A fantastic under-rated bargain Coupe.
The offside day runner bulb didn't work when we bought it in Jan 2003.
The exhaust down-pipe needed replacing. I thought the original Volvo part was excessively expensive, and opted for a pattern part which has been fine.
The anti-roll bar link rods creaked, and were replaced at little cost by an independent specialist here in Hampshire.
The car burnt-out two stereos and was taken to Volvo for remedy, which they achieved easily.
The anti-freeze was renewed, due to a leak in the system.
The car also leaks oil from the back of the engine, which has yet to be rectified.
The "info-centre" sometimes switches off all by itself, maybe because of a loose connection. Very irritating especially when the petrol gauge is contained within it. This is a familiar fault to 480 owners! I will have this checked at the next service.
The seat belt holder, which extends to the driver from the door pillar, catapulted the small plastic bar holding the belt in place into the back seat. I replaced this, but I bet it will be hard to find in years to come and I don't want to lose it.
The car came with virtually no service history, which is probably why there were so many annoying things to be fixed when we bought it. So far it has been very reliable.
There's lots to say here. Generally I really like this car.
So far it has been reliable and turns heads quite often - there aren't too many about on British roads, and I even get the odd flash of the auxiliary lights from other 480 drivers when I see them.
The design has been given a lot of thought regarding safety, with roll bar in the roof behind the front passengers. Many electronic features were also built into the design of the car. (Well, it was released in 1985!)
The back wiper turns on automatically when reverse gear is selected and the front wipers are on, for example. There is a keyhole light in the door lock when the door handle is lifted, too.
The coupe/sports-estate design is well executed, and follows on where the P1800ES of the early 70's left off. It's one of the nicest sports estate/coupes that you could buy.
Mine is the "Limited-Edition" model, made from 1992-1993, which means you get sea-blue and silver paint with leather and cloth seats, plus Turbo style alloys, and a front spoiler. According to some price guides this is worth 5% more than the standard ES model. Look out for the 480GT (250 made) in metallic red with black leather seats and spoked alloys, and the last of the line 1995 Celebration (480 made).
The 480 is really comfortable! Some of the best seats you will find in a car - it's relaxing to drive, well equipped too, and quiet enough for a decent conversation with passengers at speed.
Many electric toys - windows, mirrors, glass sun-roof etc...
Interior plastics look cheap to my mind, and not everyone will like the dashboard, being typically old-school Volvo in design. There's an over-use of grey too. BUT, get to use it and you soon realise the ergonomics are brilliant. Some of the switches feel like they will break easily, too. And the 'info-centre' cannot be read in bright sunlight even with the dash lighting turned up.
Models built after October 1993 are supposed to have the best reliability and equipment - air-conditioning, airbag, and anti-lock brakes were standard from then on.
Beware reliability on early 480's, if you are tempted to buy the cheapest, because the electrics can be a pain, and costly to fix with Volvo.
Buy the Turbo if you want better performance, the 2.0 Renault engine isn't that fast!
I find the steering & handling are really nice (Lotus developed), but what on earth were Volvo thinking with the suspension?! It crashes and bounces, and is rock hard over bumps!! Why did they let it out of the factory like this... it spoils an otherwise good car, sporting intentions or not?
To finish I'd like to say this. How can you go wrong buying a car with only 58,000 miles on it for only £1400?!! In 1993 the list price was a shade under £15,000 here in the UK!!!!!!!!
And watch all those jealous people's noses go up in the air as you drive by, knowing they have spent £8-14k on a dull little hatchback with no character, and you got your immaculate 480ES for peanuts. ;-))
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 1st November, 2003