1989 Volvo 480 1.7/ 70kw from Austria


Good concept - bad quality


Fifth gear started to make noises at 90.000 km (but works till now)

Water pump broken at 90.000km.

Cathalysator broken at 100.000km.

Permanent ignition problems.

General Comments:

Very nice car for individualists.

Unique design and good mixture between sportivity and comfort.

A lot of extras and gadgets for this age.

Very good body - no rust.

Engine and gear have very bad quality (the same types than in Renault 19) and are not reliable at all.

The performance of the engine is not bad, but in this regard I would definitely suggest to buy the Turbo if available.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th April, 2006

20th Jan 2011, 11:28

Well, I have also a 480 Turbo (for more than 3 years now) and I must disagree... What the hell are you talkin' about?!

"Engine and gear have very bad quality (the same types than in Renault 19) and are not reliable at all."

The engine is not reliable? At all?! Hey dude, maybe YOUR engine! The truth is that especially the engine itself is the most robust part of the car! This engine was used not only in R19 but also in other Renault types (R5 turbo, R21 Nevada)...

Volvo 480 is one of the best cars from that era. (Not to mention its look.)

Think it over and stop misinformation!

- Robert from Hungary -

1989 Volvo 480 ES 1.7 from UK and Ireland


Amazing handling, great performance, Safe, but dodgy electrics


Leaking water in boot.

The Computer failed which is the cause of all the below problems:

Wipers stopped working.

Indicators stopped working.

Speedo stopped working (electric)

Stereo out.

General Comments:

This car handles superbly. It has ample power (enough to have fun). It is also the safest coupe in the world.

I was involved in a head on collision with an out of control motorcycle, at a combined speed of approx 130mph. Needless to say, the 480 was written off. Although the bonnet was caved in, the cabin remained solid and more importantly so did I. The Police advised that if I wasn't in a Volvo, I could be dead.

I went straight for another 480ES and drove it happily until the computer malfunctioned and caused most of the cars vital features (indicators, speedo, stereo) to also stop. Volvo quoted over 500 pounds to replace computer, but couldn't guarantee it would solve all faults.

As tempted as I was to rush out and buy another one, I know the 480 has reputation amongst auto electricians as a bit of a Lemon. I don't really like any other Volvos, due to their bulky tank looks and handling.

I would rate the 480 as the only true Sports Volvo. Mechanically the car was a dream. The Renault engine they used in the 480 was actually taken to Porsche for finer tuning before released for production.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th May, 2005

1989 Volvo 480 ES 1.7i from UK and Ireland


A distinct classic from the nineties


Exhaust manifold replaced a 80000.

Driver side electric window riser replaced at 110000.

Clutch cable snapped twice, second time improperly fitted.

Computer connection in dash occasionally has faults, remedied by a few hard slaps.

Starter motor and solenoid needed rebuild and replacement respectively.

Day running light driver's side constantly blowing.

Failure of rear fog lights.

Water leaks in boot.

Water leaks in tail light assemblies, remedied with silicone.

Plastic holder for seat belt snapped.

Ignition assembly failed.

Lever for driver seat snapped.

Driver seat wearing.

Hose from intake manifold to mapping sensor, a small black plastic connector, became disconnected which was only solved by a main dealer 90 miles away with petrol consumption tripled. No local mechanic would even look at the car.

The car failed the National Car Test because there were no split pins in the track rod ends and ball joints.

The bearings and wheel hub for front left wheel had to be replaced.

There were an assortment of bushings replaced to pass the second National Car Test.

The coolant needs regular topping up.

In the usual 10000 service interval there has been almost no oil consumption until recently, and now it is less than a liter.

General Comments:

This car has been a pleasure to drive and has been practical as a hatchback. There is sufficient acceleration for safe overtaking on two lane roads in the west of Ireland where almost all of the past hundred thousand miles have been driven. The handling is precise and safe at legal speeds.

The car cruises at 70 at 3000 rpm since the day I bought it and the economy is generally about 7.6litres per 100km, with half town, half country driving, although weather conditions affect this figure.

This summer was unusually hot and the fan assisted cooling was often coming on, especially in towns or climbing hills. Generally the oil temperature is 83 degrees centigrade, and engine temperature about 72 with exterior temperature at 12.

The back seats are not comfortable for passengers for long journeys.

I expect to continue driving the car until a massive electrical problem arises in the various components essential to the operation of the car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 4th December, 2003