I would first like to point out that this car was only 3 years old when bought on the approved used scheme from a Volvo main dealer. It had only one previous owner and a full service history and the mileage was far from excessive for it's age.
At around 61,000 miles, I noticed a hesitancy and surging from the engine when cruising at steady speeds on light to medium throttle openings. The car was booked in for a check-up, but before the date, the problem worsened into a sudden dramatic loss of power and violent hunting from the engine. I took it straight back to the dealer (I had only had it 2 months), who upgraded the engine management software.
The problem re-occurred around 4 months later and a further visit to the dealer was required.
Around 6 months later it started to happen again, so after a final visit to the dealer, I sold the car as the warranty period was about to end and I was disillusioned with the car.
The cabin heater fan regulator also failed at around 65,000 miles, requiring replacement and the tail-light bulbs blew with annoying regularity.
The alloy wheels were also beginning to corrode, in spite of being regularly cleaned.
I bought this car as a supposed step upmarket in quality and performance. I sold it after a year, disappointed and disillusioned. This is why;
I owned a powerful (170 bhp) 'hot hatch' and wanted something that would be more refined and comfortable, but still give exciting performance.
Comfort-wise, it was spot on; I doubt if I have ever sat in more comfortable car seats, and an 1800 mile holiday to Scotland proved it to be a relaxing long distance car.
It was not, however, as spacious as I'd hoped for such a big car. The boot was fantastic, but in the cabin, it was necessary to move the front seats forward if anyone wanted to travel in the back, this in a car supposedly the next size up from the Vectra/Mondeo class.
I was also amazed that a car costing 26k new did not come with a standard fit CD player (i intended to fit a multi-changer, so it didn't stop me buying), and that with so much power it did not have traction control.
The biggest disappointment for me, though, was the way the car drove. It just did not feel like a 240 bhp car. Head to head on a deserted dual carriageway against a friend's 170 bhp hot hatch, it was only slightly quicker through the gears. Even allowing for it's size and weight, a 70 bhp power advantage should have been more convincing.
The overall impression was that it just did not punch as hard as 240 bhp would suggest it should, and the power tailed off noticeably after 5000 rpm, even though it would rev to 6500.
Worse still was the chassis. How could a car with this much power be set up so softly? The grip was very poor, especially at the front. It rolled far too much and under-steered with very little provocation. A bumpy road would easily upset it's composure and the steering felt slow witted and had no feel. I did not feel I could trust the car during spirited driving (which is surely the intention of giving it that much power?).
On the plus side the brakes were utterly superb, the best I have ever experienced, and I found straight line traction to be surprisingly good given the lack of traction control.
While fuel economy was not exactly frugal, it was not that bad given the power.
Insurance was predictably expensive, but servicing costs were appalling.
I found the dealer service to be poor, and one particular incident left me fuming.
All in all, it was a big let down to experience the problems that I did on a well maintained 'quality' brand car, when my previous 3 cars (all Hondas) gave me faultless reliability combined with a good dealer experience.
To cap it off, when I sold it I discovered the abysmal depreciation it had suffered, the supposed avoidance of which was another reason for purchasing a more 'upmarket' brand.
I would not buy another Volvo.