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).

1988 Volvo 340 GL 1.7 from UK and Ireland


Perfect for first time drivers, if you can drive a 340 you can drive anything!


Firstly the starter motor decided to run with the engine, consequently the starter died after 4 months. I broke down in traffic, I laughed, not many people did.

Top hose on the radiator split today, called out a patrol truck from automobiles association to repair the fault.

Other than that the car has been fine and not given me any other trouble.

General Comments:

I find the Volvo a little thirsty at times, but if you keep the revs when driving under 3,000 I find no problem with the fuel economy.

The power is lacking sometimes especially when pulling away in hot weather, however in rainy conditions the Volvo drives fine.

I find the suspension a little boat-like at times, but its to be expected with a bigger, heavier car. I like the suspension as it is very smooth on uneven road surfaces.

One point though, where are the cup holders?. Everytime I have a drink in the Volvo I'm at a loss as to where to put it so it won't spill.

Other than that I like the Volvo a great deal, I may only be 20 but I would definetly buy another 340 if and when this one decides to put its wheel's into the air hehe.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd March, 2002