shop 6 times. My advice, think twice about buying a Volvo.
Will never buy another Volvo

My experiences are similar; I have had two older Volvo cars and have decided that I need to plan on $800 a year as maintnenace to be expected, plus the oil changes. Are we in the minority or majority?

3rd seat in Volvo Station Wagon

March 2002

We just became owners of a Volvo station wagon with a 3rd seat that faces towards the rear. Is it safe to put my 5 year old daughter in the rear seat? I don't believe I can put a booster seat in that seat, because I think booster seats are only designed for maximum safety when facing forward. However, the purpose of the booster seat is that the seat belt is properly positioned. When sitting in the 3rd seat, the seatbelt seems to fit my daughter perfectly without the booster seat. Even so, am I breaking the law because she is not yet 6 years old and not sitting in a booster seat? Daphne

I don't know for sure about the safety issue but I do know Volvo is supposed to be a really safe vehicle so I would have to guess they wouldn't put something in it that was not safe(maybe that is giving them to much credit. Although I don't know what would happen to her legs if you got rearended. Anyway as for the law it is until your child is 6 years or 60 pounds so if she is over 60 pounds you don't need to worry about the booster. Melinda

check this out. It is a letter from a person from Volvo about this very question. Hope this helps. anonymous

In response to Daphne-- who is interested in info about the 3rd seat in a Volvo-- the third seat is not necessarily very safe, in a rear-end accident. Recent articles in the newspapers about 3rd seats in general and rear impact being very deadly. Secondly, the 3rd seat has a weight limit of about 88 pounds(at least it used to have this limit.) Consequently, I would not personally put a child that weighs more than 40 or 50 pounds in the seat(2 seat belts etc., not sure at all, of how the safety tests are designed vis-a-vis all 80 pounds on a seat belt, versus two 40 pound children's weight being equally distributed.) Contact: alice

We have had a Volvo with a 3rd seat since 1989. On the age/car seat issue: We did not allow our children in the rear seat until they were old enough to be past the car-seat age. The law allowed children out of car seats after age 4 at the time, but we generally didn't let them use the rear seat until about age 6. Then they used it until they topped 80 lbs. On the general safety issue: Soon after getting our Volvo, we observed another wagon that had been in a rear end collision, where the rear was fully crunched. That gave us pause. After that, we only put kids in the rear seat for city driving, never on the freeway, where a rear end collision could cause that type of damage. We bought a van in 1997 when the kids got big, but the Volvo is still a great 2nd car. Anonymous

I don't have comments specifically about the 3rd seat in a volvo wagon, but I do have a similar car and was involved in a rear end collision a couple of years ago. I was at a stop sign in Montclair when someone behind me failed to see the stop and plowed right into me at about 30 miles per hour. Fortunately, I was not badly hurt and I did not have my children in the car at the time. If I had had a child in the third seat, I am sure they would either have been killed or had very serious injuries their legs.

Serious read end accidents don't just happen on freeways. The police officer taking the report told those involved (3 cars) that these types of accidents in congested areas such as Montclair are very common.

My advice is not to put a child in a third seat of a wagon such as a volvo. Instead, get a mini van with a 3rd set of seats. The Honda Odessey and the Toyota Sienna seem to have good safety records. Just my humble opinion. Charlotte

Minivan vs. Volvo Wagon

Feb 2006

We have a great newer Honda minivan but we are thinking about selling it and buying a slightly older Volvo wagon (again) with a third row seat(I know the pros and cons of 3rd seats). I was wondering if any of you who regularly drive three to four children have had the space of a minivan but went back to driving a wagon or sedan. I'd love your input. We do not want an SUV because of gas mileage and insurance cost increases (been there and didn't like it). Did the smallness of the space make you crazy? What did you like or dislike about either. Our children's ages are 7, almost 5 year and 18 months old.

The main reasons we are considering going back to a wagon is because I miss the feel of driving a car, and we can eliminate $8k consumer debt (I can't stand any kind of debt) which will allow me to go back to work by starting my own business this year. Thank you! Lauren I think the answer in part depends on how long you will drive your vehicle. We had a Volvo station wagon (bought when it was 5 years old) and drove it as our primary family vehicle for 10 years. I also have 3 children (13,10, 6). I LOVED my Volvo but it just got too small for the kids. On longer drives it was very difficult for all three of them to be in the middle seat. We had the third seat but when occupied it left little room for cargo and the child who had to sit in back felt banished. Kids prone to car sickness can't alway ride backward either. Lastly, there is a weight limit of 88 pounds per child in that third seat and pretty soon my oldest nor any of his friends could ride back there.

So we bit the bullet and got a Honda Odyssey and it has been great. In a pinch we can carry eight (good for carpools/fieldtrips/visitors). I read all the stats on the both vehicles and the Odyssey has nearly as much cargo room behind the third seat as the Volvo has behind the second seat (something like 18cf vs 19cf).

Bottom line - I think the Volvo wouldn't serve your needs too long... Good luck! Converted mini-van driver

Nov 2005

We want to get a new car (we have two 80's volvos) and want recommendations as to whether a newer volvo or a minivan would be the safer choice, and also any ideas of good places to go to buy the vehicle. Volvos have the safety reputation, but are they really a lot safer than minivans, and how do they compare in other ways? Also, our neighbor's volvo was made in Detroit and has had a lot of mechanical problems. Can someone explain which volvos are made in the U.S. and which ones are good mechanically? safety minded driver

Volvo is owned by Ford Motor Co. but Volvos are not built in Detroit. Volvo has manufacturing units in Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands. My wife loves the Volvo wagon - I can't persuade her to try a minivan. Michael

I was very opposed to getting a minivan, as it seemed too much like ''the thing to do once you have kids,'' but my husband really wanted it. We looked at the volvo too. We have the Toyota Sienna, and I really love it! Better gas mileage than the volvo (though not by much), wayyyy more comfy, and really easy to load stuff and haul kids around. I think it's more car for the money and frankly just as safe. We've also found it's an incredibly comfy car for long road trips. Going to LA doesn't seem quite as long as it did in our Subaru (which we also love, for different reasons). It's much easier to load/unload kids and gear than a wagon, and my husband & I don't have fights anymore when we pack for trips-just throw it in the back! Minivans are not exactly ''mini'' anymore, though. janet

Volvo Wagon vs. Eurovan

April 2005

I currently drive a subaru forrester which i love, though with our 2 children and dog we are bursting at the seams. We are planning to have another child and we are starting to look into other cars to have more space. One option is a used Volvo wagon, possibly a cross country wiht the 3rd row seating. I have had subarus all of my driving life so i am not familiar with volovos, if they are expensive to work on, reliable/unreliable...... Another option is a used Euro van weekender. This also can seat 7 and would carry our crew around comfortable im sure. But again, i have no clue what its like to have a VW. I think ive really only heard negative things about it, in terms of them not being reliable. Any thoughts would be great. cris

Volvos are nice vehicles, but not that reliable and expensive to fix. The April issue of Consumer Reports is devoted to cars, so you can check out the reliability ratings going back about 6 years.

The Eurovan is roomy but unreliable, and with so few of them sold, it may be hard to find parts or a competent mechanic down the road.

If your looking at the Eurovan, you should expand your search to other minivans. Yes, I said it. M-i-n-i-v-a-n. Take a deep breath. For 3 kids and a dog, there is simply not a more versatile vehicle. The sliding doors are convenient, they drive like cars and get decent gas mileage. And they are safe, especially the new ones with side-curtain airbags.

Station wagons are okay, but using the 3rd seat (which is not very comfortable) robs you of any storage space.

My recommendation would be a new or used Honda Odyssey (02 or later) or Toyota Sienna (04 or later) kixo