1989 Volvo 740 GLE 2.3i from UK and Ireland


Fast, comfortable, elegant, safe classic


This is my second 740 2.3 GLE. It has been very reliable. Only needing a new alternator regulator, which cost only £10.

A few dashboard lights have recently gone out, such as the bulb near the petrol gauge, and the heated rear window switch bulb. Otherwise it's been perfect, and starts first time every time.

The roof headlining is sagging in a few places. I might bother to fix it one day.

General Comments:

I love this car. The seats are full heated leather, very comfortable and supportive. It is fast enough with a 2.3 engine, not quite as quick as modern cars, but it pulls very well.

Fuel economy isn't great, about 20-25 UK mpg in town, and 30-35mpg on the motorway.

The car sailed through its last MOT test with no faults.

I hope to keep this car for a few years more.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th December, 2007

21st Apr 2008, 15:03

" Elegant "...it is not elegent... it is awful.

Design level same as a 6 year old kid drawing a container....

7th May 2015, 07:52

And enough of this 'safe' nonsense. Any modern car would make mincemeat of a 740 in a frontal crash.

7th May 2015, 22:36

These old Volvos are not as safe as modern cars, but they will still put up a fight. If I had to drive a 1987 car, I would want it to be a Volvo for safety still over anything from Ford, etc where safety wasn't even a design factor! Plus, I do think the design is elegant. Boxy, true, but it has identity. Anyway, look at anything built in America in the 80s and they almost make the Volvo look sporty. People in the UK and Europe have to remember what a big market the USA was for a small company like Volvo back then!

8th May 2015, 21:49

That "safe" isn't nonsense. Yes, you've seen the Volvo 940 vs. Renault Modus 5th Gear crash test. Older vs. modern. But this is a review of a 1989 car - not how great they are against a 2011 Corolla. If today was 1989, the only car equally safe to be driving in an accident would be a Mercedes designed for offset frontal crashes. For whatever reason, the owner isn't driving a very contemporary car. I'm sure they'd rather be driving an older car which was safer in real terms than other cars of the same age (or used car price range). Crash a 1989 Volvo against a 1989 Toyota Camry or a Taurus, or even a 1992 Civic, what are the chances you'd be better off in the latter cars?

1989 Volvo 740 GLE Wagon 16v from North America


A wagon that handles like a sports car!


5th gear (push button variety) replaced multiple times.

Radio display light broken.

Headlight wiring replaced recently.

AC broke (in Kansas in June many years ago)

Headliner recently deteriorated beyond hope and I pulled it down and scraped off the crud.

Lumbar adjuster broken.

Plastic bits and pieces beginning to wear; foam insulation in air ducts has come loose and it all matted up inside the vents.

Gas gauge broke, but repaired.

Various problems over the years; well serviced and worth every penny!

General Comments:

This is a sports car disguised as a station wagon! The turning radius is awesome; I can do a U-turn virtually anywhere.

Handles very well in snow, keeps on plugging away even when it's scraping bottom.

Even after all these years since '89, I've never found a car with more comfortable seats than our good old Volvo leather ones.

Wonderful design if you're trying to maximize your luggage space. Especially good for boxes -- nobody makes a good boxy CAR anymore!

Reliable, reliable, reliable.

I love this car and I'm hoping for at least 500,000 miles!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th April, 2007

1989 Volvo 740 GL B230F - 2.3L from North America


Great car, easy to work on, and fun to drive!


Rear brake caliper stuck on; replaced with junkyard part.

Headliner (ceiling) was missing; I replaced it (tricky).

Flame trap hose broken, I replaced it (really easy).

Thermostat broken, I replaced it (easy).

Dash lights loose, fixed (really easy).

Antenna stuck 1/2 way (like all 740s!) - I replaced the antenna (not fun).

General Comments:

I love this car! From the heated seats to the power windows, this car still holds up strong. It's really easy to work on too. I knew nothing about car repair before I bought this car, but I did everything! www.swedishbricks.net is your friend.

I don't think it's that slow either. The turbos are much faster, but pop this down to third gear, and you get a great Volvo roar when passing.

It is a tank, and really heavy, but that's OK. Safe right?

I can get 28 mpg on the highway (after I replaced the thermostat).

People complaining about their 130k mile cars falling apart... "What? 260 THOUSAND miles?" - priceless.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd November, 2006