1988 Volvo 740 GLE from North America

Faults:

Headliner falling down (yes the particle dust is annoying) - needs fixing this year.

Mileage not as good as before, still good for its age.

Minor oil leaks; was fixed but still showing.

Brakes are weak (pedal is soft) - still stops as usual, wish I could fix the brake pedal softness.

Some rust bubbles showing last year (2013).

Plastic cracking or easily cracked.

General Comments:

I have had this car since new. Really enjoyed driving it around, was getting really decent 10.3-11L/100km for mostly city driving, and better if more highway driving.

Good acceleration despite 110 HP; runs quiet and best mileage at 100-120km/hr, engine more noisy at 80-100.

Fish tailing in snow (two or three 10-20lbs sand/cement bags help) or rear spin on wet surfaces (the solution is to use new or better tires).

Amazing - my car passes vehicle emission tests with results near or better than average for all makes and years.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th February, 2014

15th Feb 2014, 11:18

Colored thumbtacks work well for temporarily fixing a sagging headliner on these :-)

1988 Volvo 740 GL Wagon 2.3L N/A from North America

Summary:

A great tank of a car

Faults:

Basic maintenance performed - tune-up, clean MAF sensor, etc.

Both driver's side power windows stick.

Heated seats don't heat.

Front turn signal assemblies missing.

Speakers go in and out.

Heater selector doesn't slide.

A/C not functioning.

Transmission needs to be finessed to shift.

General Comments:

What a great old car. While a lot of the ancillaries aren't working, keep in mind it's 22 years old with nearly 300.000 miles on it. We bought it to replace a '99 Volvo V70, which got totaled.

I bought it for $500, and after a tune-up, the durable old B230 motor runs pretty well. While it's far from a speed demon, it's a torquey motor that will keep up with traffic far better than its power ratings would suggest. With an injector cleaning, this motor should last as long as I need/want it to.

The interior is not in great shape - cracks on the dash, trashed driver's seat upholstery, disintegrated headliner - but as cheap as the plastics look, there's no rattling or squeaking, a real testament to how the Swedes made these cars back then. The V70's interior wasn't even holding up this well with less than half the miles and age. The seats are fantastic, easily some of the most comfortable ever made. It's distinctly roomy inside both for passengers and cargo.

It rides like a truck in town, but on the highway it smooths out and it makes for a superb road car - stable, smooth ride, reasonably quiet. Even before I got the overdrive working, it got 25+mpg on the highway, and it should be capable of 27+ now that overdrive works.

As mentioned, the automatic transmission does require some technique to drive. 3rd and 4th gear come only if you let off the gas while you drive. A transmission service is in order.

This is a fantastic car for the price I paid, and I would do it again. Where it counts - the mechanicals and structure - the car should outlast nearly anything else on the road, including more modern Volvos.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th December, 2010

1988 Volvo 740 2.3 from North America

Summary:

Great car!

Faults:

The left ball joint needed to be replaced around 250,000 miles.

Seats wore badly.

A/C stopped working.

General Comments:

This car was a tank. The engine ran great.

Around 250,000 miles small problems started to mount. The engine and transmission leaked, a motor mount broke, there were some electrical problems with the rear lights. The car had almost 300,000 miles on it, though.

Big, solid, heavy car that has an engine that will run forever. I drove it to the junk yard. The engine just didn't want to die.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th March, 2009

1988 Volvo 740 GLE from North America

Summary:

Faithful as an old dog, and a sturdy as a tank!

Faults:

Keeping in mind that the car was 10 years old when I bought it, in the 10 years since, I've replaced:

Starter.

Water pump.

Fuel pump.

Heater valves.

Shifter bushing.

Alternator bushing (just the bushing, not the entire alternator).

A/c compressor.

Muffler.

Gaskets.

Additionally, I had to replace a couple of minor hoses and sensors, but they were so inexpensive they're hardly worth mentioning.

In all I've been averaging about 1 in-garage repair a year. In all I've probably spent around 2000 in repairs over the past 10 years not counting the occasional brakes, tires, and batteries.

The only issue I would say is problematic would be the electrical system and/or wiring. I have to keep a steady supply of spare tail lamps in my glove compartment, due to a short in the wiring that my mechanic says is a common problem with Volvos. This can of course be fixed, but the labor alone required to track down the short would be astronomical compared to the 1 or 2 bucks I spend a month on replacement lamps.

General Comments:

All in all, my Volvo's been a wonderful car. Faithful as an old dog and sturdy as a tank (I know because she's had a few close calls and still runs like a champ).

Volvos have a reputation for running half a million miles or more. I'm at 200,000 miles and still running strong.

As far as style is concerned, the older Volvos are timeless classics. Not everyone enjoys the "brick", but what's great about them is that they're immediately recognizable and resemble nothing else on the road. Once Ford took over of course this all changed. The newer Volvos are often confused with Toyotas, Mazdas, and Suzukis.

Parts for repairs are generally slightly above average in cost, but well worth the investment. With even the minimum amount of maintenance, this car will run forever.

Seats 4 average sized adults comfortably, although I've had male passengers complain about head room.

Drives and handles like a European car (If you've driven European cars before, you'll know what I mean. They feel completely different from American cars or Asian imports).

Best to find a mechanic who specializes in Volvos. Most other well intentioned mechanics will simply waste your time and money trying to isolate a problem that a seasoned Volvo mechanic can diagnose in seconds.

Mild vibration common among Volvos.

I've had my Volvo 10 years, and would gladly keep it 10 more if it didn't look so rough. The leather seats have cracked, the paint's fading, and I have a few dings and dents from a couple of close calls. I'm in the process of searching for another car now, and I plan on it being another newer model Volvo.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th September, 2007

28th Sep 2007, 09:17

"Faithful as an old dog, and a sturdy as a tank!"

- It's much more of an old dog than a tank.

29th Sep 2007, 03:31

No, I agree with the original reviewer. These Volvos are great - no matter how you treat them, they just keep going. Fantastically engineered vehicles with the customer/owner in mind - not just the companies profits!!!

5th Sep 2008, 20:53

My Volvo 740GLE was 100,000 miles when it threw the timing belt and it cost me $1200 to repair all the damage caused by this event. My wife and I crossed the US from NYC to Omaha with no problems in this vehicle after the repairs. Then one day, driving at about 15 mph, the timing belt flew off again and this time I decided not to lay out the bucks to repair the old Volvo. It was a shame because the interior and exterior were beauty. I hope nobody else has had this problem. Maybe mine was just a lemon waiting to explode. Anyway, beware the timing belt!

9th Jul 2010, 15:03

Hi!

Was curious about the timing belt - the 8 valve engines are non-interference engines (shouldn't bend valves) - was yours a 16 valve version (which IS an interference engine)?

Mike.

12th Nov 2010, 08:56

Yes, this car will run forever as long as you keep up with the basic maintenance. I'm currently driving one that my mother in law bought straight off the assembly line in Sweden. It has 310K miles on it. (Actually, that's last time it registered). It is a solid car. you feel like you can take down a brick wall. However, don't count on winning any drag races. The inline 4 engine is over whelmed by such a heavy car.