I have owned both a 1991 240 Volvo, which I sold, and my 1990 Grand Wagoneer.
As far as comparing the two, it would be like comparing an apple and an orange.
The 240 is no SUV, in no way, shape or form. It is a city car, and that is where it needs to stay. It was just OK.
It had the same type of problems most cars do after 100 thousand miles.
Starter needed to be replaced.
The A/C unit need major work; $380.00 average I am told for these cars when the problem occurs.
The front passenger seat broke from the plastic parts used to recline it.
The heated seats were always blowing fuses, and the plastic interior such as the dash, door handles and door panels, all cracked over time.
There was a major squeal that sounded as if it was coming from the odometer, but after $275.00, was told that it was not the odometer, but from something with the overdrive. No one was ever able to fix it at Volvo.
One major problem that is common to the 240 Volvo, that not a lot of people know about, is the metal transmission line under the car. It has a habit of rubbing on the mount that holds it in place, and rubbing a hole in the line. Thus causing a major transmission fluid leak. This is a major problem, not only money wise to fix, but it's also very dangerous.
Still the same standard maintenance as with all cars.
The exterior paint had in no way stood up. The dark navy paint was dull, and did not retain its shine, so it had to be polished quite often in order to have a sheen.
Not to mention that it really only seated four people, and only the two in the front seat were the only comfortable ones.
I sold this car after 130,000 miles, and was so glad to do so, and got top dollar for it as to what it was worth; $3000.00. I had to have work done prior to the auto, in order for it to pass smog the last year.
Now about the Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
This is a car that was built to stand the test of time. It is the auto which started the whole SUV craze. It is a high maintenance auto. Understanding that is the first thing that needs to happen.
I have a Chiltons repair manual, and I can use it myself. I am a 5'2 female and weigh 110 pounds. Most people, even shop mechanics, are amazed that I know my Jeep so well, and I am not afraid to work on it myself (I did the same thing with my Volvo, but they're not as accessible).
I had the A/C compressor replaced ($210.00), including Freon.
The seats and the ride are very comfortable in the Jeep.
My Grand Wagoneer looks as pretty as the day I bought it, and it has always sat outside, in the snow and the sun (the Volvo never sat outside).
I keep it washed and cleaned. It always looks polished, as it has 12 coats of lacquer on the paint. That's how it came from the factory.
I check it over and tighten things as they become loose, and replace thing as they may need to be replaced.
You do have more brake maintenance, as the SUV weighs over 6000 pounds. That is a lot of braking power, and I purchased the SUV when I lived in the high country. I drove mountain roads everyday. I've even pushed snow up to my fender wells in the back county off road, and this baby never hesitated at all. Yes, you feel safe because you are safe.
I was at a dead stop at a light, and a young man in a newer small car wasn't paying attention, and rear ended me. He really hit me hard, we pulled right into a lot, which was right there next to us. He pulled in behind me to the right. He jumped out of his car and ran to me because he really thought I was going to be hurt bad. Not a scratch on me or my car. Those solid metal bumpers really work. He saw I was OK, and my car was not damaged at all, and he was so happy until I said it's your car you need to worry about. He said you really think so? And I said oh yeah. We walked around and took a look at his front end, and it was gone. He couldn't even drive it away. If I had been in the Volvo, I would have been hurt pretty bad, even with its great rear end collision rating.
My Jeep has 180,500 miles on it, and it still starts every time, as long as you start it according to the owner's manual. The first start of the day, you push down only three times, with a few second hesitation between each push. Then you turn the key on and crank it, and you don't stop until it fires, and when it fires, it starts right away. The rest of the starts that day are simple; turn the key and it starts right up.
Now that I live in the city, I don't drive it much at all, but still whenever I do, it starts right up.
I have never had a problem getting this car smogged. It has passed with flying colors every time.
The engine was replaced at 100,000 miles, but that was because my Jeep was under the extended manufacturer's warranty. I could feel a problem, but the dealership I purchased it from thought I was just a dumb female, and they kept telling me it was normal road noise. We went round and round, and I documented every time I took it in. Within a month of the warranty ending, the crank shaft fell out. The dealership told me tough luck. I said wrong!
I contacted one of Chrysler's top dog's, and explained every thing. Two of them flew to California from back East to meet with me, and they met me at the dealership. That was where my car was towed. After they looked over all my documentation and my car, they stated that if the dealer had serviced and made the proper adjustments as they claimed, the problem would not have occurred. Chrysler had my car carried to another town, and ordered a brand new created engine for it. Not a rebuilt or a used one, a brand spanking new one. When it arrived, I was there as well as a representative from Chrysler to open the crate and check the numbers, to make sure it wasn't swapped anywhere alone the line. They paid every penny for the engine and the replacement. Not one cent came out of my pocket. They told me that they built those engines to do 250,000 miles easy, and they would provided that they are taken care of. They said they stand behind the Grand Wagoneer.
Needless to say, they weren't too happy with the dealership, and pulled their service agreement as I understand it.
This SUV was built to last. It still looks good, and I still get complements all the time. People are always asking if I want to sell it. I don't want too, but think I may have too. I don't live in the snow any more, and I have a commute car, and I have another Jeep, a smaller Wrangler. More suited for the city. Love the Grand Wagoneer.