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Volvo Reviews

Volvo – derived from the Latin for ‘I roll’ – has been a byword for safety and solidity for much of its life. The first car to leave the factory in Gothenburg in Sweden in 1927, and all proved tough in more hospitable climates than the sub-Arctic environment it was designed for.

Since the 1950s, Volvo also placed great store in passenger protection. Its robust, no-nonsense approach was exemplified by the 140 and 240-series, which kept the same basic style from 1967 to 1993, but still sold in huge volumes across the globe. Volvos started to become sexier from the 1990s onwards and moved upmarket under Ford ownership from 1998. The company was bought by Chinese car manufacturer Geely in 2010.

Good: The original solid and dependable Volvo, sport models are surprisingly swift and usable, they make great endurance rally cars
Bad: Cramped and heavy to drive
Good: Tough as old boots, good looking, swift in sport form, an excellent all-year round classic
Bad: Heavy to drive, and a bit of an acquired taste
Good: Rare, exclusive
Bad: You're better off with a P1800
Good: Delightful to drive, useful in ES form - 'The Saint's' car will always be cool
Bad: They're known for rusting, variable build quality on the ES
Good: Big and boxy with lots of room, huge estate load bay, solid, tough, dependable, and cheap
Bad: Ugly and prone to hidden rot underneath
Good: Smooth six-cylinder power, understated looks, enhanced by new front end, lots of equipment, and brisk performance in fuel injected form
Bad: Was not a match for a big Mercedes-Benz then; and isn't now, either
Good: Can be used every day, comfortable, safe and roomy
Bad: Hardly sexy, heavy on fuel, rust gets the sills, and just too sensible
Good: Big, strong and practical
Bad: Ugly, thirsty, Douvrin engine has issues
Good: 2.0-litre GLT is a laugh, comfortable seats, good looking in original form
Bad: Slow, ponderous, cramped, awful CVTs
Good: Love-it-or-hate-it-looks, lazy V6 driving experience, better to drive than you might think
Bad: Most people who don't understand will think it's the ugliest thing on the planet, thirst and heaviness
Good: Estates are big, solid and practical, capable of high mileage with sensible maintenance, saloons much cheaper for same levels of protection
Bad: Poor handling, even before the suspension starts to sag, still awaiting classic status.
Good: Compact, economical, quirky to look at, pop-up headlights, and a glass hatch, excellent seats and dashboard
Bad: Not as quick as it looks even in Turbo form, plenty of opportunities to rust under the skin, flaky electronics, far from solid build quality, a bit unloved so survival rate is low.
Good: Well liked by owners, best bet is probably the 1.8 CVT auto, cheap to run and insure
Bad: Below-par ride quality, can rust prematurely, it's no looker.
Good: Solid, capable load-carrying estate that will run and run if you look after it, saloons offer tank-like protection for half the price, 3.0-litre 24-valve is astonishingly and unexpectedly quick
Bad: Dull drive and soggy handling, alloy wheels easily kerbed, cracked cylinder heads on some 24v 960s.
Good: Superb performance with old school turbo kick, great five-cylinder soundtrack, oodles of room inside, BTCC kudos
Bad: Understated to look at, savage torque steer and appetite for tyres
Good: Solidly built saloon and estate with tidy handling. T5s are real flyers, TDIs strong and economical. Owners rate them.
Bad: Front tyre wear can be heavy. Estates are practical but don't have the load capacity of previous big Volvo load-carriers.

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