Volvo vs. BMW reliability – Which is better?

volvo vs bmw reliability - which is better?

Volvo is famous for its reliability and safety and BMW for its sheer driving pleasure and powerful performance. BMWs are lighter, more aggressive, quicker and have better handling. Volvo vehicles, on the other hand, are more reliable than BMWs.

Keeping in mind that 2 out of top 5 least reliable cars are BMWs, the answer to which car is more reliable shouldn’t be that hard. It’s Volvo. But are Volvos better cars overall?

Volvos are more reliable than BMWs

Volvo is almost twice as reliable as BMW in general. Volvo’s reliability rating is 127.00, whereas BMW’s is 177.00. The lower the rating, the better the reliability score. According to the Reliability Index’s list of the top-40 most reliable car brands, Volvo is in 23rd place, whereas BMW in 31st.

BMW’s most common reliability issues

Faulty electronics and gadgets

Newer BMW models tend to experience a lot of faulty electronics, malfunctioning doors, windows, and tech gadgets. The brand is also notorious for a faulty coolant system and degradable rubber, which only allows engines to run for a few years past warranty until they break down completely.

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Rubber elements in the engine tend to break

As the degradable rubber used in BMWs begins to break down, there are also common issues with the heater core, leaky oil filter gaskets, and sometimes even problems with the fuel pump. All of these tend to pile up, eventually costing the owner more than the initial purchase price of the BMW itself.

Volvo’s most common reliability issues

Complicated transmission gearbox

Volvo, despite being more reliable than BMW, also has quite a list of issues you should know about before purchasing a vehicle. For example, the Volvo V70 experiences quite a few transmission problems.

Power steering leakages

Power steering systems are pretty standard now, allowing you to effortlessly turn the wheel of a heavy vehicle. However, some Volvos experience failures with the power steering that can result in leakages and even give you a hard time turning the steering wheel. The Volvo S60 is one model that’s experienced steering leaks.

Faulty cooling fans

Even the XC60, which is pretty reliable, has experienced common issues with failed cooling fans.

Fuse box failures

Volvo’s fuse box under the dashboard, where outside water can sometimes reach and make it fail electrically. Its poor location also makes it hard to reach for repairs.

Fuel leakages

Small cracks have been reported in one of the fuel lines in the engine of some Volvos, which leads to fuel leakage.

Volvo’s pros over BMW

Volvo is one of the safest cars ever

On a general note, Volvo is known for safety and reliability. Volvo cars are usually much heavier and rigid than your typical BMW vehicle. This is one of the reasons why they are so well-known for safety.

Volvo’s objective as a company is to produce the safest vehicles in the world. It’s no wonder Volvo invented the seat belt we still use today in our everyday driving, regardless of what brand of vehicle we drive. In 1959, Volvo’s engineer Nils Bohlin came up with the idea, and ever since they have branded themselves by putting safety and reliability first in their production.

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Volvo has long-term reliability

When looking only at the first 5 years of ownership, BMW shares the 9th spot in terms of reliability, along with Mazda. Volvo is in 16th place. However, this does not mean Volvo is overall less reliable than BMW, as most car problems crop up after the first few years.

If we compare BMW’s best-selling 3 Series with Volvo’s best-seller, the XC60, we can clearly see that Volvo beats BMW by a large margin. Volvo XC60’s reliability index is 112, and BMW Series 3 is 216, which makes it two times more reliable than its BMW counterpart.

In the top 100 most reliable cars list of Reliability Index, the Volvo C30 makes the list at #73, with a great score of 61, whereas BMW doesn’t make the chart at all with any of its models.

Volvo is better equipped and more spacious

Comparing models of similar price, the Volvo is better equipped in terms of tech and features, and is also bigger than its BMW counterparts, both in luggage space, headroom and leg space for the passengers.

BMW’s pros over Volvo

BMW’s better driving experience

If you are looking for a sporty feel, lighter handling, and a more aggressive look, BMW is the car for you. The sheer driving pleasure a BMW offers, is much more than what any Volvo car can give you. BMW relies on giving a great driving experience without sacrificing comfort for the driver and passengers.

More comfortable driving position

BMWs are specifically designed to fit any driver’s preferences. The seats are mechanically adjustable, and you can select from a few driving modes so that you feel like the car is a part of you, even if you’ve never driven it before.

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The steering-wheel is also adjustable and allows you to make it your own. In the end, what really matters is what you are looking for and whether that coincides with the car you are currently testing. Always go for a test drive before purchasing a vehicle and drive safely.

Things to consider before buying a Volvo

Are Volvos more expensive to maintain and repair than BMWs?

On average, Volvo cars cost a little less than BMW cars to maintain. The estimated average annual cost of a Volvo is $800, whereas most BMW models range from $800 to $1,200 a year. Parts, repairs and labor are very expensive. Total ownership of a Volvo over a 10-year period might amount to $15,000.

Why are used Volvo cars so cheap?

Second-hand Volvo cars are cheaper than you would expect due to the fact that their parts and repairs are very costly. Many drivers lease their Volvos, and after the warranty expires, they sell them on the second-hand market. This means that when they break down, they are out of warranty. For this reason, the vehicle greatly depreciates, since buyers know that and expect a lower cost.

Which Volvo is the best?

Volvo’s best looking and most purchased car ever is the Volvo XC60, which is a favorite among Volvo fans. The XC60 is a handsomely designed SUV which gives a unique Scandinavian take on the segment. The XC60 comes with a variety of engines and is an extremely safe vehicle to drive. In addition, it is quite reliable.

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Dan Gurbalov

Why do you love cars? I love the sound of most gasoline engines. I love the smell too.

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