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Published August 11, 2021

Is a Volvo a reliable car?

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Volvo is a progressive and safety-focused car manufacturer with a long history of designing reliable cars.

The brand released its first model in 1927 after identifying the need for a car that could withstand Swedish roads and weather conditions. Since then, they have brought a range of vehicles to international markets.

From stylish sedans like the S60 or modern family cars like V60, there’s a huge range of Volvos to suit all lifestyles and driving needs. The decision of what make and model of used car to purchase is never an easy one. Each make has their own qualities and features, with some being more reliable than others.

Here is how Volvo scores in terms of long-term reliability:

Reliability ratings

The reliability of popular car models can be judged using the annual Consumer Reports Auto Reliability study, which pulls together data from the experiences of thousands of owners of cars that are around three years old.

Each model of car is given a score and the fewer problems reported in the last 12 months, the higher that score will be. In 2020, the Volvo brand was number 16 in the rankings and a high score of 93.8%. For comparison:

  • Ford scored 93.7% and was ranked 18.
  • Volkswagen scored slightly less with 93.2% and a rank of 20.
  • The most reliable car brands were judged to be Lexus at 98.7%, then Mitsubishi at 97.9% and Toyota at 97.7%.

This indicates that Volvos needed fewer repairs over the year than drivers of Fords or Volkswagens, and they were also far less likely to break down than Tesla vehicles.

How is reliability judged?

When assessing the reliability of a car, the assessor takes a number of different factors into consideration and combines them to create an overall score. One of these factors is the number of times a car breaks down.

Other considerations include the severity of issues faced, the costs of repairs and the amount of time each repair takes. The amount of general maintenance a car needs to keep it running smoothly is also looked at.

A large sample size is always used in reliability studies in order to account for extraneous variables that might skew the results. For instance, a reckless driving style might wear certain parts of the car down quicker.

Much older cars are also discounted from reliability studies because, while faults in the first few years of a car's lifespan can be a result of how it was built, once a car reaches a certain age it’s reliability may depend on how well it’s been maintained. For example, regularly servicing a vehicle may increase its longevity.

One approach that vehicle manufacturers can take with model redesigns is to not change an aspect significantly and are therefore less likely to experience any unexpected faults, such as errors with new technological features.

Vehicles manufacturers that favor this design approach most often score higher in the reliability ratings than those who do not.

Why does Volvo score so well?

In terms of Volvo long term reliability, on average, Volvo cars seem to be slightly older than other makes of car when they first break down. They also tend to spend less time at the repair shop. Volvo is perhaps best known for its safety features and the brand was the first to introduce the three-point seat belt, followed by the seat belt reminder and the side impact protection system. Newer features include roll-over protection and a blind spot information system.

Consistency in design for this make of car is in part the reason that they are viewed as a reliable option. Most Volvo models use the same structure underneath, meaning the manufacturer has invested time and money into getting this design right.

So, are Volvos reliable 100% of the time?

Even the best cars do sometimes have faults. Volvo models have been known to have small issues with computer software and satellite navigation system glitches.

What are the most reliable Volvo models?

Volvo makes a variety of reliable cars that are perfect for family life.

Here are some of Volvo’s most reliable and popular makes of car:

Volvo XC60

The XC60 is an upscale SUV with five seats and spacious interior. It is available as either a gas, diesel or hybrid model. The gas model delivers 22 miles to the gallon in the city and up to 29 miles per gallon on the highway.

There is the option of air suspension for a smoother ride. Inside, there are armrests for added comfort and a minimalist dashboard design with touch screen buttons.

The slim windshield pillars and big side windows also help increase visibility.

Volvo V60

The V60 is more compact and comparable to an S60 sedan but has SUV level capacity. There are eight transmission speeds, a 2.0-liter engine and four cylinders.

Interior-wise, the V60 comes with mirror memory adjustment as standard, arms rests and a glass power sunroof.

Volvo XC40

First manufactured in 2017, the Volvo XC40 is a luxury subcompact SUV packed with safety features and innovative technology options.

It features a front and all-wheel-drive and 2-liter four-cylinder engine. Its advanced safety sensory system automatically adjusts seat belts to prevent injury on impact.

The XC40 Recharge model was Volvo’s first electric all-wheel drive.

Volvo S60

The S60 is Volvo’s new generation of sports sedan. The third generation model was the first Volvo car to be manufactured in the United States.

It has a classy design and high-quality interior. The T5 model has a 248-horsepower 2-liter turbo four-cylinder engine and unlike other sports sedans, the drive goes to the front axle.

Volvo XC90

The Volvo XC90 is a premium SUV and the larger upscale version of the XC60. It has up to seven seats and all the advanced technology features listed in other Volvo premium models.

It is the perfect family vehicle for those looking for a comfortable and practical car that still has a luxurious feel to it.

Buy a used Volvo from EchoPark

EchoPark has a wide selection of reliable Volvos that are between one and four years old.

Browse online and find a preowned Volvo that fits your needs, budget and lifestyle.

Want to learn more?

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