Currently reading: James Ruppert: the best Volvos to buy
Volvos make shrewd buys – and they don’t have to be estates

Here is the end of traditional new car selling as Volvo becomes the first car company in the UK to offer ‘Prime Now test drives’ with Amazon.

These are available for a limited time on the V40 and open to Amazon customers in four UK cities around about now. The next stage, although it isn’t being highlighted, has to be clicking and buying on the ginormous retail interweb site. So who needs car dealers? Well, for the time being, used car buyers still rely on the sheepskins for their fix.

Find a Volvo V40 for sale on PistonHeads

Old-school Volvos, though, make all sorts of sense and are available for rather less than the £21,410 that a new V40 on the road actually costs. I keep returning to Volvos as one of the best prestige banger buys around. With a non-year plate, they just look like the faithful, reliable, middle-class mile-munchers they actually are. As the brand goes into the premium electro-futuro stratosphere, it leaves behind alot of models that we should be picking up on.


The C30 was something of an oddity, but a nicely designed one. I’d be inclined to pick this alternative to a three-door Ford Focus with a 2007 petrol-powered 1.8 SE. They go for just under £2000 and still look the sophisticated part. There will be 100k miles on the clock, but that should not be a problem. The R Design kit gives it a nice funky twist and adds a few hundred quid to the asking price.

I know the estates are the go-to Volvos, but the S60 has been a staple middle-lane-of-the-motorway sort for a couple of decades. A perky 2.4T from 2002 with a not outrageous 124k miles is less than a grand. And, golly, they still look so very smart. I saw one in gold – I’m very partial to gold – and it really did catch the eye. You find these petrol models with 200k miles as well, which proves that they go on and on.

I will steer clear of the S80 today, which is always great value, especially when you can get one for S60 money – a 2002 2.4 for £850 and under 100k miles. The S80 has the equipment and offers value but, unlike the S60, it does look like a great big lump of bargeosity. Instead, go sexy and get a C70. Okay, not that sexy really, because it is effectively the front end of an old 570, but just £1000 gets a 2001 convertible with a load of history. I even saw a Collection special edition for that money.


Read our review

Car review

Volvo’s XC40 arrives in the crowded premium compact SUV segment and hits the right note with design, practicality and driving style

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Although the world of automotive retailing is about to undergo a big upheaval, Swedes both retired and contemporary will continue to make sense for some time to come.

Volvo s60

Land Rover Series 3: mileage 128,811

The saga of the Lorry’s entertainment system crackles on and, you will be relieved to hear, has been resolved in a not very dramatic fashion. Well, the radio supplier took the JVC unit back and bench-tested it and this one was fine. So he dug deeper into the Lorry wiring loom. It seems that there was a cracked earth wire. So normal service has been resumed.

Remember the wipers a few weeks back? I sub-contracted the purchase of those. Ones for 1984-on Series 3s were too big; probably for a 90, then. Pre-1984 ones needed a hook-end wiper and mine are straight. Wipergate continues.

Reader’s ride: 

Alfa Romeo 147: South Africa-based Wayne Keightley has a 2005 Alfa Romeo 147 1.6. “It had done about 34k miles when I bought it and is now at well over 143k miles,” he says. “I have had the cambelt changed twice, the spark plugs once and the brake pads once or twice. Otherwise, I’ve changed the oil and filters myself. It has never failed to start, has never broken down and everything works.”

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Wayne would like to point out that the bonnet and wiper damage was courtesy of a stray sheep that leapt onto the bonnet recently...

Readers ride

Readers’ questions: 

Q. My mother’s friend, in her seventies,is besotted by the look of the Chrysler Crossfire. She wants one. Should she get it? Chas Donnelly, Islington

A. Why not? The Crossfire is an acquired taste but has some reasonably solid Mercedes engineering underneath it and owners seem to like them.

They’re quite well priced too. The automatic version might be a better bet because the gear change is quite heavy. MP

Chryscross fcorn t

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Q. I have an old Audi A6 Avant and I keep forgetting the MOT date. Is there some sort of reminder system I can use? Sammy Hallett, Doncaster

A. It’s a good question because you can be fined £1000 if you’re caught driving without an MOT. Yes, you can apply online to have a free annual text message or email sent to you four weeks before the MOT is due. MP

Q. My cousin has offered me his low-mileage, one-owner 2007 Volvo C30 for £3000. Is the C30 any good? Nigel McIlroy, Belfast

A. Yes, as noted elsewhere, it’s a fine car. It’s good to drive and solidly built, although older C30s are prone to overheating and the manual gearbox can cause issues. MP

What we almost bought this week: 

Ford Fiesta ST: Not everyone can stretch to the price of the sparkling new Fiesta ST, and not everyone can stump up the price of the one before that, either, but the original version remains a bit of a hoot. Okay, so there’s no turbo and it’s five-speed only, but what the heck: it still looks pert and bright and flash for the cash.

Read more

Audi A6 review 

Volvo C30 review 

Ford Fiesta ST review

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