Care by Volvo: is it worth the cost?
Want a new car with all costs - bar fuel - in one monthly payment? Care by Volvo offers this, but there can be cheaper ways to run a Volvo.
There are more and more options available to those who want the benefits of a new car without having to own one outright. Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) and Hire Purchase (HP) financing deals are two of the most common methods of doing this - where the customer effectively rents the car until the end of the contract. However, this still involves a level of ownership commitment. This is where one of the latest upcoming systems in the market, subscription services, come in.
These offer motorists simple, open-ended use of a car - or even multiple models/car types - for a monthly subscription. Care by Volvo is the name of the Swedish brand’s in-house car subscription package. This service aims to make life as simple as possible by wrapping up all the major costs of running a car - apart from fuel - into a regular fixed monthly payment. With this scheme, there is no sign-up fee or fixed-term contract to stick to.
The updated scheme, relaunched in September 2020, allows drivers to sign up online and potentially have a car delivered to them. Prices start at a substantial £459 per month, which is higher than Volvo's other finance offerings, though this is partly down to the inclusion of scheduled servicing, wear-and-tear maintenance, replacement tyres and roadside assistance. Customers can also choose to pay extra to include insurance.
There is no upfront deposit and drivers are able to change their car or end their subscription by giving three months' notice. Choose to end the contract and there is no cancellation fee. Alternatively, keep paying and the open-ended subscription keeps rolling over monthly.
It's purely a hire deal though, so unlike at the end of a PCP finance contract, there is no option to purchase the vehicle outright - no matter how much you may love it. Check out our comprehensive guides to car finance below to get your head around exactly how it all works and to work out which type of finance best suits your needs.
What does Care by Volvo include?
With Care by Volvo you pay a fixed monthly fee that not only puts you in the driving seat of a brand new Volvo, but also covers all the associated costs of running the car - albeit excluding fuel. However, having all these costs rolled into one payment means that each monthly payment is likely to be much higher than with a standard finance deal - especially as there's no up-front deposit (with standard finance deals, the bigger your deposit, the lower your monthly payments). But you do get a lot extra for your money.
As well as covering ‘hire’ payments for the new car you’ll be driving, Care by Volvo includes all scheduled services, maintenance for wear and tear, replacement tyres and roadside assistance - as well as giving you the option of including insurance. Be aware, though, that if you live in a high risk area or have a patchy driving history, the insurance element might add a substantial chunk to the overall bill - just as it would if you organised it yourself on an owned vehicle. You might find it easier to shop around for your insurance in order to get a lower premium.
Other attractive features of Care by Volvo include 'connected services' such as Volvo On Call – operated by a button inside the car, this hooks you up with a Volvo Roadside operator who can help in recovery or accident scenarios – breakdown cover with 24/7 roadside assistance, windscreen replacement and even tyre replacement.
As always, it’s advisable to read the small print. While worn tyres will be replaced, when replacement is required following a puncture the driver must still cough up, and there’s an excess of £80 on windscreen replacement too, which could be necessary if you pick up stone chips in the glass in front of the driver's seat.
The optional Care by Volvo insurance provides comprehensive cover for the policyholder and up to two named drivers, and the policyholder is covered for business use too. VED - also known as road tax - is also included so, all being well, there shouldn’t be anything else to pay for apart from fuel.
Which models does Care by Volvo cover?
The scheme was launched with the Volvo XC40 compact SUV back in 2017, but now has been extended to cover all the models in the Volvo line-up.
That means you can get a Care by Volvo deal on everything from XC40, XC60 and XC90 SUVs to the V60 and V90 estate models, the S60 and S90 saloons, and the C40 crossover. There is also the choice of petrol, diesel, hybrid, and electric.
Is Care by Volvo cost-effective?
There’s no doubt that rolling all your costs into one fixed monthly payment is simpler than having to sort out your own road tax and insurance, or indeed, budget for your new car to be serviced. That’s the big appeal of the scheme, which Volvo hopes will account for nearly a quarter of its new car registrations within a few years.
While ease of ownership is a luxury that some people can afford to enjoy - albeit without actually owning the car - others will want to look very closely at the sums to see which option works best for them. It's likely that drivers who want to change their car regularly and value the convenience of having nearly all of their motoring costs rolled into one payment will be better off with Care by Volvo, while those who are happy with just one car for three or four years may be better off financing a specific car and arranging their own insurance and servicing.
As always, savvy buyers will be interested in the savings that can be made buying a pre-registered, nearly new or used Volvos. While Volvo sells models that are increasing in desirability year by year, it's still possible to save around £5,000 on a practically brand new 'pre-registered' Volvo V90 that has covered less than 1,000 miles compared with a brand new model.
That means that if you want the best value it's worth comparing Care by Volvo with the cost of financing a nearly new or used model - especially as savings vary model by model, so some Care by Volvo options may prove better value than others.