1989 Volvo 480 Turbo 1.7 from UK and Ireland


A rare hot hatch of a bargain


Problems existing on date of purchase:

Electric passenger window fails to respond.

Slight rusting of paint work on rear wheel arches.

Angle adjustment leaver to allow passengers in the rear of the car via driver side has snapped off.

Part of telescopic aerial will not lower/extend due to slight corrosion.

Paint work chipping on front half of bonnet due to possible "boy racers".

Two clips attached to the boot cover have come clear from the boot cover material.

Part of the internal plastic shell has cracked at the point the left hand side passenger seat belt mechanism resides.

The rubber gear stick covering is slightly worn.

General Comments:

This is my first car.

I love it. It drives like a dream as far as I'm concerned.

I have only had it ten days hence n/a as far as reliability/running costs are concerned. That said, it has started every time and it does an average of 30 mpg.

The main reason I bought this car was it came with a full service history, this includes a full engine rebuild in 1997.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th March, 2003

1989 Volvo 480 Turbo 1.7 turbo from UK and Ireland


Don't drive to far and don't press too many buttons


Braking System.

Electic window, twice.

Leaks water into boot.

Electrical system has completly failed.

General Comments:

Servicing and repair costs are astronomical, and difficult, in fact almost impossible to perform yourself without specialist equipment.

Dealer backup and knowledge is abysmal, I had to learn how to set the turbo up for myself.

The engine has excellent reliability, I can leave it for months at a time and it still starts instantly.

However, the rest of the car is as reliable as an Ex-con who has just jumped bail. All of the electical equipment works as an when it feels, I think this is down to a knackered computer, but with seven wiring looms and hundreds of earths its almost impossible to be sure. The Volvo dealers have no idea, but said they would be more than willing to take £48 + VAT per hour while they find out.

The design and quality of the interior is very poor, with leaks in the boot and bits of trim coming off everywhere. Also the design of the window opening mechanism and doors make it easy for cables to jump off pulleys and they are a pain to replace.

On the plus side when the car was actually on the road with the turbo properly set, up the performance was admirable considering the cheap insurance and age of the car. Acceleration appears to be much greater than the claimed 0-60 in 8.8 seconds although top speed is hard to come by once into three figures. About 120 is top whack, but it can keep with older Porches and other sports cars up to 100.

Handling is top class for its time and the brakes are well up to modern standards. The only car I've driven that totaly canes it in the bends is the Ford Puma.

Most people bought 480's because they look ace. Mine has body coloured bumpers and mirrors with clear front indicators (as fitted by previous owner), but I find that nearly all owners stick with the standard wheels. To stand out from the heard I fitted a new set of 15's with 195/60 section boots by Avon. These not only improved the handling, but gave the car the final touch it needed and improved its looks 100%.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd July, 2002

1989 Volvo 480 ES 1.7 from UK and Ireland


I'd buy another for spares


Silly electrical problems!

Speedo only works when engine is under strain.

1 day running light not working at night.

Multi-wire connectors coming loose under the dashboard.

Dry solder joints on the computer board.

General Comments:

This is a car packed with technology. It's fast, it handles well, and it turns heads. Nice big grills in the bonnet too.

Body is only just showing some signs of surface rust, bonnet is even made out of fibreglass!!

Mechanically sound. Definitely worth the money and effort.

Early models need tender care by a handy enthusiast. Can be difficult to work on.

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

Review Date: 27th May, 2002

1989 Volvo 480 ES 1.7 from Sweden


A car truly built for the driver


Rainwater - leakage into the car. Bad gaskets in the rear light units was the cause. Solved by a string of silicon.

No other problems.

General Comments:

An amusing car to drive. Economic too. High mileage on long distance driving approx 40 mpg.

The same spare parts as the 440/460 series.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd January, 2001

1989 Volvo 480 ES 1.7i from UK and Ireland


Nice, but problems are very annoying


Loads of electrical niggles, pop-up lights, alternator, dash lights, weak electric windows, but still starts first time everytime.

Idling speeds vary, fuel injectors, auto choke plays up.

General Comments:

Good economy, fast enough to be fun. Feels unreliable, but never is.

Don't buy a high miler or early cars, too much of a risk.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th August, 2000

1989 Volvo 480 ES 1.7 from UK and Ireland


A cheap fun car leaving you grinming from ear to ear


Odd electrical problem.

General Comments:

Good sturdy built car and very economical for its size. Average mileage around town, about 32 mpg and 41 mpg on a run at 70mph.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th July, 2000

1989 Volvo 480 ES 1.7 petrol from UK and Ireland


Despite covering in excess of 120,000 miles and not having the most careful owner, the only problems have been wear and tear and an electric window motor failure. Mechanics and bodywork still excellent.

Volvo dealership and spares are extortionate.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd March, 1998