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Purchasing a 2006 Volvo XC90

My wife and I recently had our toyota highlander totaled and are now involuntarily in the market for another SAFE and affordable mid-size SUV for our family. We were surprised to see a 2006 Volvo XC90 with 80,000 miles listed for $16,000 since we were both of the impression that a Volvo was a very swanky vehicle. There were no issues with the car, and it has a clear Carfax report. We waited, and two days later, the dealership dropped the price online to $13,600. We did some research and saw that most other 2006 XC90’s are priced similarly, although other luxury SUV’s (BMW, Accura, etc.) of the same year and mileage are mostly over $20,000. What is the deal with this car? It seems to good to be true. I read that the 2003-2005 XC90’s had very expensive transmission problems, but from what I could tell, it looked like that was solved by 2006. Can someone tell me why I shouldn’t buy this car? Even if I have to put $5,000 worth of repairs into it, the price is still cheaper than another highlander of the same mileage. Thanks!

I wouldn’t trust that the problems are solved, they may just take a while to show up. And Volvos are similar in safety to many cars now. Here’s a good site with comparative vehicle safety rankings:

If you liked your Highlander, it looks like another would be a good choice.

The general reputation of Volvo is that they’re not particularly reliable and that they’re expensive to repair and maintain as they age. I wouldn’t recommend one to someone unless they really loved the styling above all other cars and they’re willing to spend the money needed to keep it maintained.

Your comment about “SAFE” leads me to believe that you may have fallen for the persistent mistaken belief that Volvos are somehow safer than other cars. They’re not. (It’s not 1970 any more.)

The reason its priced lower is because of its reputation as quirky and unreliable. That can get pretty tiring when you need to go somewhere. Whats that saying? The agony of a poor purchase continues long after the joy of a good deal? I think you’d be far better looking at Acura or similar.

Ditto the above. While I have seen many, high milage XC90’s. It has cost there owners a small fortune to get them there. Make sure you get a good warranty, that covers rentals if you buy.

@lion9car many folks think that Volvo is like everyone else in terms of safetly. However they still go the extra mile and it shows.

A new test they may consider pursuing

The car is low priced because it has proven to be a very expensive car to own. Volvo repairs are rarely under $1,000 per event and you can expect 2 to 3 such repair bills a year. If that’s good for you buy it. The seats will be nice and comfy.

According to MSN Autos, the 2006 XC90 has minimal problems will all systems. If you like the car after a test drive, you may want to have it inspected by an independent mechanic (not the selling dealer). That will tell you if there are any hidden problems. If it checks out, then price is important. The price you quoted is about high for the base 2.5T without options and about $1000 low for the V8 with no extra options. Which engine does it have, and what options? Where you live also affects value somewhat. You can check prices at This might be a time when you can play on perceptions and get a good deal for a car that is perceived poorly but is a solid value.

The car is going on 7 years old and may or may not be a good, reliable car. Much depends on how it was maintained, how it was driven, and whether it’s been in a wreck or not.

While services like Carfax can help to some degree, you should never assume that CF has the complete story behind a car because that is not often the case.

A thorough pre-purchase inspection can help but even that is not etched in stone.
Regarding expensive transmission problems, with some research you may find that a transmission failure is an expensive proposition on any make.