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RE: Volvo V70 sluggish...bad gas mileage, original poster

So sorry, been away for a few days! The car in question is a 99 Volvo V70 wagon non turbo, front wheel drive, base, with 75,866 miles on…I am the second owner, I was not given any maintenance records with the vehicle…with a little snooping around I have found maintenance stickers in and around the vehicle…oil changes and such, along with a 60,000 service sticker under the hood, found out that the original owner was an officer in the Navy who purchased the car overseas and had it shipped with him when he came to the states. The car is in meticulous condition, nonsmoker, no kids or pets…the interior is absolutely pristine. Assuming that the overall appearance of the vehicle means original owner took care of engine maintenance as well. I took it to an independant Volvo mechanic before purchase and he said other than a few minor fixes (motor mount bushing split, cv boot torn open, coolant sensor needs replacement, and only one key!yikes) the car was in good shape and worth the 9,400 asking price (ended up paying 8,500) My previous vehicle was a 93 Corolla, (drove for 14 yrs.) even with damaged rings and losing compression in the engine every day…I feel that I had more power to accelerate in that little car than I do with this one. That little engine seemed so much more responsive. Is it possible that I am just not used to this vehicle? Been driving it for about a month now, I just have to really slam down on the gas pedal to get any acceleration, it seems like a big pig to drive…there is absolutely no pep whatsoever. I am a very gentle driver and am a little concerned that after braking I really have to push the pedal to the floor to ger her going, the acceleration is painfully slow. I am always listening to the engine and it shifts ok, the rpms are always between 2-2.5 when accelerating…It’s just so gutless, and I am not a sportscar type of mommy…but it just doesn’t seem right. I have listened very carefully to the engine and do not hear any tapping noises or anything that stands out as being troublesome! Thanks so much for any suggestions, I am going in next week to have another key made, and may ask the Volvo mechanic if I could test drive one of his used Volvos on the lot, to get a comparison.

You didn’t say what your gas mileage was. If you have a non-turbo V70, somewhere between 22 and 27 mpg is probably what you should expect - lower 20’s in town and upper 20’s on the road.

I have been driving a 1995 850 wagon, the model your V70 came from, for the last year. Mine is a 5 speed, non-turbo. I got it after driving a Honda Civic wagon for 19 years. In comparison, the Volvo is slow and ponderous. The 5 speed helps with some acceleration but it never feels as quick or responsive as the Honda. But then again, it is a much bigger, heavier car being pulled around by an engine that is only about 1000 cc’s larger than my old Civic.

Another thing that really affects how this car feels to me is the weight necessary to press down the accelerator. I recently drove a new Honda Fit and found I had to really watch my right foot as the Honda’s accelerator required a much lighter touch. The non-turbo 850’s and V70’s are not known for their nimbleness. A friend of mine went to help his wife pick a new car. After test driving a new V70, his comment was that it didn’t have enough power to get out of its own way. I am not so sure that my old Civic was really any faster but it sure felt more responsive. Buying gas for a Volvo after driving a Civic for so long had been quite a shock. All in all, I guess you have to balance the added size and relative comfort and safety with what makes sense to you. But without actually driving your car or seeing your gas mileage figures, your Volvo sounds pretty normal.

Use a stop watch to time your car’s acceleration from a stop to 60 miles per hour. When you test drive the other car, check its time to accelerate to 60 mph, also. Compare. If your car is slower, it may need something as simple as spark plugs, air filter, and fuel filter. These, when dirty, are the most common performance robbing items.