1988 Volvo 340 DL 1.7 from Belgium


No nonsense, reliable and cosy car


Very few things went wrong :

Pneumatic boot struts failed (have been replaced).

A few problems with the carburettor, which is a common problem on the 340 1.7.

New clutch after 270.000km.

At 314.000km, I had to work on the radiator, new tires, brakes and exhaust, so I decided to go for a newer Volvo (S40 1.8).

General Comments:

Typical underdog : bad looks, but nice acceleration and handling. Loved the car, especially for travelling long distances on the highway at 140-160km/h. I managed to drive at 7 litres/100km, and it never broke down, except for the carburettor problem that appeared twice.

Very beautiful blue plush/tweed interior.

Only minor points : petrol tank was too small (45 litres) and no power steering on the DL in Belgium.

I have fond memories of the car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th December, 2010

1988 Volvo 340 DL 1.4 from France


Retro cool, cheap, easy to DIY and super comfy


When I bought this car, it had the French MOT, but hadn't been running for a month or two, and was extremely thirsty on gas. After getting documented, I decided to refurbish the carburettor, which was warped.

It was a lot of sanding work to get the base plate straight again, and I was extremely lucky to find a set of gaskets for this old complicated and unreliable Weber carb.

I also changed to ignition spark emitter and distributor head, spark plugs, oil, cooling fluid and all the filters.

I changed the rear exhaust silencer too that I got second hand.

All in all, about 250€ repairs worth and some sweat. But still OK given I bought the car for 400€. Parts are not common in France, but still reasonably cheap.

General Comments:

The car now works fine, and is giving no sign of faults to come.

It's a charming car. I love its retro shape and the ride is smooth, safe and comfortable. Does not pull girls I suppose, but does make fiends laugh.

The engine is no-nonsense extremely basic French engineering, the conception of which dates back to the Renault 4. We're talking about the Cléon line of engines that were only discontinued in the early 90s! Except Volvo had them made by DAF from what I've read. It's trouble-free provided the flimsy carburettor works and it has a permanent transmission chain rather than a belt that you have to change. It's a little slow and still a bit thirsty (but I'm fine-tuning the carb screw settings right now, so should be economical soon).

The dashboard is dull though layout is efficient and quality OK. It reminds me of a friend's Golf 2. Glove box is sweetly lit when opened, and I love the light right of the steering wheel to help you find the ignition - very smart these Swedes. Doors make a lovely solid bang when they close and seats are terrific. Dials are a cool red needle on green figures.

All in all, a straightforward, solid, rather reliable and cheap, extremely comfortable, not so fast, head turning (deafening looks!) car that makes you feel a little special and way better than in many dearer yet cheaper made cars (eg, the Clio RL I used to have).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd May, 2010

1988 Volvo 340 GLE 1.7 from UK and Ireland


I love this car; when it breaks down I break down


The distributor cap is prone to corrosion and needs replacing frequently.

Generally at the age it is, parts are simply wearing out.

And I can't get spare parts.

General Comments:

One time. It was parked up and got hit by an artic lorry. It got dragged but it stopped the lorry.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th December, 2008

1988 Volvo 340 GLE Limited Edition 1.7 petrol from UK and Ireland


RECOMMENDED! Limited Edition Quality Bargain, one to keep!


Bought car "as seen" of ebay really cheap... found out it hadn't been serviced for years! Drove well despite needing a new radiator and hardly having any oil in it!

Clutch slipping in high gears at 3000rpm+, copious oil leaks from engine.

Mileometer (but not speedo) ceased to work after 2 days of picking car up!

Heated (leather) seats don't work

Some rust on door bottom corners, slight bit on rear outer arches, and (more annoyingly) steel sunroof panel.

General Comments:

Replaced all engine gaskets and seals, even rear cam seal. Clutch slip was due to oil leaked onto it, cured itself after a long, hard drive.

Plan to cure mileometer and heated seats, and (eventually) sort out the rust.

Fantastic car to drive, quite heavy, but enjoyable. A limited edition GLE (of only 300!) this has alloy wheels, full leather interior and all the usual GLE gizmo's.

I don't know why, but I love driving this car. It's old (always a bonus), stately and (to me, anyway) exudes quality. These cars where slated back then, but compared to a Mk3 Escort and suchlike, feel like a Rolls Royce!

I have many different cars, my main car is a mint BMW 520i 24v... and I love these Volvo's. Praise indeed! Most left nowadays are neglected sheds, give it a couple of years and there will be hardly any left. Grab yourself a bargain battleship whilst you can!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th March, 2004