Very good and fun car
This is my first Volvo 850; we used to have a 940 in the family a while back.
I have had the car for about 10 months, and so far the car has not disappointed me.
I bought it from the dealer, and it was actually in good nick, it had some dings in the body and the leather seats had seen better days, but it was not bad at all. It had 82k miles when I bought it.
The first thing I did to it was a major tune-up, with new spark plugs, wires, distributor cap and rotor and oil, air and fuel filters. The original wires plugs and filters really were in poor conditions, it improved the mileage and idle significantly.
Although the car is very reliable and has never failed to take me back home, there are some issues as you might expect in a car this old.
The first thing to go wrong was the turbo piping; it had a big hole in one of the rubber hoses that caused a boost leak, which prevented it from passing 3500 rpm. Luckily this was an easy fix.
After that the heater radiator failed, it had a major leak (which actually happened very suddenly, in about 1 week) and after I had driven it for about half an hour, all the coolant and water went into the cabin floor and windows. Obviously the car was undriveable like that, and it had to be fixed. I used the opportunity to change the radiator and intercooler, which were not in tip top condition either, and were likely to fail in the future.
I have had a good relationship with the dealer so far; as you can imagine, it is not cheap, but they let me provide the parts and they do the labor. The parts for this car can be obtained very easily and rather cheap with specialist companies in the USA, so it is not very expensive at all.
The car is very comfortable, especially on long trips. The seats are the best I have ever experienced in a car.
The car performs very good, it has more than enough power for everyday use, and at the altitude where I live (8700 ft), the turbo really provides good acceleration for overtaking maneuvers.
Turbo lag is evident, from 2500 rpm it starts pulling really hard until about 5000 rpm, where it loses some punch.
The brakes are also very good, ABS provides short stopping distances and good control over the car in emergency situations; it has saved me a couple of times in really bad weather conditions.
Handling wise, the car drives better than you might expect from a heavy front wheel drive. It is no BMW, but it is rather good.
The overall experience with the car has been very good. It has some weak points, such as the mileage and the fact that is somewhat big (at least for the kind of cars I am used to), but it is very safe, reliable, comfortable and fast.
I would definitely buy another Volvo.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 7th May, 2011