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Automaker Volvo is known for making reliable and durable vehicles, with its XC70 wagon selling well until it was discontinued. But while owners seemed to love it, the XC70 was far from perfect.

In fact, true XC70 fans would probably say that not all XC70 wagons are created equal. Here are the biggest problems owners are having with their Volvo XC70 wagons.

The biggest problems owners have with their Volvo XC70 wagon?

Using all of its owner-reported complaints, compiled a model year comparison of the Volvo XC70 wagon to not only discover which model years perform the best, but also which problems are worst for owners as well.

When compared to other vehicle brands and models, the complaints are minimal. In fact, claims that there are not “a lot of complaints on file for the Volvo XC70,” so it’s either “not very popular or it’s very, very good.”

But what the Volvo XC70 lacks in numbers, it makes up for in problem severity. Chosen for its general severity, cost of repair, and more, the top-three worst-rated Volvo XC70 problems are also the ones that receive the most complaints across the board.

Ranked as the third-worst problem for the Volvo XC70 is all-wheel drivetrain failure in the 2003 model year, occurring at an average of around 87,000 miles and earning a high Severity Rating of 9.0 (out of 10.0).

Both the second and top-worst-rated problems are with the XC70’s transmission, existing mostly in 2001 and 2003 model years. Owners of 2001 XC70s are experiencing transmission failure at around 149,000 miles, while owners of 2003 model years are experiencing the same problem at an ever-lower average of 108,000 miles.

Although both are costly to repair, more complaints have been reported about the 2003 model year. In fact, these common issues help indicate a costly theme that the “second-generation XC70 has a transmission issue and the 2003 model year seems to be the worst of it.” also ranks transmission problems as the Volvo XC70’s “Worst Category” across all model years, receiving more complaints than any other category. Though this number still remains relatively low at a total of nine, the transmission category also receives the majority of complaints that are costly to fix. 

The expense of having issues with your Volvo XC70

While fixing the drivetrain in the XC70 costs a relatively-high average of $2,700 to fix, fixing its transmission is even more costly. Transmission complaints may be more numerous with the 2003 model year, but its $3,000 average repair cost pales in comparison to the $4,500 average seen by 2001 XC70 owners.

According to, the average XC70 transmission problems cost an unimpressive $4,000 to fix and occur at an average of nearly 160,000 miles. Although most owners seem to experience problems at a pretty-high average mileage, the cost of repairs to the Volvo XC70 is expensive. 

Which model years give Volvo XC70 owners the biggest problems?

The model year comparison of owner-reported complaints shows that overall, the Volvo XC70 is a “solidly built and comfortable” car. For all recorded model years, from 1999-2016, there are only 44 complaints from owners.

The 2001-2004 model years fared the worse for Volvo XC70 owners, receiving more complaints than all other model years combined. Model years 2001-2004 have 6, 4, 11, and 9 complaints respectively, with the majority of those complaints regarding transmission problems.

It comes as no surprise that the 2003 Volvo XC70 is listed as’s choice for “Worst Model Year,” as it receives more complaints (as well as more severe ones) than any other.

But after the 2004 model year, Volvo seemed to learn its lesson. The 2005 model year currently only has one complaint, with subsequent model years performing just as well. Model years 2006-2008 receive only two or three complaints, while 2009-2014 have proven to be even more reliable for owners with no complaints at all.


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