The Best Used Volvo to Buy

With great ratings for reliability and safety, the S80 and XC90 are both top options for buyers seeking a used Volvo.
Written by Sara Brody
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Mar 23, 2023
The Volvo S80 and XC90 are excellent used Volvos to buy. Both models stand out for their impressive safety ratings, durability, and luxury appeal.
Since it got its start in Sweden almost 100 years ago, Volvo has become practically synonymous with “safe and reliable.” Drivers seeking a luxury car that’s built to last are drawn to the brand, but with so many options available, it can be hard to know where to start. 
That’s why the
car insurance
comparison app
has done the research to identify the best used Volvos to buy. Plus, we've thrown in some tips to help you find the lowest
Volvo insurance costs
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The best used Volvos to buy: the S80 and the XC90

Volvo cars are known among luxury brands for their safety and reliability, and the
both offer these perks. If you favor a mid-sized sedan, the S80 might suit you, while the XC90 is an SUV, perfect for families who want to get around town in comfort and style. 

Why are the Volvo S80 and XC90 good used cars?

In some ways, it’s hard to go wrong buying a used Volvo. With so many top-notch offerings from the line, what makes the S80 and the XC90 the cream of the crop?
To determine a rating, we focused on four key factors: true cost to own, safety features, reliability, and customization. A more detailed breakdown follows.
  • True cost to own: When preparing to buy a car, you need to factor in not just the cost of the vehicle itself, but also anticipated maintenance and insurance bills in the future. The best used Volvo must be affordable to buy while also promising manageable maintenance, insurance, depreciation, and
    car repair
  • Safety features: Sometimes, used cars offer less up-to-date safety technology than newer models. To determine the best used Volvo, we looked for cars that were ahead of their time in terms of safety features and driver assistance tech.
  • Reliability: When buying a used car, you’ll want to make sure your vehicle can go the distance. We looked for Volvo models known for their dependability.
  • Customization and styling: Since buyers of used cars have fewer options for choosing add-ons, the best used Volvo needs to come in a variety of options for body styles and trim levels, with an aesthetic sensibility that ages well.

The true cost of owning a Volvo S80 or XC90

A car’s true cost of ownership includes more than just the purchase price. You must also factor in the costs of operation, including maintenance, insurance, and loan costs. 
Since Volvo is a luxury brand, buyers typically sign on for higher maintenance and repair costs. That’s because parts for these cars are more expensive to replace than those in non-luxury cars. Additionally, the heightened risk of theft for luxury cars can translate to higher insurance premiums too.
However, for a number of reasons—including the brand’s high marks for reliability—Volvo cars are considered cheaper luxury cars to insure and maintain.  Let’s take a closer look at what goes into the true cost of Volvo ownership, and see how the S80 and XC90 compare to the competition. 

Purchase price

You can find a used Volvo S80 for as low as $3,000, although newer models with good mileage might be closer to $15,000 to $18,000. The XC90 tends to have a higher purchase price, although this number varies depending on the car’s age, mileage, and condition. Prices for a used 2016 XC90 typically range from $22,000 to $36,000 depending on the trim level.

Costs of operation

With good credit and a
good down payment
, you should be able to keep
car loan
payments and interest manageable with an S80 or an XC90.
Depreciation costs for a Volvo S80 are quite low: a 2016 model has a forecasted five-year depreciation rate of just 17% compared to 66.4% for a new car. However, the depreciation rate of a 2020 Volvo XC90 is much higher, at 63% over six years. This percentage varies based on the age and condition of the car at the time of purchase.
When considering used Volvo options, hold out for a well-maintained engine, since this can be one of the most expensive parts of the vehicle to replace. The B8444S is a 4.4-liter V8 with a unique 60-degree engine split that allows it to be packaged tightly, and it is the engine found in the 2006 to 2010 models of the S80 as well as the 2005 to 2011 models of the XC90.
You should also expect fuel costs to be fairly high for your used Volvo since neither the S80 nor the XC90 offers exceptional fuel economy. However, thanks to a powerful engine and cozy interior, they’re still both comfortable options for long commutes. 
Key Takeaway With widely varying purchase prices, including some options with very low depreciation rates, it’s possible to keep your total cost for a used Volvo quite low.

Safety features of the Volvo S80 and XC90

Both the S80 and XC90 have exceptional safety ratings. The
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
ranked the 2016 Volvo S80 as having “superior” safety, while the 2016 Volvo XC90 earned a five-star safety rating from the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Some of the safety features you can expect to find in a Volvo S80 or XC90 follow below:
  • 4-wheel disc brakes and brake assist
  • Traction control
  • Airbags on all sides (driver, passenger, front head, rear head, and front side)
  • Electronic stability control
  • Integrated turn signal mirrors
  • Lane departure warning

Are the Volvo S80 and XC90 reliable used cars? 

The Volvo S80 is known for its reliability: the severity of repairs is deemed “low” while the frequency of issues is “average,” meaning that major issues are uncommon for the model. Since the XC90 has been subject to some recalls, you’ll want to check if that’s relevant to the model you’re considering, but it’s also regarded as reliable overall.
A few Volvo XC90 owners have reported gearbox problems at mileages less than 30,000, as well as issues with the injectors on the diesel. The latter problem can be costly to fix, so be attentive to potential issues with the diesel before making a purchase. 
The trick to helping any car live up to its potential for dependable longevity is regular maintenance. Not only will routine maintenance allow you to keep up with the normal wear-and-tear that all used cars experience—you’ll also be more likely to catch larger issues before they escalate
Overall, you can expect a used Volvo to last at least 200,000 miles, with some models reaching 250,000 miles if maintained properly. 

Customization and styling

Every prospective buyer wants to know that their used car will be cost-effective, safe, and dependable—but one of the most fun parts of buying a car is choosing a style that suits your personality. The S80 and XC90 both offer appealing aesthetics, but the S80 is a sedan while the XC90 is an SUV.
Depending on your needs and the size of your family, you can easily find a used Volvo that allows you to drive in comfort and style. And since Volvo is known for having the best seats in the business, you can trust that the interior will be as comfy as it is stylish. 

How to find affordable insurance for a used Volvo

An unfortunate fact of owning a luxury vehicle is that you’ll need to pay more to insure it. While buying used can offset the cost of premiums, since older parts tend to be cheaper to replace, you might still be intimidated by the rates typically associated with luxury cars. 
But luckily,
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