What Is the Best Year for the Volvo XC70?

Volvos are known as practical, safe automobiles with above-average looks. 

The Swedish automobile company has earned this reputation over the years with its various models, including one of their most popular cars, the XC70. 

What Is the Best Year for the Volvo XC70?

While considering the best years for Volvo’s XC70’s, models made between 2004-2007 are your best bet. These model years remain popular by Volvo enthusiasts and casual car owners due to their quality, performance, and safety. On the other end, you will find that the 2001-2003 XC70s will be the most problematic years that the model was made.  

Whether you shop in person or from Carmax or Carvana, your eye is bound to be caught by a Volvo model at some point. 

The XC70, their luxury wagon produced from 1996-2016, was ruggedly designed with an all-wheel drive.

It featured luxury interiors and didn’t look bad when tearing through rough terrain or simply cruising down the highway. 

Let’s look at the XC70 over the years to determine which years were the best and which years to steer clear of. 

Best Years for the Volvo XC70

The XC70 kicked off the new XC line from Volvo in 1996, debuting the brand’s new safety improvements, such as Volvo’s whiplash and side-impact protection systems.

It also had accessories, including a picnic table, surfboard or ski holders, and a refrigerator that could be installed in the rear. 

A lighter body allowed for better (yet still not great) fuel economy while still maintaining the traditional Volvo look of a 5-speed automatic transmission. 

However, it was between 2004 and 2007 that the XC70 hit its peak. 

During those years, the XC70 was best-reviewed when Volvo introduced an updated version of the durable wagon. 

The body style featured a bigger mesh grill. 

Its engine went from being a 2.4-liter to a 2.5-liter, creating two power options: a 163 horsepower option and the 180 horsepower option. 

New bi-xenon headlights were added, as well as a re-engineered steering system. 

It also came with side airbags in the front seats, head curtain airbags for the front and the rear seats, ISO-FIX child-seat attachment points, and WHIPS, a new anti-whiplash protection technology. 

The 2004 model had higher ground clearance than any other wagon on the road at the time. 

This allowed for the vehicle continued trekking through heavy-weather terrains and off-road capabilities. 

For fuel economy, the 2004-2007 XC70s reached 17 miles per gallon in the city (13.8 L/100Km) and 29 miles per gallon on highway (8.1 L/100Km). 

What Is the Best Year for the Volvo XC70 1 What Is the Best Year for the Volvo XC70?

Its interior included leather upholstery, heated seats, a superior sound system, DVD-based navigation, and a shopping bag holder in the cargo area.

The following years of 2008-2016 were rated decently as well, though not quite as high compared to other vehicles on the road during that time. 

Overall Expected Budget for Volvo XC70’s

  • 1996-2000 $3k
  • 2001-2003 $4k
  • 2004-2007 $6k
  • 2008-2016 $10-30k

What Are the Worst Years for the Volvo XC70?

The XC70s first generation ran from 1996 to 2000, its second-generation from 2000 to 2007, and the third generation went from 2007 all the way until its discontinuation in 2016. 

Carcomplaints.com rates the worst year of the XC70 to be the 2003 model, with the 2001 in a close second. 

Some of the most common problems of the 2001 and 2003 XC70 included: 

  • 2001: XC70 suffered transmission failures on an average of 149k miles.
  • 2003: XC70 found the same issue at 108k miles. 
  • 2003: XC70 also had all-wheel drive failures at 87k miles, with customers reporting that there was no power to the rear wheels.  

Is the Volvo XC70 Reliable?

The XC70, and Volvo in general, have had a reputation for being unreliable in the past. This was a big part of the reason that the XC70 was discontinued

One of these primary reasons it was discontinued (despite Volvo’s attempts to beef up the technology packages with Bluetooth, WiFi, proximity keyless entry, and satellite radio) was the model’s low predicted reliability rating compared to competitors, such as Subaru and Volkswagen.

Another consideration with the Volvo XC70 is that servicing costs tend to match those of luxury brands, such as Mercedes and BMW.

If you are looking for overall better quality, the Subaru Outback might be worth looking at for your needs. 

Which Volvo Engine Is the Most Reliable?

Whatcar.com ranked the 2.4 D5 SE Lux as the best edition of the XC70 based on the diesel design, usability, amount of models available with the engine, and four-wheel drive option. 

Volvo’s T6 engine (available in some XC70 options from 2011 to 2016) has also won the Ward’s 10 Best Engines for 2011 Award.

The T6 produces 300 horsepower, 325 lb.-ft of torque at a low 2,100 rpm and a combined fuel economy of 21 miles-per-gallon.  

Doug Speck, President and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, had this to say of the T6 engine: “The S60’s T6 engine is simply the best engine Volvo’s ever produced. It’s powerful, smooth, and gets great fuel economy.”

What Replaced the XC70?

After its discontinuation in 2016, the XC70 was replaced by Volvo’s XC90. The XC90 is larger, has better fuel economy, and offers multiple 4-cylinder engines (including a hybrid option). 

The XC90 was rated as Volvo’s most reliable SUV on the road. JD Power assessed its reliability at 71/100. 

This is still only average compared to other SUVs on the road, like the BMW X4 or the Lexus LX, yet for Volvo, this is an improvement. 

Overall, JD Power rated the XC90 an 8.4 out of 10, which is a high rating, and this is made up for by its other features that will be covered in the following section.  

The Upcoming 2022 Model: What to Expect in the XC90

Starting at $50k, the 2022 XC90 standard features include a 4-zone climate control, 10-speaker sound system, rechargeable hybrid option, swift acceleration (0-60 in 6.4 seconds), braking stability, power sunroof, faux leather upholstery, heated seats in the front, enhanced outward visibility, accessible load-in cargo space, and a third row of seating. 

It also includes enhanced safety features, as Volvo is known for. These include:

  • Rearview camera
  • Front parking sensors
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Forward collision warning
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Adaptive, pivoting LED headlights
  • Road sign recognition
  • Driver drowsiness monitoring

The 2022 XC90 has drawbacks as well. These include bad fuel economy and troublesome touchscreen. 

Car and Driver reported that the XC90 gas engines make crude noises, and the ride when on bumpy roads produces an uncomfortable experience.


As direct competitors of the Volvo XC70, the Subaru Outback, Audi A6, and Volkswagen Golf Alltrack are worth looking at as well. 

They offer similar functions, as well as unique stylings that might be right for you. 

Though the Volvo XC90 has updated its iconic Scandinavian design, the predicted reliability rating is still a factor. 

But if you are shopping for a family-sized vehicle with all-wheel drive, fashionability, and above all else, safety, the Volvo XC70 still might very well be the vehicle for you. 

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