Top Rated Vehicle

Vehicle Reviews

1993 - 1997 Volvo 850

Average Customer Rating:
8.566 out of 10
8.6
 out of 
10
248 of 274(91%)customers said they would recommend this vehicle to a friend.
Customer Reviews for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Review 1 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
A wolf in sheep's clothing wrapped in a box,
August 3, 2013
By Max
Reliability: 
7 out of 10
7 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
6 out of 10
6 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Quality: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Not At All
10
Definitely
Approximate mileage:177000
What's great about this vehicle?:Fun, Amazing Engine, Practical
What's not so great about this vehicle?:No Manual Transmission, Front wheel drive, aging.
ReviewOriginationID:b214b9a4817b4ef184296aaf4629e9d7
Make:Volvo
Model:850
Vehicle ID:9854
"My Volvo 850 Turbo wagon was my first car, so naturally I'm biased. It's endearing qualities, however, are primarily positive ones.
The Turbocharged Inline-5 in this car was a gift from the gods; it descended from the heavens to Mount Sinai shortly after the ten commandments, but as the car hadn't been invented yet, Moses didn't see it worthwhile to carry it down the mountain. It makes an excellent sound, the acceleration it provides is thrilling. It's responsive and lively, yet, unlike a bmw engine, it is happy and content to drive around in a relaxed manner. If you get it past 4k rpm and it screams like a banshee. It will make a believer out of any turbo-critic.
The transmission is good, for a four-speed auto. In "Econ" mode, it's dim witted and slow just like every other auto from the period. Changing over to sport doesn't actually reduce the fuel economy unless you drive with a lead foot. The throttle travel is large, making the more discerning driver capable of precise transmission control once you get used to it. Jabbing the throttle tends to make the drivetrain shudder, but rolling throttle application yeilds results. In sport mode, it downshifts without you having to floor it.
Volvo wanted their front wheel drive platform to compete with BMW's sporty E34 platform. Does it? No, the rear wheel drive E34 is a masterpiece, and this doesn't come close. But because of the lofty goal, the 850 drives rather nicely on a windy road. The rear wheels have passive steering, which means on decompression you get toe in, and on compression you get toe out, effectively shortening the wheelbase the harder you corner. It doesn't rotate around your hips like a sports car, but it certainly feels good enough to claim the volvo has sporting pretensions. It is an unusual car. Most cars either encourage you to push the limits or punish you for driving aggressively. The volvo is unique: Drive at 50%, you start having fun. Push to 70%, it get better. Push past 75%, and you start getting understeer and body roll and it stops being fun before you endanger yourself.
The weak point in my experience are the brakes. My volvo warped its front rotors regularly, until I switched to 2 piece drilled rotors (they look like they belong on a much sportier car). This didn't improve braking performance, but in the last 20,000 miles they haven't warped. In my car, there seems to be a vacuum leak in the power brakes. They stop all right, but if I get used to the brakes in any other car, they feel like they are broken.
I don't need to tell you that the interior is spacious and practical. Its a Volvo. Of course it is.
Volvo has made a very good effort to make the car easily serviceable. The fuel pump went out on me, and I was worried that I would have to jack the car up and remove the fuel tank. Lo and behold, if you take out the trunk floor, there is a little metal panel you can remove JUST TO GET AT THE FUEL PUMP. How thoughtful was that? I did the repair myself with relative ease.
Styling: Yeah. Its a box. But look at the other cars on sale in the early 1990's. They were all melted-soap-bar looking things. I only think a handful of cars looked better than the Volvo in 1996- The Accord, The 300zx, The Lincoln Mark VIII, and a couple others. Also its a wagon, which looks a lot better than the sedan, so don't complain.
Some trim panels and bits are made insanely strongly, others are not. The trim on the hatch always comes detached and rattles around. Ive used kits to fix it, and after a while, it detaches again.
Reliability: Its very good, though volvo parts arent cheap. At least its better than maintaining an old BMW. One positive thing is that the volvo "warns" you. Every time something has broken, its broken down in my driveway. And then it starts working again. Then it breaks down in my driveway again, then starts working. It is of course at home when the final break down occurs.
So what's the bottom line? Well, I've driven new cars that felt worse than this (such as the subaru impreza). Its getting close to 20 years old, so its not perfect, but in terms of quality and driving dynamics, this car will spoil you. Though not as much as a truly great car will. In the end, I can't think of why you would want a CRV or a RAV4 instead of a Volvo 850 Turbo Wagon, except that you can get new ones."
Ownership Status I own this car.
Location CA
Year 1996
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Review 2 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Volvo!,
November 21, 2011
By Volvo Armo
Value: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Reliability: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Quality: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Not At All
10
Definitely
Images for this Review
(click to see full-size image)
User submitted photo
Approximate mileage:231000
ReviewOriginationID:379de089-4dcb-4550-a50e-040499295816
"I own a blk Volvo 1993 850 GLT 5spd with 231000 miles. I have owned this vehicle for 11 years. This is the 3rd car I have owned in 23 years, the previous 2 were also manual transmission Volvos, but with rwd. The fwd 850 is very different from the rwd 242 and 740 models; it manages to retain the Volvo greatness and shortcomings so typical, but also introduces features that rival some current models from other manufacturers. I have taken good care of the vehicle, focus on the basic fluid maintenance and service and these Swedes will treat you right, except for the quirks, which you must come to embrace. In Minnesota snow is easily navigated with winter tires. I suggest having two sets of rims/tires, make sure you go up a size 205 in the summer for performance and down a size 185 in the winter for traction. Your speedo will read slightly differently, but you'll appreciate the adaptabilty. In the summer I can handle 20mph over suggested cornering and in the winter I have never been stuck and jumped so many cars that I could start a side business. I travel a 300 mile hwy route regularly, 71mph depending on wind and cargo will net between 30 and 32 mpg. My wife loves the heated seats, I appreciate the fold down rear seats. Leather is showing age, but after 18 years, still very comfortable. I upgraded the suspension with ipd parts and left the engine intact, this greatly improved performance, but maintains reliability. Brakes seem to wear quickly, even when used properly. I'm still on the original clutch and engine has not been touched, excepting spark plugs and wires. I had to replace the fuel pump, and steering rack, those were the majors repairs beyond brakes and regular maintenance. When I have not been dutiful on the maintenance, the car will develop an issue and in we go for repair, or I'll get out the tools and try to diagnose! An example would be a starting problem, where the car seemed to have intermittent starting issues, tracking the problem made littlet sense and it never displayed the problem in front of the mechanic, it fixed itself and never returned. That sort of thing happend 3-4 times in 11 years, bizarre issues that would self-rectify. Oh, the amount of floor heat is minimal, I have replaced the blower 2x and the control unit once. I'd say that considering this was the 1st year Volvo introduced the car, it was and is an excellent car, but a couple bugs are present, no more I suppose than other brands. We also own Toyota and Nissan in the family for comparison. Those vehicles seem to need less attention, but they drive like a cardboard box on gravel. It is expensive relative to other cars that have similar value to repair an 850, learning some of the basic repairs can offset costs. For me, I love driving a Volvo and appreciate the quality, features, versatility and feel compared to most cars. From a value standpoint and if you factor in safety, it's hard to find a better value than an Volvo 850! Avoid the turbo for repair expense and reduced reliability, be sure to get leather, find a good mechanic and you'll be Volvo fan too!"
Ownership Status I own this car.
Location MN
Year 1993
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Review 3 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 10
2 out of 10
Pain Machine,
January 13, 2008
By J
from Portland, ME
Value: 
1 out of 10
1 out of 10
Reliability: 
1 out of 10
1 out of 10
Quality: 
1 out of 10
1 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
5 out of 10
5 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
3 out of 10
3 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
3 out of 10
3 out of 10
"This car has been a nightmare from the first week I bought it. It has been plagued by mysterious and never-diagnosed electrical problems that used to cause it to stall but these days cause the blower motor or various dashboard lights to work intermittently. A Maine winter without heat is something I hope to never experience again.
The engine, transmission, and clutch run okay for a 13-year-old vehicle, with the exception of an apparently self-healing oil leak and the usual oil-burning of an older engine. Also I have to refill the coolant fairly regularly.
The rest of the car, however, is falling apart around me. The seat-back adjuster on the driver's seat is broken and the seat leans so far back I have to use a pillow to see out the windshield. The front bumper is held up on one side by a piece of extension cord. The parking brake does not work in reverse so I can only park facing downhill. The design of the doorhandles is such that in cold weather they often freeze and I can only enter the car from the rear passenger side. The door latches freeze too and sometimes fail to shut. This is where the clothesline I keep in the glove compartment comes in handy. The exhaust was held on for a few years by a coathanger (which used to be the antenna). The sunroof leaks, so the inside of the car is perpetually damp/frosty, which is incredibly difficult to fix when the blower motor isn't working, which these days is about 95% of the time. Now it needs a new catalytic converter, which on a Volvo runs about $1000. I have poured about $7000 into this car in the 3 years I have owned it and I refuse to give another cent. If you want an incredibly expensive car to repair and maintain, then by all means this is the car for you. Mine's for sale, by the way, if you're interested. It's pretty good in the snow.
"
How long have you owned this vehicle? 3 yrs or more
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Review 4 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Buy only with maintenance records,
January 10, 2009
By Autobahn
from APO AE Germany
Value: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Reliability: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Quality: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
"I cannot recommend a purchase of this vehicle without the service records… unless you are willing to make it a “project” car and spend a ton of cash to complete your project. Once maintained and back on track you will enjoy the utility of the car for many years… I will still be driving this car for another 5 years or 50,000 miles. My 1994 Volvo 850 turbo purchased new with a European delivery was beginning to show its age. With nearly 235,000 factory serviced miles the old girl was still able to cruise the left lane of the autobahn at 120 mph… but an old Volvo in the left lane was no longer worthy of respect. When held back by traffic in front of me, other makes would inch upon my rear bumper in traffic as though I was the one slowing them down… A break in traffic would allow me to pull away from many of them, but each year it was fewer and fewer cars fading away in my mirror. On a recent trip back from Belgium I told my wife that I felt like Rodney Dangerfield… I got no respect! It was finally time to relegate the old girl to the winter slush piles and pony up for a new car. So, the old girl is now my winter car and with a set of snow tires she is unflappable and still happy to cruise the autobahn at 120 or leave 4WD SUV’s sporting all season tires in her wake on snow and ice. BUT!!! And this is the key thing for an old Volvo… DO NOT buy a Volvo without the service records. I maintain this vehicle to still drive reliably on the autobahn and have paid for the vehicle TWICE! Once for the purchase, and again for the maintenance, but if you think about it… most people trade their cars at around 100,000 miles any way… so they would have also paid for 2 vehicles and would now be on their third… BTW… the new summer car is a BMW M3…"
How long have you owned this vehicle? 3 yrs or more
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Review 5 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Great car for those wanting a bargain,
December 1, 2008
By wheels
from Central, NC
Value: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Reliability: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Quality: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
"I've owned it for 5 years, been in the family since new for the last 13 years 146,000 miles. Let's see common problems are AC EVAP which costs a lot to replace ($1500 or so) but you can easily do yourself with basic tools and a weekend for $200 in new parts, plus a a/c recharge. PVC needs replacing every 60k which again is easy to do yourself for $100 in parts or around $500 at a good indy mechanic. If that isn't done the Rear Main Seal (RMS) will leak a bit and once blown will cost around $800 to repair, or you can do what I do and ignore it and just keep oil in it (1/2 qt every 1000 miles of drippage). Timing belt every 70k interval $30 in parts or $100 at an indy mechanic, timing belt system (pulleys, tensioner, and water pump as well as belt) at 140k intervals. $250 in parts or $600 at an indy mechanic. The ABS modules tend to break but they can be re-soldered for cheap ($100) thru various contacts found at Volvo specific user forums. Transmission flushes a MUST every 30k if you want the tranny to last, mine has a hard shift nothing was done until 140k until I started working on my own car and doing research. But after a flush it's doing much better. Brakes are simplistic (but EFFECTIVE) and easy to do the rotors and pads yourself for <$300, or $600+ at an indy for lower grade components. I've put $2k into it over 5 years include routine mx items such as tires, plugs, coolant flush, tranny flush, timing belt components, rotors and pads on the 4 corners, etc. and to me that is a bargain. I'm looking for another to replace my wife's newer Jetta. These cars will last for 300k if you actually take care of them."
How long have you owned this vehicle? 3 yrs or more
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Review 6 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
6 out of 10
6 out of 10
good car,
April 7, 2008
By volvo fan
from Detroit, MI
Value: 
7 out of 10
7 out of 10
Reliability: 
6 out of 10
6 out of 10
Quality: 
7 out of 10
7 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
6 out of 10
6 out of 10
"i have owned a 1997 volvo 850 Turbo for about 2 years now. i purchased it when it had about 88k miles and now i am at 122,500.
the transmission died at 110k miles and had to be replaced, that was ~3 grand. the AC evaporator stopped working (common on the 850s) and it would be about 1 grand to fix, which i didn't want to.
other than regular maintenance stuff (brakes, shocks, fluids, etc) the only thing wrong with this car now is that it leaks oil from the rear main seal gasket. this will be another grand to fix and it is a very common problem with the 850 turbos.
that being said, it has been a good car when it's not in the shop being fixed. i must admit, the transmission failure was my fault because i used to abuse this car a lot when i first got it, and still the trans managed to last as long as it did.
i love the way it looks and the interior is all leather and high quality materials on the dash and just about everywhere you can touch. the sound system is superb (premium sound system) and it is pretty quick with the T5 engine. i got it up to 140 and i don't recommend you try this.
ride quality is a little stiff but manageable with the factory 16 inch wheels and 55 aspect ratio tires.
i'm known to have a pretty heavy foot and it still manages to average 19mpg with me behind the wheel, i get about 23-25 on the freeway.
all in all i think this was a great car to me, i just wish i didn't have to replace the transmission because that was very expensive and volvos are expensive to fix and something WILL go wrong with it, it's an 11 year old car lets not forget. that was the reason for the 3 stars overall rating.
"
How long have you owned this vehicle? 2 to 3 yrs
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Review 7 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
My second Volvo!,
December 2, 2009
By dasha
from Asheville, NC
Value: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Reliability: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Quality: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
"My second car was a 1995 850 GLT sedan, I got it my senior year of high school in 2004. My friends called it an old lady car, soccer mom car, etc. but I just sat back and laughed watching all their Neons, Mustangs, Cougars, and Eclipses bite the dust. I absolutely loved my car, it was durable and took dozens of 4-6 hour trips with no problem and averaged about 25-27 MPG. I had it until November of 2008 when I sold it because of a unknown (at the time) starting problem. I changed all the plugs and wires, distributor cap, fuses, and nothing fixed it. Come to find out, it was a crank shaft sensor (about $400 fix) I still kick myself for letting it go, but at the time I was really broke. If you buy a Volvo, make sure to take it to a mechanic that specializes in European or Import cars otherwise they have no clue what they're doing. If it's an electrical issue, check the sensors first...in Volvos it's almost always something minor and electrical like a sensor or fuse. The only issues I had with it was that the odometers tend to stop working. I bought my car at 125,588 and it stayed that way until I sold it...and the cosmetic things sometimes are a little cheap and fall off. Clear coat fades and trim on the outside flakes. All minor things. I am happy to say that I just purchased my 2nd Volvo yesterday, a 1997 850 T-5 wagon. The turbo really makes this car move and it feels completely natural and smooth to go 90-100 mph. All in all, I highly recommend a Volvo for anyone that needs a reliable vehicle. I can guarantee you'll grow to love and cherish it like a family member!"
How long have you owned this vehicle? 3 yrs or more
18 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Review 8 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
The best of Volvo,
July 13, 2009
By King
from Roanoke, VA
Value: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Reliability: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Quality: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
"This vehicle is one of the best Volvo has ever made. I received my 1997 850R for my birthday at 16. My parents trusted the Volvo safety rating; however, I've been saved by the performance features a time too many. As a young driver, I ofcourse test the performance features beyond the extent of the law. As I grew older I realized the importance of these features. It was not that I could cruise at 110 mph without the rmps even taking a thought at it, it was when I mis-judged a turnoff ramp and took a 15mph ramp at 65 mph when i could hear my tires squealing and the calmness of my driving take the turn in a nervous fashion and the 850 hugging the ramp for my life. I have to say that as a young driver I have had a number of close calls in my days. I am now 21 and have put over 100,000 miles on my 850 R. I believe I owe my life to this vehicle in so many ways. When you have a car that can go fast, the most important thing is that it can stop even faster, and with this vehicle, there was never a doubt. Almost all of my friend totaled their cars when they first received their licenses. I've been the only one to avoid those fatal accidents. I have now graduated from a very respectable college and have found my maturity; however, I will always have a respect for my 850 R. If you are one to realize that when merging into fast and heavy traffic, speeding up is a safer solution than slamming on your breaks, you are the one to own one of the most honorable vehicles on the road. You will learn to respect this vehicle the second you feel its power."
How long have you owned this vehicle? 3 yrs or more
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Review 9 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Rocket into Comfort,
September 8, 2007
By cybear
from Florham Park, NJ
Value: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Reliability: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Quality: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
"I finally own the 1995 850 T5R (wagon) and it's awesome, got it with 87k. Tracked down original owner, he didn't like it because he always brought it in for service to the dealer (every time the service light went on), who fleeced him each time for unnecessary and expensive maintenance and repairs. Since I already own a 1994 940 (for 11 years, 165k) and do much of the basic maintenance myself, it was an easy transition to the more powerful, ultra-comfortable 850 turbo. Love the acceleration, handling, seating, and safe feeling. Beats almost everything on the road, especially in "Sport" mode which kicks down gear plus adds turbo (watch for the tendency to go past 5500 RPM). Sound system is great, plays everything, esp. Alpine CD changer and cassette which turn on immediately. Of course, you have to "know" Volvo before you commit to something like the 850 T5R. Only problem with mine thus far is strange transmission "delay" getting back into first gear off hard full-stop, which appears to be electrical rather than mechanical (dealer no help, recommends replacing transmission!). Convinced more and more that Volvo dealers never try to find the simple cause of any problem, but will gladly replace parts and push unnecessary repairs. Do your research first and cross-check! The internet is much better source for almost every quirk, repair, and maintenance item, including OEM parts that are half-price of the dealer. As long as I can find knowledgeable private mechanics for major stuff, I hope to run this baby to 300k."
How long have you owned this vehicle? 6 mo to 1 yr
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Review 10 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Love it!,
April 1, 2009
By BNuts
from Los Angeles, CA
Value: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Reliability: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Quality: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
"I've had my 94' 850 turbo wagon for about 6 months now. I love it. I bought it with about 120K miles from a guy who rebuilt the upper engine from a blown head gasket. I've put a couple K into it for expected issues...breaks, a few front end parts, rear shocks, shocks for rear hatch, tires, plugs & wires. Typical maintenance for a 14 year old car. Lucky for me I found a great volvo mechanic in my neighborhood who charged me FAR BELOW what a dealership would. These cars are tough to work on by yourself. You need someone who;s got experience with them.
I've driven the car about 8,000 miles in less than 5 months Including trips from Los Angeles to San Diego, Vegas, Frisco, and Phoenix three times!!! The car hasn't made me nervous once. It's plenty roomy for a tall guy and plenty of cargo room for people or gear. It handles great on smooth roads. It's bumpy and noisy on rough surfaces.
I've heard horror stories of electrical issues, ac, tranny's, etc. The best defense with these cars is a good offense. Be proactive about finding things that need maintenance and find a good reasonably priced volvo mechanic.
The turbo has started to leak oil a bit and occaisionally puts white smoke out the pipe ($1500 fix). But, thats the biggest issue this car has had.
It rides smooth and strong and its satisfyingly fast. I was very nervous buying one but, I've had a great experience. I hope it runs forever."
How long have you owned this vehicle? 6 mo to 1 yr
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Review 11 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
The best car I have ever had!!!,
October 17, 2011
By Herbie's Lady
Value: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Reliability: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Quality: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Not At All
10
Definitely
Approximate mileage:192000
What's great about this vehicle?:Fast, solid, safe. A hoot to drive.
What's not so great about this vehicle?:no cup holders....
ReviewOriginationID:320253be-1b20-4895-afe7-2104609d74b1
"I have owned 15 cars since turning 16 (I am 45). From a '67 Chevy Chevelle to a '72 Bug to brand new off the showroom floor - 1988 Ford Taurus, 1985 Chevy S-10 Pickup. This is BY FAR the most safe, reliable, comfortable, high performing and solid vehicle I have ever owned. She is a '94 with 194,000 miles and I LOVE HER!!!! I put my foot into it just a little bit and power is there right NOW! I drive HWY 50 from Carson City to Sacramento all the time and this car hugs the road and takes those turns so well. It is truly a sports sedan. I also think that I get better gas mileage and performance using premium gasoline. I have every maintenence record since date of purchase. I am the second owner, but the first owner is known to my family and they were meticulous as well. I get her oil changed every 5k miles as suggested in the VOLVO bible....te he he. Occassionally, some things wear down and need to be replaced. Most expensive so far was the TURBO...but it was worth it. I will fix whatever happens to this car because I love it so much! I am currently trying to find two grill mileage badges; one for 100,000 and the other for 200,000 miles. When the day comes that I must put the keys away, I will be buying another VOLVO. They are the best cars on the market!"
Ownership Status I own this car.
Location NV
Year 1994
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Review 12 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
6 out of 10
6 out of 10
I bought it used and it's old.,
April 23, 2012
By Thisistiff10
Value: 
5 out of 10
5 out of 10
Reliability: 
6 out of 10
6 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
5 out of 10
5 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
7 out of 10
7 out of 10
Quality: 
6 out of 10
6 out of 10
Not At All
5
Definitely
Images for this Review
(click to see full-size image)
User submitted photo
Approximate mileage:143000
What's great about this vehicle?:great in snow, sun roof, frame and body is tough
What's not so great about this vehicle?:no cup holders, expensive to fix, leather seats
ReviewOriginationID:8bfd14fe688b4c9c9432a817db608f56
"So, considering it is a 1994, many thing went wrong because it's old. However, had it not been a volvo, it would have been much cheaper to fix.
Volvos are very sturdy. I call my car a brick. Not only because it is quite square, but because it is super heavy duty. An 18 gal gas tank and a fully metal frame makes this car awesome in the snow!! I went through many harsh winters with it here in Maine and it never failed.
I bought it used at 102k miles in 2008 for 3,200 dollars. It is now going on 4 years as my car and I have put OVER 6,000 dollars worth of work into it and it's not even close to perfect.
>>> Volvos will run forever, but expect to pay a lot for parts/repairs.
I have the 850 NON turbo, so its the "fully loaded" version. In 1994, CD players weren't in cars yet, so it had a huge tape player and radio. The [heated] leather seats wore out really quickly if you don't keep up with treating them. The sun roof is awesome! No cup holders! (Apparently in the 90's no one liked a soda while they drove around...) The buttons are all in a convenient spot, the door handles are neat, automatic everything, ride is quite smooth for an old car. I really do love my Volvo. It grew on me and we bonded.
>>> If you want a Volvo? The newer the better.
"
Ownership Status I own this car.
Location ME
Year 1994
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Review 13 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
7 out of 10
7 out of 10
Good,
March 31, 2011
By mikey
from Columbus, OH
Value: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Reliability: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Quality: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
"I had a 96 850R sedan. Loved that car. Great handling, speed and comfort. The suede seats were amazing and the sound system rocked. I was able to take on-ramps going really fast in this car, turbo was awesome. Gas mileage was a drawback to the vehicle. I had the car for 4 years without any problems and then all of the sudden everything seemed to fall apart around 130K. Needed to replace entire suspension system (shocks, ball joints, etc), brake system (front calipers failed, needed new rotors, & pads and a brake line needed replacing), parking brake needed to be replaced (it seized up), steering column needed work, the odometer stopped working, I constantly had to replace light bulbs (all lights went out in radio), the engine mounts were starting to go, and the car started to leak oil around the turbo. With all of the repairs that I made (and still needed to make)- and don't get me wrong I was meticulous when it comes to my cars so it is not like I neglected it and didn't follow recommended maintenance- It was costing me much more than a car payment and I was tired of having to constantly go to the shop and deal with unexpected repairs. I wish I could have kept the car longer because I loved driving it."
How long have you owned this vehicle? 3 yrs or more
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Review 14 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Refuses to die!,
January 10, 2014
By clinton
Value: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Reliability: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
7 out of 10
7 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
5 out of 10
5 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
7 out of 10
7 out of 10
Quality: 
5 out of 10
5 out of 10
Not At All
10
Definitely
Approximate mileage:289000
What's great about this vehicle?:reliable
What's not so great about this vehicle?:struts
ReviewOriginationID:1d6cab7ff9ed4d85932ce950cfd3ea5c
Make:Volvo
Model:850
Vehicle ID:8541
"This was my first car. Bought it at 16 (with help of parents) paid $2400. The car had 124k miles non-turbo. I was dissapointed in the look of the car when I got it. Far to boxie. It was a turn off. But at 16 I didn't really care.
7 years later 289k miles and still running strong.
Car has parts the break often.
Mainly struts.
I'm not going to lie at 16 you are not the most responsible person in the world. I raced the car. Floored it everywhere I even went 130mph in it more then a few times.
The car has never done me wrong.
The only major problems iv had with the car was the starter went out. And the mass air flow sensor broken.
I fill the radiator (leaks)
Fill the tranny (leaks)
Fill the engine oil (leaks badly after fresh change)
The car is penny and diming me but with oil, water, and tranny fluid that is all the mainance it has had in the last 160k miles.
The car runs strong. Tops out at 80. Can't keep struts from going out. But the car runs.
I love this car. It has typical high mileage car problems and has treated me, my gf, and are two kids excellently. I have no doubt this car will hit 350k miles. If I actually took care of it when I first got it and kept up on maintiance dare I say 400k+?"
Ownership Status I own this car.
Location MS
Year 1995
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Review 15 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
I make excuses to drive this car!,
February 24, 2013
By blackbowler
Value: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Reliability: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Quality: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Not At All
10
Definitely
Approximate mileage:206000
What's great about this vehicle?:Handling, comfort, reliability, 30 mpg hwy
What's not so great about this vehicle?:No cup holders, not torqy
ReviewOriginationID:e07c7ba49cc04593a00d8b57db9f7be1
"I bought this car at an auction for $1000 dollars and after replacing some really bad tires and getting it aligned I fell in love with the way this thing drives and handles. I have the 1993 850 GLT non turbo in black with a rear spoiler and I've come to see it as a very good looking car, I prefer the sharp boxy front end of the earlier years to the later ones. Power was aweful when I first got this car and I had a major starting issue, sometimes the car would even die on the highway. I was worried about reliability for awhile until I realized that I had a simple bad fuel pump relay (easy and cheap to replace) and a very dirty air intake/throttle body/idle air control valve system. Working on this car myself has made it very affordable and I recommend that anyone considering buying a twenty year old be willing to do so. The 2.4 liter 5 cylinder has a decent amount of power but I wouldn't call it torqy, I'd love to have a turbo version. The last thing I'll say is that the interior is incredible, everything is laid out in a simple to use manner and the seats are oh so comfortable. No real cup holders but the gas gauge indicates how many gallons you have left which is awesome!"
Ownership Status I own this car.
Location AZ
Year 1993
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Review 16 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 10
4 out of 10
WHY!? No more after this.,
January 25, 2008
By Volvo killer
from PA
Value: 
5 out of 10
5 out of 10
Reliability: 
2 out of 10
2 out of 10
Quality: 
6 out of 10
6 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
"I bought this car about two years ago. It had 135,000 miles on it. All it needed were the rear cam seals, so I had those replaced when I had the timing belt done.
It was a fun perfect car for about six months. Then, the transmission blew costing $2,300. I thought, ok, it's got some miles things happen. After that the headgasket blew, the turbo went, the transmission went for a second and a third time, the seat recliner motors are broken, the alternator went taking a few bulbs with it, etc.
I do really love this car but it's killing my wallet, and it would be hard to give up a luxury sedan for a cheap power nothing econo car.
It is an easier motor to work on, although this may be because I spent and still spend every weekend under the hood. Although parts are exspensive you can easily make the car a little cheaper doing things yourself.
I would steer clear of the 850 model, but would probably buy a 240 or a 740. I've owned 2 850's, and I regret buying the second. Both were money pits.
If I keep this car it's definitaly getting a manual swap. Maybe it will be reliable after having just about everything under the hood being brand new.
"
How long have you owned this vehicle? 3 yrs or more
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Review 17 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Last of the classic Volvo wagons,
August 2, 2007
By chuck
from Virginia
Value: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Reliability: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Quality: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
"What a great car!
My '96 850GLT wagon hasn't given me any serious problems except for an oddly high incidence of flat tires, but I would attribute that to bad luck, not the car. Service can be expensive, but is so infrequently needed.
The rest of the time, this is the perfect all-purpose vehicle; it can handle any load (I've used it to move three times), get out of its own way even without the turbo, and return 30 mpg on the highway, which would still be impressive for a vehicle of this size with 2007 technology. No wonder Volvo still uses this engine.
I love the look. Newer Volvo wagons are attractive, but not as distinctive as the classic 200, 700, 900, and 800 series wagons. The interior is a model of efficient space usage--I'm 6'4" and fit comfortably front and rear. The driver's seat especially is superb with a great range of adjustment. The only negative is a climate control system that is either seriously weak or inoperative, despite records of service less than two years ago.
Every now and then I think I'd like a newer car, but I just can't justify letting this one go!"
How long have you owned this vehicle? 1 to 2 yrs
Review 18 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
7 out of 10
7 out of 10
A Tank that will not destruct unless you try.,
March 6, 2008
By MattMadison
from Madison, WI
Value: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Reliability: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Quality: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
7 out of 10
7 out of 10
"My Volvo 850 GLT has 144,000 miles on it and I have yet to have a problem with it.
I owned a Cadillac before and when I drive this compared to the Cadillac you can almost feel how solid the engine is.
Exhaust systems can run a pretty penny. My mechanic saved me $1000.00 by somehow reconnecting the exhaust instead of having to buy the whole new part.
This might be an imported Swedish car but parts are easy to find, and are fairly comparable to domestic cars.
This is a good family car and business car. It gives off the vibe of a professional that wants to drive something slick and also is concerned about the safety of the family.
The only downside I can think of is comfort! The leather seats are a little on the stiff side and they take some getting used to. Owning a Cadlillac before with the plush leather seats that mold to your body might have me a little too picky about the Volvo.
These also do not seem to rust on the body... This car has lived in the Chicago area and Wisconsin for 13 years! I have noticed on other Volvo's of the mid-90s that there is no rusting..
"
How long have you owned this vehicle? 1 to 2 yrs
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Review 19 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 10
5 out of 10
1994 Volvo 850 Non-Turbo Manual Transmission,
October 6, 2009
By Wolf
from Albany, NY
Value: 
5 out of 10
5 out of 10
Reliability: 
6 out of 10
6 out of 10
Quality: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
6 out of 10
6 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
7 out of 10
7 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
"Received used at "156,000" miles in 2009. Unbeknownst to me, it had somewhere between 156,000 miles in 2006. So it really has around 190-200,000 miles.
Rear trailing arm bushings needed replacing.
Clutch is getting weak, however, I'm great at babying it along.
Fuel pump or fuel pump relay is currently broken.
Interior is comfy and nice, with seat warmers.
All electrics work fine, except for the stereo, which has broken.
Recirculation motor no longer operates as expected.
Rear main seal required replacement ($1,003 dealer cost).
Remarks on driving:
Decent handling, thank you five-link rear suspension.
Average fuel economy.
FWD, which isn't good, but it does fine.
Manual transmission lever is notchy, and has a firm action.
Never failed on the road, only in driveways.
Overall, its a decent car, and it looks very professional.
Feels nice and solid.
Not a car I want to loose, however, the repairs are expensive, and we are considering getting rid of it. The mileage is the assumed cause for the problems, as it is reaching 200,000 miles."
How long have you owned this vehicle? 6 mo to 1 yr
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Review 20 for 1993 - 1997 Volvo 850
Overall Rating: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
my 1995'er,
March 24, 2008
By 850GLT-rs
from Vallejo, CA
Value: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Reliability: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Quality: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Driving Dynamics: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
Design/Interior & Exterior: 
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Comfort & Convenience: 
9 out of 10
9 out of 10
"I bought the 854GLT used with 43,000mi on it in 1997. I've put on 150,000+ on it since. As long as I kept up with maintenance plus a few extra 1,000+ miles, I have not had any major issues with it. Routine recommended mileage maintenance averaged at $300.
Minor issue was the dash lights going out back in 2001 and had to replace myself because a $300 labor cost for $2 dash lights didn't seem that much of a return on investment. And the adhesive backing on the sunroof screen gave up in the California sun 8 years ago. I bought a 3M spray to compensate, but I reapply once a year.
In the past 2-3 years, the seat warmers have died, the lights in the center console and my power mirrors don't work. The stock 6-disc changer was great while it lasted, but hasn't worked for years. And the stock radio just quit picking up signals this March '08.
All in all, it still runs great. MPG is about 25. Sun roof still works. But wouldn't want to waste any money fixing the little things even though I haven't had an auto loan for the past 7 years."
How long have you owned this vehicle? 3 yrs or more
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.