Photo by Salt Water New England

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Volvo

Photos by Salt Water New England
Two Questions for the Community:
  • What are your thoughts on current Volvos? 
  • What is your all-time favorite Volvo?

  
















































65 comments:

  1. In the past, I owned a 122S and a 142. (Also, two SAABs, which were "interesting.") Both Volvos were good cars for their day. But I am quite reluctant to buy a Volvo now, as the company is owned by the Chinese.

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  2. Turbo brick with a stick

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  3. Favorite Volvos I owned, 122s 2 door sedan and a 1998 S70 5speed. Current models don't appeal to me at all, the simple charm of form follows function is gone.

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  4. We had a 245DL in the seventies and loved it. Her name was Ingrid. Volvo sort of lost its appeal for us after the 240 series. My brother in law has a new very tricked out Volvo sedan, and I just don't like it.

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  5. I owned a SAAB. Spent more money on repairs for that one car than three subsequent cars. Except. Drove like a frigging dream. Four cylinders, drove like eight. I know someone who drove one, was hit head on by a garbage truck, walked away without a scratch. Those cars were BUILT.

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    1. I had a 1987 SAAB 900S. Replaced an amazing amount of things under warranty, then the car was extremely reliable. I know several people that walked away from what should have been life-altering accidents. A fun car to drive.

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    2. A car dealer north of Pittsburgh decades ago sold Rovers and Land-Rovers. They also sold Saabs. They had a photo of a Saab sedan that was being transported on the top of a car transporter. It had gone under a bridge that was too low and the car had impaled itself into the bridge. So I guess that demonstrated the rigidity of the frame. However, I also saw in person a Renault 16 that had rolled in an accident without the windshield being broken. Anyway, the place where I had our Volvos repaired said not to buy a Saab.

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  6. 240 in the 80’s - most comfortable seats ever
    XC90 in the 2000’s

    Both were great

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  7. I have an S90 with the premium sound system. Like driving with the symphony sitting in the back seat. A dream. Very heavy car with every luxury included. I adore it. But when I am done with it I will go back to a very practical Accord.

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  8. Loved how the 850 drove and the quality of the interior. Did not at all like how much time it spent getting repaired. Lost my interest in Volvo with that car.

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  9. Subaru may be the new Volvo.

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  10. I still like them...immensely. The S90 sedan and XC60 SUV models were made in China, but I have read that since relations between the US and China have soured, they are made in Europe only. The only other car that trumps Volvo in terms of reliability is the Audi, except for the fact that many new Audi models have succumbed to its new popularity with the nouveau riche and are starting to look a bit too blinged-up for my taste. Volvo hasn't done that yet.

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  11. We've only owned for Volvos, so our experience is necessarily limited. Like most others here, we think the 245 was easily the most practical car. Not particularly powerful, it was nevertheless a good cruiser on the interstate and was a really big car. We had ours for eighteen years. It went through a lot of mufflers.

    The V40 was a very sporty car of decent size but mine starting giving trouble after about 130,000 miles. My daughter still has an S60.

    The first Volvo I ever rode in was a 122 wagon and the first I ever drove for any distance (about 500 miles) was a 145 wagon. The one Volvo I would have liked to have owned was a P1800, just like the Saint drove on TV. Haven't seen any of those old models for ages.

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  12. An S90 with air suspension would be nice. Looking back, the Amazon sedan is very cool.

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  13. We have two XC60's...a 2010 and a 2019. Very safe vehicles and pretty reliable - so far!

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  14. I drove a navy blue 740 wagon for twenty years. In 2010 purchased a navy blue XC70. Now in my senior years this will most probly outlive me!!

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  15. Last year I went into the local Volvo dealer just to get an idea of what the difference in cost and features is compared to my Subaru Outback. Chatting with the salesman, he asked what I normally drive. After I told him, he looked at me and asked why would I want to pay so much more for a Volvo.

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  16. I particularly liked Volvo 122 sedan or wagon, and the marvelous P1800ES.

    An acquaintance of mine owned several auto dealerships, when the family who owned a local Volvo franchised retired, he added the Volvo franchise to his stores, keeping the long-time Volvo mechanics. This was about the time of the sale of Volvo from Ford to Geely.

    Within three years he found himself taking back newly-sold cars from customers who had many mechanical and electrical issues. His mechanics disdained the modern cars for faulty components and difficult service procedures. Volvo soon required use of a proprietary diagnostics system and database, a costly investment, and the mechanics found it very inconsistent and rarely gave the correct results. His top mechanic quit to open an independent shop specializing in older Volvos and Saabs and Volkswagens. The dealer's complaints to Volvo USA were never satisfactorily addressed, so he turned in his franchise and closed the Volvo store. His other brands continue to sell well and have many fewer customer complaints.

    Volvo is becoming another Jaguar, suitable only for those who can afford the problems and unreliability while presenting a certain image to others. From an automotive enjoyment standpoint, they also do themselves no favors by specifying large-diameter wheels with very low profile tires for appearance sake, their suspension skills are not good enough to prevent unduly harsh ride with no offsetting handling benefits.

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  17. An amazon all the way! Thank you so very much!

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  18. The 240 was more than a car; it was a beacon - and no school’s sticker ever looked better on another vehicle. Practical, reliable, affordable, and though distinct from the crowd, not in the least bit showy enough to attract the attention or adherence of, well, showy people. Its ideal passengers were a family with multiple dogs, and it made a ready heirloom for the next teenage driver. But most important for its appearance in these pages, it owned a space in time when the tribe it so clearly marked adhered to a more coherent, pre-political, less self-righteous value system, and certainly one that regarded taste over mere money, value over extravagance (granted it was often paired with another family car for dressier occasions). Remember, Volvo owners actually boasted of a high odometer reading! This car was usually driven by members of a by-gone elite who never sneered at the middle class. In the parking lots where it once sat de rigueur, today you are more apt to find a fleet of always leased, meritocratic and monochromatic Mercedes and, of course, the ceaseless fleet of Audis. The successor Volvos to varying degrees have tried to carry the torch, but suffer by comparison to say nothing of their corporate collapse. Alas, time does not stand still.

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    1. Owned three 240s. A two door turbo, a wagon, and a sedan. All manual. All left us with over 350k miles. Loved those cars. Now I drive a 2010 XC90 with 100K+ miles. Would trade it for a 240 in a heartbeat!

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  19. The Subaru Forester.

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  20. I have a 2016 XC90 Inscription AWD, in Magic (navy) Blue. You can’t get a new one in navy. In any case, I love this car. It is the ultimate family hauler. Car seats, dog, seats down, Thule on the roof rack, kayak cradles on the roof rack... the possibilities are limitless, and the car just looks cool. Anyone who says Subaru is a replacement for Volvo has either never driven one, never driven a luxury vehicle, or is lying to themselves that they don’t want a luxury vehicle. If you can’t afford it, that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the Volvo brand. I use this car for what I need to do and I’m not delicate about it, and it is durable and can handle the task at hand. If you want to look like you’ve been there before when pulling up to a nice restaurant or your club, but you also want to hit the slopes or make a trip to the nursery, you can do it in a Volvo. It stands out amongst the monotony of everything else out there (although the Honda CRV tries to knock off the XC60).

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  21. My view on Volvos has changed considerably over the years. I learned to drive on my parents 1983 240DL wagon, which I DESPISED. It was a rattle-trap, and the body roll was particularly annoying. But, it was a solid car. My attitude changed in the 1990s, by which time my parents had several V70s. By then the wagons were much tighter, and with the lower profile and wider wheelbase, a joy to drive. It took me a while to come around to the XC60s and XC90s, but I like them now, however not the 2018 re-styling. If I were to buy one, I'd by a pre-2018 version. I definitely don't like the V60 and V90. They look awful. Volvo is trying to make them look like the Mercedes and BMW wagons, which are much more prevalent in Europe than the US. They just don't look like Volvos anymore. That said, I would still buy a 2010-2015 V70 in a heartbeat.

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  22. Our all time favorite Volvo is our “Sunday car.” It’s a loaded with chrome ‘97 model 960. This is the model they supplied to the Swedish ambassador, in Paris, for his personal use. It’s best feature is the height of the window “sill” vis-a-vis the driver’s (and passenger) seat level. When the window is down, driver’s elbow, at rest on the sill, sits in a perfectly horizontal positon.

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  23. I love these pictures. For our family, the iconic 145 was "Volvo", with a fine follow up wagon from the 240 series. Perhaps we trusted them for Volvo's long history of inboard engines used in larger sailboats! I drive an old Subaru today that shares the Volvo's stout nature, but sadly cannot replicate the feeling.

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  24. I drove a 145 wagon in high school and college, a 245 wagon in grad school, and a 240 sedan for twenty years afterwards. Then I donated it to NPR. At one time my family owned five Volvos. Reliable, nearly immortal, with classic style. I still like Volvos, but not so much the luxury price.

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  25. I had a series of Volvos and really loved them, but was soured by my last one. It was a 2012 S60. I'm meticulous about maintenance, so I rarely have any big issues and have had a number of cars that even after a few hundred thousand miles would be considered very reliable and in great shape. The leather on the 2012 S60 didn't wear as well as past cars (despite regular conditioning). The alloy wheels had odd corrosion issues. It ran through headlamps and other bulbs quite often (while I had experienced this with another Volvo, changing the headlamps on the 2012 S60 was such a chore). And, after six years and 120K miles it experienced a computer failure that wasn't worth the investment to fix. I saved a few bucks and got a 6 year warranty by buying a VW in 2018, but I do miss my Volvos and will likely go back when the VW has nothing more to give.

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  26. As a swede living in Scania, I see a lot of Volvos everyday. My favourite design is the 240 station wagon from the seventies. We own a V70 from 2013 and my company car is a XC70 from 2016, both very nice cars. I think our next car will be a V90 cross country.

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  27. Old Volvos never die. Along with old Mercedes they roll on forever in Beirut.

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  28. I have a 240 wagon and have owned a few 740 wagons.
    I like the looks of the 240, yet I felt the 740 was more spacious.
    Anything with the B230 Redblock engine and you should be in good hands.

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  29. We had a 1998 V70R wagon in Rocky Top orange metallic. It is a great car for a teen because they are rare and we would get calls that said "We saw your car at X." where X = the liquor store or the woods or wherever. Unfortunately, the dealer could not keep the Check Engine light from coming on and he charged us $75 to diagnose the problem and $75 to turn the light off. We sold the car on Craigslist and the guy drove down 3 1/2 hours and was excited to get it. We are Mazda people now.

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  30. I learned to drive in a Volvo 940 sedan, and now decades later own a 2016 XC70 T5 wagon that I purchased as a CPO. It is, simultaneously, both the best and worst vehicle I've owned. Best because I love the road feel, the comfort and the practicality, not to mention its outstanding safety. Even in comparison to the couple of BMWs I owned beforehand, I somehow prefer it even though it doesn't have the slightest pretense of being youthful or sporty. It's certainly refined and reserved, and doesn't call attention to itself, and does harken back to the Volvos of the 1980's, which I recall liking quite a bit as a child.

    But why is it the worst? At only 70k miles, it guzzles through oil the way I guzzle through tea and coffee. It doesn't leak, but it consumes oil at far too quick a rate. Barring an engine rebuild at some point, it is doubtful that it will hit the mileage milestones of some of its Volvo ancestors. This is also the way my family's 940 met its end.

    With both turbo and supercharged engines, I hate to think what the durability of the modern Volvos will be, though I do admit that I do enjoy them inside and out. If only European makes would design drivetrains that are as reliable as their Japanese counterparts, vehicle choices would be much simpler.

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  31. Volvo is the L. L. Bean of the automotive world -- they went mainstream and lost their particular character. Many friends still own them but for the same reason they still shop at LLB – from residual loyalty, or perhaps even habit. Volvos do still seem to have a certain cachet among the Bobo class.

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  32. Loved my 240 Wagon. Today's Volvo's are too sporty looking for my taste.

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  33. I had a '99 S80 5T and a '00 V40 wagon and loved them both. Great and quirky. The Sweds know ergonomics. I am reluctant to buy a new Volvo. Love the styling but the reliability reviews are not good. Went with an '17 Audi Q7 instead.

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  34. Went with a used 2004 Volvo C70 soft top convertible after getting run off the road in a Mazda Miata by a dump truck. The Volvo was much safer and rode like a dream when it was not in the shop. But we made the mistake of cancelling the CPO warranty to save a buck and it would have immediately paid for itself. Only afterward did I realize it was on the Consumer Reports lemon list. No more Volvos for us as we lease Nissan Rogues now.

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  35. Loved my 240 DL from 1983 and my V70 wagon from 2000 but no more Volvos for me. We lease Audi Q5's instead.

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  36. Have owned 1983 245 GL Wagon, roof rack & 3rd seat...donated to charity. Current daily beater 1992 245 DL Wagon...a brick..runs like a sewing machine. Makes me puke when I see stickers that are affixed to rear glass. An affectation, grownups ought to know better. Enuff said.

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  37. I inherited a 2001 C70 convertible from my father when he died in 2009. Loved the style, and having a connection to him (although he'd bought it used and hadn't owned it very long), but the automatic transmission was garbage. Nothing dangerous, but the gears kept failing to upshift properly, leading the engine to race. Spent hundreds of dollars trying to get it repaired. My mechanic forthrightly told me that the last thing he tried might work or might not, and if it didn't, a full transmission replacement would be the only recourse. It didn't, and a replacement wasn't worth the cost. I suffered along until we moved overseas in 2013, when I gave the car to the United Way. Couldn't countenance selling it to someone in the condition it was in.

    I mostly hear good things about current Volvos, but my wife and I were determined to get an electric car when we moved back to the States a couple of years ago, so we have an Audi e-tron. Excellent car despite a few quirks.

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  38. Currently drive a 2019 XC90 and although the styling is meant to appear more luxurious, it has the same sensibility, and still a more understated elegance than Mercedes. What Volvo also still does exceptionally well - service. My New England Volvo dealership has the best service department I’ve ever encountered, with amazing white glove service.

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  39. Great pictures!! I don't have a favorite Volvo, but if I had to title this collection of pictures, I think, "The Volvo In Its Natural Habitat" would be quite fitting! --Holly in PA

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  40. The older (DL/240/740) Volvos were great. Almost intentionally anti-modern. Such a subtle but noticeable rebuke of the stuff old WASPs dislike: most especially sleekness. But, along the way, the new owners took the company in a different direction. What's the point of buying a new Volvo nowadays? The character and patina of the older models, along with the older W115 and W123 Mercedes, set the standard for simple, boxy goodness.

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  41. The most WASPy of cars in my neck of the woods -- the older Lexus models. The older the better, especially the RX300 and ES300/350. A lovely merger of practicality/durability...and just a wee modicum of luxury (all an old WASP would want).

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  42. I leased a 2018 S90. It was awful. Unreliable and souless. Couldn't wait to turn it back in. I think Geely is trying to make Volvo into the Chinese Lexus.

    My favorite is the XC-70, especially the older variants.

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    1. I’ve had the entirely opposite experience. My 2018 S90 is my 5th Volvo going back to a 1988 240 GL. Sure, times have changed style-wise, but my S90 is a pleasure to drive and solid as a rock.

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  43. Wasn't your first post on "The Daily Prep" about Volvo? Look how everything has changed for all of us.

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  44. Family began purchasing Volvos in early 80s. We have had a good number of Volvo's throughout the years - V70s, s7s0, V60, XC90s (all three models), S80s. The one which I truly loved, one in which I would drive today if possible was the 240 Sedan aka Swedish Brick as well as the 240 Wagon (aka Swedish fridge on wheels). I had a hand me down 240Wagon which took my brother and me during our collegiate endeavors all throughout New England. It autopiloted I95 from Philly to Boston hauling essential and non-essential college junk! Yes, I agree the new Volvos are a slightly bit flashy, possibly to attract the Chinese buyers, and yes Volvo has gone the way of LLBean, but they are Volvos. Audi's are marked up Volkswagens, Acura's marked up Hondas, and the list goes on. Until the Chinese do what GM did with Saab, I am still the trad Volvo driver.

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  45. The 240DL. My first experience with this model was in the back seat of a taxi in Stockholm. That was the summer of 1989, and as soon as I returned to the states I bought one, and still have it with no intention of ever getting rid of it. This is a common fate for these old classics according to my Volvo Dealer: "People hang on to their 240s."

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  46. To me, the 240 is the last proper Volvo. I also have a secret love for the 262C.

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    1. The 262C---the chopped top Volvo (like an old Mercury hot rod).

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    2. The very same. I find 'ugly' cars like that alluring. See also the Bristol 411 and the Rolls Royce Camargue.

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    3. Although I don't know that Bristol cars were ever imported, I have at least sat in one and in the U.S., too. Leonard Setright's favorite performance car. But I remain a Rover enthusiast (and apologist).

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    4. Bristols were imported by Wacky Arnolt of Chicago in the 50s.

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    5. "Ugly," like beauty, may be in the eye of the beholder, or so they say. The most beautiful car I've ever seen, maybe, is a Jaguar XK-E (or E-Type for the purists). Haven't seen one for ages. Around here, though, the cars that are tucked away in cluttered garages and only come out on sunny summer weekends are Porsches. A fellow up the street, though, is restoring a Shelby Cobra. Like I said, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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  47. Why, among all you Volvo lovers, has no one mentioned the P1800? That's the only Volvo I ever found interesting. If one came along today at the right price, I'd likely buy it. As for the 240 line, I think those were the models that inspired the classic line in the film "Crazy People": "Volvos: They're boxy but they're good." I've never driven a 240 but have ridden in them and was not impressed.

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    1. I did mention the P1800 in my post. The local dealer while I was in school had a couple. By that time, they were the hatchback versions. But like I said, I haven't seen any of the older models for a very long time.

      The things that we and probably other people liked about the 240 series and its immediate predecessor, the 140 series, was that they were roomy, reliable, and relatively simple, which probably contributed to the reliability. They could be fast but weren't quick off the mark, something that is important to some. I thought the seats were especially comfortable, although not quite as comfortable as the seats in my Rover 2000TC.

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    2. As driven by Simon Templar in 'The Saint'. It's probably the best of the classic Volvos.

      I'd love one like this...

      https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/news/353096/volvo-p1800-cyan-mixes-swedish-icons-style-modern-motorsport-tech-pictures

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  48. I had a '83 242DL, Mom and Dad had an '85 245DL wagon, we restored a '59 PV544 out of California with a b16 and twin SU's. My uncle drove a 544 and then a 122S for years. Clarkson said that the XC90 was actually the best family car he had. James may said that buying a Volvo was going to the dentist, you had to do it for practicality. The modern iterations, while nice, are status cars and not any better than others on the market. Expensive to buy, own, and not nearly as much raw fun as the old 544 was. Loved the 164E - beautiful cars.

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  49. I had a S60 in 2003. I kept it until 2011. It only had about 80K. Repairs were always a minimum of 5K. On the third 5K estimate I bought a Honda SUV. Still have it. No big repairs yet, still going.

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  50. We're not in a great style era for cars - there is too much visual business going on and everything is trying to look like a spaceship. Therefore, I'll do Volvo the favor of comparing them against the other contemporary options instead of their own past glory, in which case I'll say I think they fare well. I would take a V60 with the plaid interior over basically anything it competes with. My 2013 C70, which itself replaced a SAAB, does all the Volvo things well - safety, comfort, unfussy livability, the benefits of a convertible without the shouty associations of convertibles.

    My own enjoyment of Volvos convinced my parents to purchase an XC70 back in 2009 that looks to be same model as the white one in the first photo. I live in a city so it's too much car for me, but 12 years on it looks and behaves as new when I come to visit and drive it.

    I do wish they'd get moving faster with electrification, however, I really would prefer to make the transition, and I would like it to be with Volvo if I am able.

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  51. New 1979 264 GLE 4 speed manual . Long gone , but what a car !

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  52. We had a 240. The camshaft froze in the head. We've never owned a Volvo since. We do like our Subaru Forester.

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