1989 Volvo 740 GLE 2.4 16V DOHC from Australia and New Zealand
Great car. Strong, reliable engine, smooth automatic transmission, safe and solid motoring
I have only had this car 3 months, however it has a full service history, and I discussed the history of the car at length with the previous owner and his (now my) mechanic.
• The odometer stopped at 271,000 kilometres 7 years ago and started working again 6 years ago. The previous owner estimates his usage to be around 70,000 in this time, putting the car at around 350,000 based on the usage since (Actual reading is 288,000). The odometer also is now not reliable, stopping approximately 10% of the time. I.e. if you do 100 kilometres it would not work for around 10 of them.
• The fuel pump relay broke after 300,000 and was replaced, around $200 labour plus the part.
• The fuel pump gasket has been replaced in the last 5 years.
• The muffler has stopped working and has been removed – the result is a slightly throaty sound on acceleration (not altogether bad.)
• Since I have owned it there has been a fuel leak from a simple rubber hose, fixed at a labour and parts costs of only $50.
• The air conditioner has been re-gassed, but struggles at over 35 degrees Celsius.
• The electric antenna now only goes half way up, but is still fully functional.
• The cable for the bonnet release has broken. I have a replacement for it, but a makeshift coat hanger release at the grille will suffice until I have the time to fix it.
Other than the above, there has just been normal parts replacements as you would expect for a vehicle of this age.
This car is in brilliant condition. Service history shows immaculate servicing at either 1 year or 10,000 kilometres servicing, and in some cases 6 months 5,000 kilometres servicing from ‘birth’ right up to 240,000 kilometres. After that there is no reliable servicing record, but I have it on good authority that the same owner kept regular servicing, and in the last 5 years was getting 5,000 kilometre basic services. With standard part replacements (braked, belts, shocks etc) for a car of this age, no other major problems have been encountered.
There is only a tiny amount of rust, around 4cm long and 50mm wide, above the rear driver’s side door. The paint is in extraordinarily good condition, clearly a result of being looked after well with regular polishing and waxing.
The interior is in excellent condition. The rear leather seats are pristine. The driver’s seat has been replaced with a better condition seat from the same car from a wrecker; the front passenger seat is fair – with some cracks and flaking bits. No evidence of the interior lining sagging from the roof, which seems a common fault on this review site. The door pocket on the passenger side has cracked and been removed totally, while the driver’s side is still going strong. Other than that, and the plastic over the seat rails on the driver's side and one crack in the dash board, the interior is near perfect.
This car is exceptional to drive. It has the 16 valve dual cam engine, as opposed to the standard 8 valve single cam engine. While the car is not fast, it's powerful and a great cruise car. It is a weekend car for me, not a daily drive, and I usually drive it a few times a week up the highway to visit family or to the beach / on a Sunday drive. The best performance from this car is at 110km/hour (which it does easily on a mild incline or the flats). It is smooth, feels refined, has transmission changes you can barely feel and has no excessive road noise. It can easily do 110km/hour up steep hills on the highway – but at around 3,500 revs in 3rd - but I don’t like to push the car unnecessarily when I can do it in 4th gear at 80-90 km/hour. Around the city it is a pleasant cruise car, being automatic and with good brakes. I have tested the fuel consumption for overall driving, highway and city, and it is between 11.5 and 12 litres per 100 kilometres. Not excellent, but not entirely that far from its original 10 litres per 100 kilometres per the 1989 specifications.
I would recommend this car to anyone looking for a strong, reliable car on a budget. You should be able to get a decent one for under $1,500. If I sold or had an accident in my daily driver, I would not hesitate to have this as my daily car. It is strong, reliable and a pleasure to drive. The only downside is that due to its age you would want to be doing 5,000 kilometre basic servicing, meaning you could be servicing the car every 2 or 3 months. But other than that, and standard parts replacements, you should have a great car that will serve you well.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th February, 2015