1994 Volvo 960 Royal 2.9 i6

Summary:

Too cheap! Get a bargain

Faults:

Lambda light always been on; same with my 940 - never noticed any adverse effects.

Expansion bottle cap needs replacing periodically (50,000km).

Transmission PNP switch caused winter/limp home mode to engage, and would often block the starting procedure. A simple cure is to disassemble the switch and clean it, then replace; instructions can be found online.

Passenger seat switch gets dirty, needs cleaning.

General Comments:

This is my third Volvo. I have owned a 740 GL and a 940 GL, both with the bullet proof red block 2.3.

My 740 protected me and my passenger from a 50km/h impact just ahead of the A-pillar, with no intrusion to the cabin at all; the windscreen even stayed intact.

There was then no quibble in deciding to purchase the 940, which I drove for a year before selling to a tourist, who subsequently rolled it on its roof down a bank; it was then towed on its roof back up to the road.

Oil replaced, and the car then went on to travel a further 1500km without issue.

Nothing is built like a Volvo. I dabbled with Citroens, owning a super efficient TD Xantia as well as an XM; both cars survived little over 6 months in my care.

The 960 has by far the most comfortable front seats of any car I have been in, although you would expect the rear leg room to be better.

My model is the Royal, although not an extended wheel base model. It has all the extras like:

Cruise control.

Heated seats.

Excellent stereo upgrade.

Heated mirrors.

Leather.

Wood trim.

And an Eaton G80 auto locking differential, which I am not convinced with, due to how easily to engages, particularly in the wet. When exiting roundabouts, it can make for ridiculous low speed tail kicking.

The engine has excellent torque at low revs, and pulls nicely through the entire rev band. The car is very heavy, so performance is limited to about 9 seconds 0-100 in the real world.

Fuel economy is not so flash, but I'm happy to pay the extra. 8km/l combined, and with feather-light driving, 11km/l can be achieved on long journeys using cruise control just below 100km/h.

The transmissions on these cars are bullet proof, and the three modes to me is somewhat of a gimmick, as giving full throttle in E or S creates the same result. But W can be useful on loose surfaces, if you can't feel your feet and adjust the amount of throttle pressure yourself...

I do use S when climbing hills with a full load, just so that a lower gear is used.

Braking performance is good for a car of this size; you always feel that if you did not have ABS, you could lock the wheels at almost any speed.

Overall I could not be happier with the car. I considered a S280 Mercedes when it was offered to me, but decided to keep the Volvo because of the cheaper running cost, and potential repair bills are all reasonable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th June, 2013

1992 Volvo 960 Estate 2.9L petrol

Summary:

Magnificent, charming, timeless, solid, reliable

Faults:

Transmission electronics @ 250000.

Air conditioning compressor @ 250000.

Minor front suspension (some sort of bush or something, can't remember) @ 235000.

Driver's leather seat is pretty badly worn.

Steering has inconsistent weight when turning left in wider faster sweeping corners.

Interior bits and pieces, particularly doors, are starting to break.

General Comments:

Amazing car! Has been incredibly reliable. The twin cam 24 valve straight six is a waste in a family wagon. It spins beautifully and smoothly. Handling is predictable and inherently well balanced, with a natural tendency toward understeer. Not much feedback through the controls, so when the back does slide, it can be tricky to catch. Clearly, no sports car, but enjoyable enough for a spirited drive in the Adelaide hills now and then. Ride is rather crashy; lets most road imperfections through, though not uncomfortable.

Heavy on fuel, but we don't care as the car is fantastic and we don't do many km.

Plenty of room for our family of five and related crap. Seven seat feature is a Godsend. With the seats folded flat, an amazing amount of room is available.

Just about everything electric (cruise control, sunroof, sound system) no longer works (after 265000) and the interior is now looking rather tatty, but that happens with three brutal little kids and regular use. It's a 21 year old car!

Drivetrain hardware still going strong at 285000. Had to spend about $1250 on fixing circuitry in the instrument panel that was sending a faulty signal to the transmission computer. Amazing Volvo mechanic in Marion SA.

Engine's using a bit of oil now, but amazing longevity from a beautiful engine with alloy block and head, with very negligible servicing.

This is a marvelous car, that I will be sad to let go of. It's been solid, reliable. A timeless Scandinavian beauty. Massive old Volvo fan!

Old Volvos never die... they just get passed on.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th March, 2013