Volvo V70 sluggish...bad gas mileage


#1

I recently purchased a Volvo v70 wagon…it seems to run very sluggish and does not accelerate very quickly, it seems like a heavy beast! I am a gentle driver and baby the car, but it seems like such work to drive, I really have to push the gas pedal and it accelerates very slowly. We checked the gas mileage and it’s getting 18 mpg, it is not a turbo and is front wheel drive…seems like it should be getting better than that! I have been putting midgrade fuel in… It pulls to the right a bit and I am feeling a little vibration in the engine…any suggestions on what I could ask to check?


#2
What year, how many miles, did you buy it new?  Any CEL?

#3

Well, you left out some very vital information such as:

*Did you purchase it as a new car, or as a used car?
*If it is a used car, how many miles are on the odometer, and what is the state of its maintenance–assuming that you received maintenance records with the vehicle.

However, lacking that input from you, I will give you some information about the V70, gleaned from the most recent auto issue of Consumer Reports. To quote CR:

“It delivers adequate performance, but its 18 mpg overall is just so-so.”

In case you are not familiar with CR’s terminology, “adequate” performance is their way of saying that a vehicle is not particularly powerful. Or, in other words, it has enough power to accelerate onto a highway–but just barely–with no reserve power left over to move it quickly in case of emergency. And, of course, their overall mileage figure matches yours.

It sounds like you are experiencing exactly what CR did when they tested the V70, so keep this in mind before shopping for your next vehicle: There are no substitutes for good reasearch and for an extended test drive when considering a vehicle for purchase.

ADDENDUM: CR lists the V70 as a “regular fuel” vehicle. There is no advantage to putting mid-grade fuel in this vehicle, and if you are not happy with the gas mileage, at least you can save a few cents per gallon by using the fuel that is called for, rather then the unnecessary mid-grade fuel. A higher octane fuel will not make the car run better, or give you more mpg, or make the engine last longer. In fact, with some engines, a higher octane fuel than is necessary can actually reduce your mpg.


#4

Maybe there is a tapping noise that the knock sensor is picking up and mistaking for a pre-ignition knock. If the noise can be stopped, the engine will run better. A defective knock sensor can do it too. Your gas mileage is right on the money. It’s what the car is supposed to get. Pulling to the right is something for the front end alignment people to look at. It takes time for the driver to get used to the different vehicle, so your description of it feeling heavy is not something we should pay much attention to. If you had driven the same type of car for a few years, it would have more significance. Things could be normal.


#5

When was the last tune-up, and what brand of spark plug was used? I’ve seen some engines are very picky for the brand and type of spark plug. This would be the cheapest thing to replace first. Also, the condition of the plugs can tell you a lot about the condition of the cylinders. A very good primer on spark plugs can be found here: http://www.ngksparkplugs.com/techinfo/spark_plugs/techtips.asp?nav=31000&country=US


#6

Also, the car with the 5-cylinder engine is listed for PREMIUM fuel by www.fueleconomy.com. Mid-grade can cause these problems, and carbon-up the engine. Spark plugs can tell the tale.


#7

Since the OP has not returned to tell us whether the car in question is new or is used, or to answer any of the other questions posed to her, I have to assume that she is not as concerned with the answer as we were.

I suggest that it is time for us to back off until she returns with some answers to our questions.


#8

So sorry, been away for a few days! The car in question is a 99 Volvo V70 wagonnon 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.