1988 Volvo 340 GL 1.7 from UK and Ireland
A dependable, but frighteningly ugly machine!
Required a new clutch.
Needed wheel bearing.
Replaced the carb twice (to no avail, it seemed to enjoy running like a pig at idle!)
It ate front tyres.
Other minor things like brake pads etc.
Driving the 340, at first, was a pleasurable experience as I had been driving a 950cc Fiesta previously. However, it didn't take long before the novelty wore off and I began to realise just how truly disgusting the car was. The ridiculous 1.7 litre engine dropped oil from the sump and the gearbox leaked oil from the back of the car which failed to impress me. The engine refused to idle unless the choke was opened which added a whole new dimention of nightmare-ish-ness to traffic jams.
Never before or since have I driven a car that handles as badly as the 340. Cornering in the wet while accelerating (even gently) would, without fail, throw you and your unsuspecting passengers into an extremely frightening and, it has to be said, life threatening situation as the back end began to slide. If I had a pound for every time I ended up facing the opposite direction in that car, I would have been able to afford something with traction control!
The performance of the 1.7 was passable, but certainly on the miserable side, and get some passengers in the back and acceleration is non-existant. I look back on that engine with particular distaste as I now drive a 760 Turbo which is a totally different (and infinitely better!) world.
But perhaps the worst thing about the 340 was the way it looked. Never have I laid eyes on anything so ugly in my life. A disgrace. What were they thinking when they came up with that monstrosity? Its horrible from the front. Its got a fat rear. From the side it looks truly unflattering leaving absolutely no angle from which it looked remotely attractive!
Although it ran like a pig, it never actually broke down once, however, which is a fair achievement really. And I must congratulate the boys and girls at Volvo because they certainly know a thing or two about seats! I was very comfy in the 340. But, I can happily say my 340 days are over.
To sum up, if you need a good car for under £200, you will not find anything to beat it. But if you don't like driving round in 8 tonnes of solid iron then perhaps you should look elsewhere!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd November, 2002
A rather harsh judgment perhaps. Some over-steer in wet conditions to be expected of a rear-drive car with cart springs... sympathetic driving is vital. My 1.7GL is a fine motorway cruiser and has been very reliable and cheap. It drops no oil, uses no oil, starts first time in all weathers and feels as if its 120000 miles are only the start. These cars are cheap, strong, reliable and well made, although my 1989 car is showing signs of bodywork corrosion now. Ugly is the new chic!
My 1.7GL is fine little car, and although they do have very soft springs, they are in fact little over 1 tonne. Mine also accelerates quite rapidly, having fiddled a little with the carb.
Also, do you have a spoiler, because it can make all the difference.
If it has a choke it must be a 1.4 liter. If it doesn't idle without choke the idle cut-off valve is likly to be broken.
My volvo 340 1.7 (now 17 years, 220.000 km) hasn't still dropped any oil. It is very pretty from all angles, specially the rear angle (if mounted the spoiler on the back rear door). After 17 years it still has details that modern cars don't (but for extras).