Volvo is synonymous with safety. Its modern cars regularly receive top marks from safety experts Euro NCAP, so you'd be forgiven for thinking its cars must be reliable as well.
However, that's not what drivers of the Volvo XC90 are telling us in our latest car survey. In fact, Volvo's flagship SUV has been named the least-reliable car in our survey of more than 47,000 drivers.
Keep reading to find out why the Volvo XC90 sits at the bottom of our reliability rankings and what we discovered about Volvo's brand reliability.
To be fair, owners with a car less than three years old are not overly burdened by faults. But come the car's third birthday, when the main warranty expires, the problems mount up terrifyingly quickly.
XC90s aged between three and eight years old have a fault rate of 74%. That's nearly three quarters of owners telling us they had a problem in the 12 months prior to our survey.* This is the highest fault rate of any car, in any age group, in our survey. And we have reliability data for 280 models (as well as 35 brands) in total.
Worse, the breakdown rate is sky-high: 16% of owners we heard from saw their big SUV either conk out or fail to start.
Each of the following problems affected more than one in 10 owners of Volvo XC90s aged between three and eight years old in the 12 months prior to the survey. Some owners will possibly have experienced more than one fault.
Volvo does do a lot of recalls (more than any other brand, according to our counts), which should be commendable. But our reliability information shows that many of the problems listed above are not covered by recalls and it raises awkward questions around its quality of manufacturing.
It's hugely disappointing for the brand and its flagship SUV.
Volvo is a carmaker that puts safety first. It was Volvo that introduced the first three-point seatbelt, the first side-impact protection system - it was even the first to use booster cushions for children.
But are Volvo's other cars reliable? Fortunately, Volvo didn't come out as the least-reliable car brand in our survey. However, this is just further proof that you really do need to read our individual before investing in your next car.
We shared our results with Volvo and it told us:
*Between December 2019 and February 2020, 47,013 people told us about the 55,833 cars they own and drive, based on their experiences in the 12 months prior to the survey.
This means all our reliability data comes from actual owner experiences, not whimsical extrapolations.
It's powerful enough to also bring to light the seven cars that have a single fault that's so prolific, and so common among their users, that we think it's likely a fault with the car's manufacturing and therefore the .