Ownership Verified: Einstuerzende SWEbauten - My 2005 Volvo XC70 D5

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So! Last year, I took an office job that’s an hour’s drive away from home. I’ve been grinding that road in the hand-me-down W203 for half a year now, accumulating 20,000 km in that time. While the Benz is a good car that does a drive like that with no complaints, I’ve been wanting to get a more beat-up wagon that would use less fuel and would not feel like a waste to use up just driving to work and back. Logically, since the 2020 Finnmeet would eventually get arranged, I started looking into British used cars as those are known to be very cheap compared to what we get here, with nice variety.

My requirements were:
- Diesel (for the first time in my life I do enough driving to offset the yearly diesel tax even without registering the vehicle as a commercial van)
- Wagon or SUV for the ability to haul crap
- Preferably very frugal
- Cheap LHD headlight availability (gotta swap ‘em for the import)
- Good parts availability








This is what I got, with the expert help of Davetouch who drove the car here for the meet after buying it and servicing it. It’s a 2005 model year XC70 with the 2.4-litre, 163-horsepower Euro 3 D5 engine and six-speed manual gearbox, so it benefits from being a facelift model but does without DPF. It has a full tan leather interior for that essential Volvo wagon feel and all the convenience features I wanted – except for the fancy Xenons as those cost more to replace than the car will cost to tax here.

As for the AWD system in the car, it is a very advanced, fuel saving type that benefits from a 100/0 power delivery. This means the angle gear sleeve has probably eaten itself between now and when the car was new, and restoring power to all four wheels costs about the same as the car cost to buy now. However, even compared to market prices in the UK, this example was very affordable, so I will probably get a semi-local specialist to fit a remanufactured angle gear and also service the rest of the drivetrain. The only indication of the rear meats being dead is that the front ones spin. And thanks to the huge amounts of TORKUE they do like to spin.











On my drive to work the Volvo claims to get about 56 mpg UK, which translates to 5l/100km. In comparison, the Mercedes boasts 6,5l/100km in perfect conditions and 7,5l/100km in crappier ones. With diesel being somewhat cheaper than gasoline here, my rough estimate is that the car will pay for its initial purchase price in a year when yearly road tax is taken into account. Any repairs and upgrades are on top of that, as is the import tax. So far, the fuel needle drops very, very slowly.



Bullshit, but I'll believe it

On the road the car is pretty damn nice. Swapping sides naturally takes a little while to get used to, but the numbers tell me it’s worth the effort. Besides, with a few days behind the wheel I've already accustomed to it perfectly. The ride isn’t super cushy, but it never is on Volvos. But there are big car solidity benefits to be had, and on a particularly badly maintained section the Volvo feels far more sure-footed than the Mercedes, with no squirmyness. The engine pulls really well even in bigger gears and the gearbox is a pleasure to use.



There are some trim pieces I need to source, the paint job needs a little help and the headlights should be buffed. But the level of beatness is exactly right for what the car’s supposed to do: hauling crap around the countryside and getting me to work in comfort.

Proof pic:

 

avanti

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Is it really cheaper to import a RHD Volvo from the UK than importing a LHD car from sweden or buying it locally?? Everything included?
How about resale value? Wouldn't you come out on top in the end with a LHD car?
 

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Local prices for used 2005 D5 manuals hover above 7000 eur, touching 10k, even with mileage falling between 250-300k. The examples I saw for sale in Germany or Sweden were above 4000 eur, even 5000 eur.

This cost less than a grand and half to buy and I except less than a grand for taxes. Resale value isn't great, of course, and maintenance costs are something I am not likely to get back. But I bought this to be used, not to be immediately sold. For 3000 here, I could buy a 755,000 km automatic...

Edit: also, RHD vehicles get a -20% import tax discount due to the more modest market value.
 

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The only box it is not checking on the Internet automotive journalist special Spec® is the color.
You must paint it/wrap it in brown.
I suggest Porsche's Mahogany Metallic.

Volvo did a really nice shade called Java Brown, but sadly I missed out on that.
 

Redliner

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Volvo did a really nice shade called Java Brown, but sadly I missed out on that.
I don't like brown cars, but yes, Java Brown would be even better.
 

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Thanks! There are some problem areas in the paint that I might be able to get rectified at work, but at least the scratches mean I'm not afraid to use this.
 

Perc

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Not that this is to anyone’s surprise in here, but here is my seal of approval 😄👍🏻
 

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Ah yes, the phrase that, when uttered in front of a Volvo enthusiast, causes them to gently perspire.

Looking good! Hopefully it's not too terribly expensive to get the AWD shipshape.

A junkyard part with unknown provenance is about 250 euros, then another hundred for the sleeve and another for lubricants. A reconditioned angle gear, which is likely to be more durable, is 800 give or take. Labour is about the same whether you do just the sleeve or change the angle gear as well, and since the propshaft needs to come off it makes sense to service the Haldex as well.

All in all I can see I'd put the car's purchase price in it once again to have functioning AWD, but I've said that it's cheaper to make this AWD than a lot of other vehicles... And to have a freshly rebuilt system with the receipts to back it up would sound ideal to me.
 

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Amazingly, the cogs in the import tax system seem to spin very fast here. In less than a week I've gotten a decision from the powers that be: I'll pay 713,53 eur for the right to slap FIN plates on this thing. It's quite a bit lower than what I estimated (800 eur-ish), so I'm happy.

Of course I'll probably complain.
 

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Amazingly, the cogs in the import tax system seem to spin very fast here. In less than a week I've gotten a decision from the powers that be: I'll pay 713,53 eur for the right to slap FIN plates on this thing. It's quite a bit lower than what I estimated (800 eur-ish), so I'm happy.

Of course I'll probably complain.

And that’s a one time payment? It’s not like here where I’ve got to pay the state of Illinois 110 dollars for a little sticker to ensure my license plates are valid?
 

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No, this is the one-time import tax. Per year I'll pay 779 eur because the thing uses THE FUEL OF SATAN and has five seats. If I'd bin the back seat, Galantic Fiesta style, I'd save a few hundred per year but I'll probably keep it just in case.

Edit: Interestingly, I paid nearly as much to import the age-old MX-5 back in 2015: they valued it high despite it being visually beat to hell and sent me a bill of 639 eur. I did send out a complaint and got the amount dropped to 500-ish, but of course that took forever. As did the initial tax calculation.

The Panda tax process also took some time, due to its rarity here. I still chuckle at some poor sod spending his work time just so I would pay the state 27 eur and 21 cents.
 
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FYI, I serviced my Haldex (gen IV) with new oil and a filter. This was on a ~four year old car with 150.000km or thereabouts. The electric Haldex pump thanked me by turning into a 1970's British Leyland employee. It would usually show up at work for a short while every morning, but the rest of the day depended on what kind of weather we had. At 0°C it worked about half the time and at -20°C it went "sod this" and rendered me with a FWD car. No trouble codes, error messages on the dash or anything like that.

And while a Volvo appears to drive just like a FWD model when the AWD is shot my car gets confused and strangles the engine power as soon as the wheels slip even a tiny bit. Yes, even with ESP completely turned off. It was completely useless in deep snow, of which we had a lot during the time my car was partial wheel driven.
 

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Yeah, I bet that in summer conditions the absence of any rear axle power will be virtually unnoticeable. Right now it's a bit annoying to have to stop and get going in slippery junctions, but otherwise car works fine.

I might just end up waiting for next winter with the AWD repairs, especially as the MOT only runs out in November.
 
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