Monday, March 20, 2017

The (Now) Old XC70 Volvo Wagons

2004 XC70

2013 XC70

42 comments:

  1. I was curious as to when you were going to raise the fact that the XC70 has been discontinued I know you're fond of that model as I am. My wagon has 130,000 miles and at some point I will have to replace it, but after taking a look as its replacement (V90), I'm not a fan. I was wondering what others think about this sad turn of events from Volvo. I'm so attached that I want to drive mine forever!

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  2. I like the new XC90 , but the price has gone up a lot ...........

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  3. Station wagons of any make are scarce now, probably because consumers would rather have an SUV, a sort of tall station wagon. But most are rather small (shorter, wider, taller).

    As a matter of fact, we replaced my wife's 1998 V70 after it had been side-swiped and the car was totaled. It did have over 130,000 miles on it, though, and was going to need brakes. One factor in choosing a new car was that my wife's 95 year old mother had to be able to get in and out of the car, which largely eliminated an SUV. So we got a Volkswagen "Sportwagen." Nice but small.

    We went through the same thing a year ago when we replaced my V40, which had nearly 150,000 miles on it. It was developing problems. I chanced to rent a Ford SUV when it was in the shop and ended up buying that model. It's okay. Relatively economical and easy to drive but nothing you'd love. The only thing my wife said when I was deciding on what to buy was, "you're not getting a Mercedes," and "please don't get a pickup truck." Mercedes does have a nice station wagon in their lineup, though, and so does BMW.

    I had considered a VW wagon a year ago but that was when VW was having it's problem with diesel emissions. It happened that the man who discovered that VW was tinkering with the emissions was from West Virginia University, where I went to school. But another man, writing in the WVU Alumni magazine, rightly pointed out that the whole thing was really silly, given how many VW diesels are probably on the road compared with the huge number of diesel engined trucks on the road (including Volvos).

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    1. The scarcity of wagons was a problem when I bought my XC70 back in '09. We now have 3 large dogs and they all fit nicely into the squared off back compartment of my Volvo while other wagons' rear space was either too short or cut off by a slanting rear window design. The body style of the new V90 is appealing (a lower version of the XC90), but it now has the slanted rear window too! Everyone is raving about the interior design and while it is beautiful, it's a bit too luxury for me. I'm not a fan of all the bells and whistles which seem to be increasing with every new model. I have a dealor scouting around for a XC70 leftover, but I don't think we'll be getting rid of our '09 with 130,000 miles anytime soon - the sportiness suits my style and taste! I'm wondering what other people drive who have more than one large dog.

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    2. I couldn't agree more about the new body shape. We have an '07 V50 though I much prefer the older boxier shape of the V70, especially that flat back. I have some work to do on convincing him I need an even older car. Next time...

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    3. "...and was going to need brakes". I just had the brakes refreshed (rotors & pads) on my '98 XC70 - $485 total charged by a moonlighting certified technician. Seems a reasonable cost to keep driving the old girl.

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  4. I have an XC90 and love it. I like the V90...but the price tag...ouch!

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  5. The price of the new V90 is outlandish and the design is 'aggressive'. They threw the classic "boxy but beautiful' design cues out the window and ended up with an overstuffed cruiser that resembles Dodge Charger more than the family touring wagon we've all come to love. I have a 2003 XC70 with 56,000 miles on it and it's a wonderful machine....simple, powerful, agile, and most practical. The newer models have so many 'luxury' features as to be embarrassing and invite uncomfortable questions.

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    1. I don't mind the luxury, depending on what you mean when you use the word. For instance, is an automatic transmission a luxury? Don't answer until you've driven a six-speed manual--with right-hand drive! Leather seats are nice, though, but one of the few requirements my wife had was that it had to have heated seats and we don't even live in the North.

      Beauty is a matter of taste but some of the styling features on virtually all cars have their shortcomings. On a sedan, actually using the trunk to bring groceries home from the supermarket is challenging. And carrying large pieces of luggage is next to impossible. But that's why we all buy station wagons, isn't it? Especially when our wives won't let us have a pickup truck!

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    2. I'm laughing about the pickup truck which is de rigueur for my husband, but I try not to ever drive it! Now there's where luxury gets really ridiculous. To me, they should be the essence of utility.

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    3. Perhaps it is " de rigueur " for people in your part of the nation, but in the South, the Midwest, the pickup is a "way of life." It is us " smart aleck college edumacated folks" who drive Volvos....

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  6. I considered a Volvo station wagon, but it certainly isn't the same car as everyone fell in love with in the 80s and 90s. I found that my Subaru Outback has much the same feel with simple, straightforward electronics and isn't overwhelmed by gizmos and gadgets. Very comfortable ride if a bit underpowered.

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    1. Underpowered is an understatement. The Subaru also makes rattle noises and sqeeks after three years just like a box of bolts. I heard strange sounds at start up, going over bumps and when I close the doors. Subaru makes a bar bones low budget reliable car.

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    2. I'll concede that my Subaru is under powered, but after 3 years and nearly 60k miles on rutted and potholed New England roads it's still tight and true.
      The design of the new V90 and V90 Cross-Country may be polarizing, and expensive (Volvo seems to be targeting the E-Class Wagon), but at least Volvo is still selling wagons and giving American consumers options other than SUV's.

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    3. Anon @ 9:41, there's something wrong with your Subaru.....I have never had a problem with our Outback. The 4 cylinder is underpowered for certain situations, but very comfortable ride.

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  7. To tie a few threads together, I am selling my VW Sportwagen back to VW as part of the emissions scandal buyback. I looked at older Volvo wagons as a replacement (my heart is still in the 80's of New England where I grew up), but found instead a specialist dealer in Jeep Grand Wagoneers. I found a beautiful 1989 with a remanufactured engine and new almost everything, at a price still well below most Volvos. Certainly some drawbacks, but the tinkering time is well worth the joy of tootling around town in all my carbureted glory.

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  8. I miss my 1985 240 Volvo wagon. It was a classic and deserved a place in the Smithsonian Museum of American History. It had tray mats which were great for kids with muddy soccer cleats as well as my daughter and her friend's muddy paddock boots after a day at the horse farm. It also sported mud flaps on the rear wheels. I never got tired of its graphite gray paint which held up so well even after 16 years. When it would not pass the emissions inspection, my husband insisted we needed to replace it. The V70 wagon which we got next was never the equal of the 240 in my opinion. It now resides at my daughter's house and is still being cared for by our trusty independent Volvo service guy. We have switched to driving an Audi Q5 and love it, but I'll never forget the 240.

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    1. I own a 1991 Volvo 240 going on 200,00 miles. I love it - no bells and whistles, big and boxy. My mechanic tells me you can't wear it out and encourages me to keep. Am planning on it.

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    2. My 1991 Volvo 240 wagon, it only had 200K miles on it, WHY did I ever sell it? I could fit a sofa and 2 chairs in the back, haul tons and tons of heavy cargo, it did everything I asked it to do, never broke down, and beautiful? A beautiful uncomplicated box that turned on a dime, peripheral vision like no other vehicle I've ever had, including my much loved current Subaru Forester which [to: BlueTrain] my husband drove yesterday to transport his 95 year old mother to/from appointments, the height of the front passenger seat is perfect for her to easily get in/out.

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    3. Yes, I loved that fact that I could fit a 6-foot long sofa in the back of the 240. You could not do that with the V70 as it is shorter. I also loved the 240's turning radius - the best. I never tired of its iconic boxy shape.

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  9. Actually, I can't remember if the 1985 Volvo wagon was called a DL or a 240.

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  10. My wife drove an XC70 for over a decade. It was the most comfortable vehicle for long road trips and just a great handling car. It did have its share of problems though and eventually it just wasn't worth the upkeep. In contrast, I drive a much older truck that has no bells and whistles and does leak a touch of oil, but I think will live forever. My favorite looking vehicles are land rovers, but they've got nothing on an old land cruiser. GLH

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    1. We owned an '81 FJ40 Land Cruiser Sport, an '87 4-door J70 Land Cruiser, and presently, a '95 Land Rover Defender. Of those three vehicles, the '87 Land Cruiser was the best by far...and then it went the way of all other practical off-road vehicles - upscale and expensive.

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    2. The '87 4-door J70 was such a great looking vehicle too. Mine is an FJ80. Toyota had started the move to luxury, but the FJ80s were still built like tanks.

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    3. Our 2012 Land Cruiser is the bomb for family road trips and two dogs. Pricey but worth it. Also perfect for towing a big 6k lb boat. Worth the price tag all around!

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  11. I think it was both. Mine was a black with tan interior, stick shift DL 240 or XDL 340, can't remember which. Replaced the muffler every 2 years. It was the best; I loved that car! It was dependable in Chicago winters and got me to the suburbs every weekend. At well over 100,000 miles it got some sort of electric illness that no one could fix. It did attract a lot of parking tickets. I miss that car.

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    1. Mine was a stick shift as well. We had to special order it because the dealer had no standard shifts in stock, so our local dealership had it shipped from a Canadian dealership!

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  12. I used to hate volvo wagons when I was younger, but have since come around to them, only to be disappointed in the last year or two with the new designs. My parents had a maroon 1983 wagon - it was noisy, boxy, and had horrible body roll. In the 1990s Volvo improved, and I came around to the newer, lower-profile, wider wheelbase style. Now that I'm older and in a position to buy a "new" old Volvo (as a New Englander, I would never buy a "new" Volvo only to see it depreciate once I left the dealership), I'm not very excited about the new styles, especially the V70. They're too rounded, and don't have the square, classic styling one associates with a Volvo wagon. I guess I'll have to look in the Want Ads for a 2008-2012 Volvo V70 Cross Country.

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  13. Would love a Volvo, but the price today puts a retired Texas teacher out of the market. Heck, it puts active Texas teachers out of the market. We love the station wagon for our needs and settled on the Subaru Outback and love it....but if we could afford it, we would drive a XC70.

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  14. Oh how I love a wagon! A classic car if there ever was one.

    Our 2006 XC70 is going strong with 110+k miles and perfect for my soon to be 16 year old daughter to drive and then will be the beater car for my now 14 yo son. My only issue with the Volvo was that I had to replace the transmission at 85k miles. In the 2006 model year I think they used a lot of Chinese parts or were Chinese owned, anyway the quality went down, thus no more Volvos for me.

    I bought the Mercedes wagon 2 years ago and thoroughly enjoy it, it's gorgeous and comfortable and so very classic. I'll have it for a decade or more and my two spaniels fit in the back perfectly. Grateful for Mercedes keeping it in the line up!

    Happy Wagon'ing friends! All the Best!

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  15. Is it me, or is the Subaru Outback poised to become the wagon of choice? ( Volvo has priced itself out of the market for many?)

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  16. I think Outback is the new Volvo.

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  17. I still drive my '98 Navy Blue XC70 with 125K miles every day here in mountains. Click & Clack of Car Talk judged the Cross Country as "maybe the world's most perfect vehicle". I agree.

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    1. Here are Click and Clack with the rest of the story:
      http://www.cartalk.com/test-drive-library/volvo-v70-xc-1998

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  18. A note to those who think Volvo's have been priced out of the 'common man's' reach.

    I've owned 9 Volvo's since 1985 and only after the first 3 new ones and after leasing cars became the rage I was able to buy a 2-3 year old car that had been returned from a lease. These cars typically have 20-25,000 miles and if certified with have a 2-3 years left on warranty.

    And the cherry on the Sundae is they will be about half the price of a new car.

    Since I typically will put over 150,000 miles on cars before I trade them in it's a win for me.

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  19. Best wagon I ever owned was my 1993 Honda Accord wagon. Bought it used with about 35k miles on it and owned it for 14 years. Virtually bulletproof. The only reason I sold it, with 325,000 Miles on it, was because of increasingly bad body rust. I see it around occasionally. Still running.

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  20. I currently drive a 1985 Mercedes 300 diesel. When I bought the Merck this past fall, I initially planned on selling my old 100k original miles 1999 Volvo V70 wagon, but I just couldn't part with it, and it's now functioning as the winter/chores workhouse vehicle for myself and my girlfriend. The engines in most versions of the old Volvo wagons are absolutely bulletproof, and it's honestly been the most utilitarian vehicle anyone in my family has ever owned (and that includes multiple Subaru Outbacks and Ford pick up trucks).

    My parents and sisters have all come to this same conclusion after having the Volvo act as transport for summer vacations on Martha's Vineyard, winter ski weekends in Vermont, and trips to and from the horse barn and Home Depot.

    It is quite sad that (at least in the US), new station wagons are no longer an easy find unless you're willing to buy a car in the luxury vehicle price range - and Volvo's newest wagon, priced like a Mercedes, definitely reflects the trend of small SUVs taking over the non-luxury wagon market.

    I used to love Subaru Outback wagons, and grew up driving them, but after borrowing my mother's 2016 Outback, it appears that Subaru is slowly turning them into a small SUV like the Toyota Rav4 and it's competitors. The modern Outback sits up higher, and as a result is much more herky-jerky when driving it along country roads in New England or along windy coastlines. Don't even start me on how obnoxious it is to try to fit furniture and the like in these modern, rounded edged Outbacks (social media star/interior designer Tom Samet pointed out that the same shape issue has occurred in Mercedes wagons; His 1990 box-shaped Mercedes wagon fits more furniture than his modern, tear-drop shaped one).These modern Subaru cars are certainly sturdy vehicles, but I think it's a stretch to consider them a station wagon these days.

    That being said, I do have some hope that sturdy, utilitarian wagons will someday be reintroduced into the American market (and I sincerely hope Volvo and Subaru realize there is a large untapped demand for modern versions of their wonderful old wagons). Until that time, I'm going to do everything in my power to keep my 1999 Volvo V70 running; luckily all that car requires is the occasional oil change and check up from my local mechanic!

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  21. I still drive my 1997 Volvo V70 wagon and I love it. hands down the most reliable vehicle I've owned. I love the understated look, such a classic and most other people who still drive them think alike

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  22. We have a 2004 XC70 and a 2003BMW 325IX wagon and couldn't live without them. We haul 2 Labs around everywhere.

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  23. Living in DC, our first Volvo was a new maroon '86 240 DL Wagon. Four on the floor with an electronic overdrive button on top the shifter; not good in snow. After we moved to CT we swapped it for a navy blue '95 850 Sportswagon with front-wheel drive (it also a stick shift; that baby had some pep). In '99 we swapped it for a candy-apple red Cross Country (forerunner of the S70), which was automatic and underpowered. We sold it in 2002 to Maurice McAvoy, who ran that large parking lot in Hyannis across from the SSA ferry terminal - he'd admired it when I drove it in to park it there, I told him it was for sale, so he drove it the whole week I was out on ACK and he decided to buy it. For many years thereafter I'd hike past that parking lot and see the old Volvo, which he kept until he died last year. Last fall I saw it in the one remaining piece of the parking lot the family is still running and I inquired about its availability, but it was too old and hadn't been run in quite a while so we decided we didn't need another project.

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