1991 Volvo 480 ES 1.7 from UK and Ireland


Infuriating and ingenious in equal measure


Mainly electrics: Info. centre bulbs went, when I tried to replace them, fuses started blowing.

Electric aerial/radio all went in space of a few weeks, never found out why, and when I tried to replace the radio, all kinds of sparks and smoke started appearing!

Dipped beam headlights stopped working.


Other than that, not much :)

General Comments:

I realised there were bound to be problems when I bought this 17 year old car with 100k plus miles on the clock, and to be fair it has not disappointed!

Performance wise I'm sure most speed-freaks will tell you it's nothing special, but the 1781cc Renault engine more than did the job for me.

Without doubt the 480's strongest point (apart from the styling) is the level of comfort. Extremely well equipped, it excels at motorway speeds, but unfortunately the very Volvo-like heavy gear-change and clutch make it less pleasurable in towns/cities.

Mechanically I have had very little trouble (so far) with this car, despite having done over 12k miles in 8 months.

The electrics are and always have been the real bugbear with the 480. If you can put up with the niggling problems mentioned above, you can have a really unique looking, nippy and comfortable car for really very little money.

The Volvo 480 Club Europe is a great source of parts/vehicles.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th January, 2009

1991 Volvo 480 ES 1.7i from UK and Ireland


Stunning value


Speedo works intermittently. Not a problem, as tacho is fine, and conversion from rpm to mph is easy.

Exhaust could do with replacing, but still passed MOT.

General Comments:

I had 500 GBP to spend on a 'disposable' car after the last one went bang. Thought I would have to settle for an old Ford or, perish the thought, another Renault.

Had to stretch a small amount for the 480 - best money I've spent. Ever.

So comfortable! Heated seats, electric gizmos. Performance great (compared to the Renault) on both motorways and country roads.

I'm glad these are under rated - no way I could have afforded one otherwise!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th October, 2004

1991 Volvo 480 ES 1.7i from UK and Ireland


You won't regret spending that £1000!


I have had no mechanical problems with the car whatsoever.

Electric window motors failed (this is a common problem) £120 for new the new motors, fitted them myself.

All electrics still work fine.

General Comments:

The car has great performance even after 140k, crisp handling, solid build quality and the interior is still holding up.

I never have to worry about car, has never let me down, always starts first time and goes like a dream.

Starting to turn heads due to unusual looks and rarity.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th September, 2004

1991 Volvo 480 i ES 1.7i from UK and Ireland


A cheap style statement


The gear-linkage system failed, required overhaul.

Fuel-pump required replacing.

Full new exhaust system required.

Engine miss-fires now and again when driven around town.

2 Shock absorbers replaced.

General Comments:

The car's styling is unusual. For a £1000, there are very few others that offer the same comfort, performance and distinctiveness.

Whilst not terribly fast, the car was enjoyable and entertaining. It has character in abundance. Corners reasonably well in the dry.

The interior is not the most solid, but is full of kit.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th December, 2002

1991 Volvo 480 turbo from UK and Ireland


An underrated modern classic


Manifold gasket failure. £30 parts £200 labour!

Brake switch. £5.

Headlight Pop-up relay. £20.

Alternator. £40.

Battery. £50.

Turbo pressure ECU controlled solenoid. Bypassed with manual bleed setup £20.

Endless day-running bulbs. £10.

CV gaiter. £40 inc fitting.

Distributor cap/rotor arm £40 inc fitting.

Rocker cover gasket. (Already gone when l bought it)

Massive gearbox leak. (Already gone wen l bought it)

Cigarette lighter never worked. (like l care!)

General Comments:

As a first car, l think l am a bit spoilt. It is extremely hi-spec given its age and the price.

The ride is excellent, the suspension stiff enough to give a sporty direct feel with the road. The car is perfectly capable of doing all day journey's in comfort.

Performance is good. The car weighs just under a metric ton and has bags of tuning potential for a serious enthusiast. (i.e. Not one for bolt-on-boys because there is NOTHING bar springs/shocks available on the aftermarket for this car... thank god.)

Expect good acceleration all the way up to 110mph, but don't look to get much past 120mph without modification.

Allegedly tuned by Porsche... well they did an awful job. The whole head setup is constricted and badly manufactured. Look here if you want to unleash more power.

Stay away from early models (80's) as these will be a constant source of grief with regards to electrics.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th November, 2002