1983 Volvo 340 DL 1.4 from UK and Ireland


Disgusting heap of pig iron


Transmission drive belt (variomatic) constantly displaced themselves.

General Comments:

Very poor example of a hatchback manufactured back in the day when DAF were manufacturing cars. I had the variomatic model bought from a dealer for £3.000 back in 1987, and I have to say that it remains the worse auto purchase that I had ever made. The drive train was belt driven and these would constantly snap without warning, causing a complete loss of drive. Engine wise, it was the Renault B14 model, which felt sluggish and underpowered; this eventually seized even after regular servicing.

There aren't many of these around anymore, and I thank god! I eventually had to pay a scrapman £5 to take it away, which I consider to be money well spent. Apparently the larger 240 model of the day was a quality motor, but sadly this certainly was not.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 2nd December, 2007

1983 Volvo 340 DL 1.4 from UK and Ireland


If looked after, a good, durable and reliable car


When I first bought the car back in 1989, the first problem was rust around the roof aerial. This was rectified with rust remover, filler and a respray.

Total cost of work was £70.

Stater motor failed at 50,000 miles.

Alternator packed up shortly after.

The engine suffered from carbon build up. This could be diagnosed by a pinking or ringing sound coming from the engine when changing down through the gears. Repair work is easy enough. After some primary dismantling work, the cylinder head is easy to remove. There is no need to worry about the valve timing as the B14 engine is overhead valve. However be careful not to displace the wet liners.

The driver`s window winder mechanism failed at 70,000 miles. Replacement part cost £40 from the scrap yard.

Driver`s door look seized at 90,000 miles.

The hatch door pistons failed eventually.

Heated rear window stopped working.

Heated seats never worked.

Heater matrix began to leak.

Clutch began slipping at 100,000 miles.

This was never replaced.

Alternator packed up again, this time at 100,000 miles.

By 1997, rust began forming around the window seals on both of the rear doors, eventually creating holes. This was never repaired.

Engine suffered from low compression on one of its cylinders. This was due to a worn exhaust valve.

Ignition barrel started to become stiff at 120,000 miles.

Choke cable snapped. £10 for a new cable and half an hour to fit.

Water pump bearing sometimes use to squeal. Nothing to worry about. The pump never failed.

The three bolts that retain the air housing to the top of the carburettor often slackened.

The car was sadly scrapped in 2001 due to an MOT failure because of rust around the sub-frame near the rear axle. The cost for this work would have been £500 (more than the car was worth).

These cars are notorious for rust if neglected.

General Comments:

Admittedly, the 1397cc engine is slightly under powered at producing only 72BHP at 5200RPM. However, the torque levels are reasonable at 110NM.

The fuel consumption was poor. Around town, I averaged about 24MPG with sensible driving.

It was quite easy to spin the rear wheels in the wet. However, the traction was good in the dry when driving in a straight line. On a roundabout in the wet at speed, forget it, you will end up going sideways.

One morning, I had the fright of my life when I accidentally locked up the wheels in the wet. The brakes can be sharp and therefore catch you out.

The Renault engine is a reliable and a robust lump. It often went months without the oil being checked.

The engine was a bit clattery on start up due to piston slap, but never burnt oil.

Many people may say the 340 is an ugly car, I admit when I was a kid, I thought this, but to be honest the five door version after 1982 (no quart light window at the front) is fairly attractive. The earlier 340s, ie 343DL, 345DL (1976-1982) were ugly.

The engine is noisy at speed and will propel the car to just under 100mph.

The rear of the cabin has adequate space and is comfortable.

The boot space is roomy making this an all round practical car.

What I like about this car, is no one notices you. This car is not a head turner of a car (don`t go to the Guildford Cruise in one of these, unless you like being laughed at), therefore is unlikely to be sought after by thieves or jealous vandals. The good side to this is insurance premiums are low and you will never be pulled over be the police.

If you can get a Volvo 340 in superb condition, you may have got an excellent car. These cars are often popular amongst families and the elderly, so therefore tend to be looked after and often stay in a family for years.

A good thing about the Volvo 340/360, is there are several engines to choose from. The 1.4 (Renault OHV), the 1.7 (Renault SOHC), the 2.0 (Volvo SOHC carburettor) and the 2.0 (Volvo SOHC multi point fuel injection). The Volvo units are more robust, more refined and much faster, but also a whole lot thirstier.

I did become attached to this car and loved it. I wish I had the time to cure the rust that resulted in an MOT failure. If I had my way, I would still be driving this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st December, 2004

2nd Sep 2011, 14:36

I think your review is very honest and very informative. I would love a Volvo 340, as I think they are great cars, and a bit more intriguing than a Golf due to their rarity nowadays. My father had an F-registered 340GL 1.4 in the mid-nineties (his first Volvo in a long line of many), and can vouch for the skittish handling in anything less than dry weather! As I say, I would love a 340, as they are starting to become very rare, and are sure to be a minor classic in the near future.

21st Dec 2012, 18:26

I'm the writer of the review and still miss the old 340DL to this day. Apparently, there are only 8 345DLs left in the UK and only 1 365GLT. I would love to get hold of an old 1980 345DL or GL as I love the quirkiness of the car, especially the headlights, grille and front quarter light window. The one we had was the facelift model with the front quarter lights omitted. Last time I saw a 345 was back in 2005, and it was on a V registration being driven in Emsworth in West Sussex. I love Volvos in general, but in recent years, the new design concepts have taken the brand away from its originality, which also happened to Saab. A great shame, as I liked the uniqueness.