1988 Volvo 340 GL 1.7 petrol from UK and Ireland


Dependable work horse


Bad wheel vibration at 65mph was sorted by new tyres and wheel alignment.

Heated seats and lumber adjust haven't worked since I've owned it.

Some rust on passenger door where it was re-paneled 10 years ago. All other panels are immaculate.

Difficult to down shift to 2nd gear.

The previous owner spent over £1500 on it over 4 years. Parts inc. clutch, carb, front struts, exhaust, ignition, brake cylinders, brake pipes...

Will change the cam belt ASAP - just to be sure.

General Comments:

The car was bought for £220 as a 2nd car/work horse for lugging stuff about.

But its so good I've sold my other car and use the Volvo everyday.

Comfortable hard-wearing interior.

With a mix of SENSIBLE town and motorway driving it returns 35mpg.

People have said that the handling is a bit scary in the wet. However, with half decent tyres and if you don't drive like a complete lunatic, you'll be hard pushed to lose it. But you can put the back end out if you want, and its quite good fun.

The brakes are amazing for a car this age, on a par with new cars.

Cheap spare parts are readily available from breakers.

Its not the prettiest car in the world, and has absolutely no credibility what-so-ever. People point and laugh.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th January, 2003

16th Dec 2004, 14:33

My first car was a 340.. I bought it for about 700£, which is quite cheap considering the danish taxes.. My friends laughed a lot, but I have never driven such a cheap and lovely car before.. It has a lot of space, the heating in the seats is great.. I am considering buying a new 340 next year..

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.

General Comments:

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

16th Jul 2003, 04:55

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!

15th Jun 2004, 09:08

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.

19th Aug 2004, 15:49

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.

Tjep Feenstra.

26th Mar 2005, 06:22

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).