2007 Volvo S60 2.5 turbo from North America
A comfortable, powerful, but quirky and expensive swede
Turbo failed at 78,000.
PCV system failure at 78,000 (related to turbo failure).
Driver's seat power module works intermittently.
One coil pack failure.
Front struts replaced before 48,000 miles by the previous owner.
Headlights heavily oxidized after 4 years.
A/C system smells moldy.
Ignition immobilizer antenna ring is faulty, resulting in non-starting during hot weather.
Remote key sometimes only opens the back doors.
Self-dimming rear view mirror leaked and is hard to see into.
Bought this car at about 4 years old with 48,000 miles on it. My wife liked the styling and the performance; I was skeptical, but it had a good rating so I agreed. The car was in very good condition and we purchased it from a dealership.
The first 4 years were relatively trouble-free. Enjoyed the powerful engine and responsive handling, as well as the comfortable seats. Back seat is cramped, but fine for people under 5'8". Trunk is cavernous for the car's size.
First regrets were with the general quality of the interior. Kind of just a step above American car interiors. Paint on door handles and console is easily scratched and the plastic is easily nicked. Have had economy Toyotas that were more durable in this department.
First summer, found the A/C system smelled moldy. Did lots of research, and apparently that's just how it is. Short of tearing the dash off to get to the condenser to clean it, you just have to live with it. Tried all sorts of remedies, but nothing ever worked. A/C has always been icy cold though.
Turning radius -- oh dear. Read about it before we bought it, but never really knew how bad it was. Every u-turn is a 3-point turn, guaranteed. It's kind of frustrating after a while.
Then there's the key fob remote. Sometimes it opens only the back doors. Have to cycle through 2-3 times to get the front door to open. Oh, and that key is only available through a dealer and costs about $500 to get a copy of.
And that brings me to a bigger gripe -- many parts on the car require software updates to repair. Want to swap out a broken power seat module or self-dimming rear view mirror with a spare part? Sorry, that takes a software upgrade that only is available at the dealer. It's hard to spend so much on a car and then be under an intellectual property monopoly. Our driver power seat stopped working properly one day, and it turned out it was a software issue. Had to pay $100 to have a technician re-load the software onto it. It's like owning a Windows computer and having to go to Microsoft to get MS Word reinstalled when it starts acting up -- and having to pay for it.
Headlights were BADLY oxidized before we bought it. Had them polished but it's not perfect. 4 years old and the headlights look like they've been in a junkyard for 30 years? No one can explain to me why these incredibly expensive headlights age so quickly.
But, as I said, the car was reliable and got us around. Then, one day, greyish-white smoke starts coming from the tailpipe and gets worse and worse. Take it in and are told by our trusted independent Volvo mechanic that the turbo has blown seals and was leaking oil into the exhaust. Additionally, the PCV system is prematurely clogged up. This is at 78,000 miles. We're shocked -- how could this happen? The mechanic is shocked too -- he replaces turbos so rarely that he can't believe it. We performed oil changes on-time. He surmises that either the previous owner REALLY abused the car by delaying oil changes and using inferior oil, or that the turbo simply is one of the 1 in 10,000 that has a manufacturer defect. The previous scenario is the more likely.
I won't tell you what it cost to replace the turbo and PCV system, but it was a big number. Now we've got it back and it runs great, but needs about $1,200 in work in the next 6 months. We're done with it, going to sell it and get something that is cheaper to maintain and more practical, and something that I don't have to have the dealer do a software reprogram so I can use the door locks or driver's seat. Sadly, the value is about half what we paid 4 years ago and what we get out of it will just barely be a down payment on a new car.
I don't hate the car, and if you want a sporty, inexpensive (used) sedan, take a look at them. But pay a Volvo expert to put it on a lift and do a diagnostic on it. Know that repairs are expensive, and that much of the time you're at the mercy of what Volvo charges.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 12th June, 2015
13th Jun 2015, 17:57
I would take my chances with a Ford Taurus or Chevy Impala. If you're scared of American cars, try a Toyota, but I would steer clear of European cars unless you like pointless and in most cases nonsense engineering that can be problematic.
14th Jun 2015, 19:48
I own a 2003 S60 with 120000 miles, so it's basically 4 years older than yours. I'd like to compare it.
The headlights are still crystal clear; seems Volvo put a cheaper parts in later cars. Sad.
The PCV, it's indeed perfectly normal to fail at 60000 miles, even before that. Sad but true on several other cars of the same year, such as BMW and Saab. It was a poor conception. It will fail sooner on a car that's driven for short distances.
For the A/C smelling moldy. Normally, the fan blower should be set to operate for a while after the car is shut off, so it dries the humidity off the A/C condenser. This is particularly important when using the A/C in the winter. Now that it smells moldy, it's too late. The only solution is a chemical spray sold at some car dealers even other than Volvo. Google about it on forums to see which one worked better, because not all of them get the same results (I believe the one from the Subaru dealer seemed better, but better check first).
It is extremely rare to hear about a failed turbo on these vehicles, but it is possible if it was really abused - hard accelerations on a cold engine. There is pretty common for some turbo hoses to go bad, though.
Be prepared to have to replace the front control arms soon, better buy a complete Lemfoerder arm from UK eBay ($300 for both sides) and have them installed by a local mechanic. Don't forget to replace the transmission fluid with the 3309 type, no matter what Volvo says. Keep the receipt for the oil change, this will help reselling the car.