1990 Volvo 740 glt 16v 2.3 from UK and Ireland


What better roller could you get for the money?


I was stumped for a while by the frequent non starting of this car - blaming the immobiliser connections, but I solved it eventually. The solenoid on the starter gets hot after a run, and won't engage. This is solved by gently tapping it with the lug wrench whilst someone turns the key. I had to do this at every start during the Summer. Obviously these cars prefer the cold weather!

Shortly after purchase the rear suspension suddenly sagged pathetically on one side, a drop of a couple of inches. Replacing the shocks didn't help. The springs look fine. I haven't worked out the problem yet.

The tailgate gas struts gave up today, or rather the one remaining one that worked.

The window switches are temperamental.

The seat belts sometimes don't seem to engage very reassuringly.

The steering column itself seems to 'click' every now and then, as if there is play in the joints. All of the track rods and joints seem solid though.

Someone stole the headlight wipers.

Someone side-swept it and drove off, pushing the driver door out of shape, decimating the heated mirror, and denting the wheel arch. I would love to have seen the state of his car though.

General Comments:

I bought this car after reading reviews such as these. I wanted a big powerful car for long distance driving, and reliability around town. After owning a 1972 VW camper that did 16 mpg at 55 mph I am more than happy with the 25 mpg at 70 - 100 mph that this beast delivers.

It is sooo comfortable to drive. I have sat in a new BMW since and it was horrible in comparison. Imagine driving around town on your sofa. There is nothing in this price range that compares.

The interior trim is cheap and nasty - loads of cracks and things hanging off.

For its weight (and it feels VERY safe by the way) it pulls off quite quickly. It's a 16v 2.3i. For an engine @ 140k this is still pretty powerful. I did drive a 740 2.0l injection and in hindsight it was a slug in comparison to mine, so engine size and type varies performance more than I would expect.

The gearbox is a bit clunky, and it has popped out of second gear a couple of times. It's not a performance box, but it will see you fine on long distance journeys.

I have seen no need to even look at the spark-plugs in this engine - it runs so sweetly. I will service it soon, and I'm sure it will easy to work on.

When this one is dead I will certainly buy another Volvo estate. All other cars are just too small and 'lightweight'.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th November, 2002

18th Jul 2004, 10:44

Incredible, I have just decided to go ahead with the purchase of a 740 GLT 16V when I came across this review and has definitely helped me make my mind up, I too owned a bay window Vee Dub camper van until recently and have found every other car too small and poky or not enough umphh, thanks to the author of this.

20th Jan 2008, 08:20

I love the 740 I got in trade of some yard work. It has 217,000 and it runs nice. Outside very nice; inside not so, but very roomy. I can feel the safety this car has got to offer. nelson c. from haverhill mass. thanks for all comments.

29th May 2010, 13:38

I have a 740 GLT too - they are easy enough to work on for basic servicing, but beware the timing and balance shaft belts. Unless you are a competent home mechanic with access to special Volvo tools, this job is one for the specialist - and these belts NEED changing at the required intervals, or catastrophic engine damage WILL occur should the belts break.

IMO the Volvo 740 is quite possibly the best used car you can buy on a budget.

1990 Volvo 740 turbo from North America


Fantastic choice if you do your own work, or can afford dealer repairs!


Luckily, most of the problem areas have been replaced prior to my getting the car. Ridiculous that a car should have to be towed into the dealer with 20,000 miles!!! It was towed in on two occasions between 20,000 and 25,000 miles. The first time the problem was with the nagging Volvo problem of the fuel pump relay.

The second time that it was in the shop they replaced most of the sensors that are on the engine. Crank position sensor and several others.

At 60,000 miles, the engine wiring harness was replaced. This is also an expected repair on the "earlier" Volvos.

Since we have had her, there have been very few problems. I credit this to the fact that I am an enthusiast, and I am always doing preventative work to keep her out of the shop. I would hate to be someone who just drove my car, and then had to be at the mercy of the dealer when something went out...

Interior trim on Volvo's is ridiculous as well! This car was $27,000 in 1990, and has plastic trim that reminds me of my Ford Fiesta. I realize that this car is 12 years old, but broken trim pieces were a problem on this car from the day they were produced.

I have just replaced the rear pinion seal. (140,000 miles)

Crappy Volvo radiator was replaced with a genuine METAL radiator. Well worth the minimal investment. Again, plastic is a bad choice...

General Comments:

As much ragging as I have done on this car in the last section, we simply LOVE it!!

Performance of the Turbo is fantastic! We have towed cars to the east coast twice now (3,600 miles round-trip), with nary a hiccup. Even with a loaded 16 foot tandem car trailer, this car will scoot!!

Seats are the greatest! Extreme comfort (MUCH better that the Civic's!!), and the heated option is the best!

Sunroof is used year-round! Primarily due to the fantastic Volvo heater.

Space in this car cannot be beat! When we camp, if the weather is bad, we move the gear to the tent, and camp in the car!

Rear kicks out easily in wet or icy pavement, but remains predictable. First couple times that it happens, though-it can be a surprise!

Touring TA Radials are pricey, and wear quickly (30,000 miles) but cannot be beat for the performance on this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th October, 2002

6th Jan 2003, 21:23

Thanks for your honesty. You have convinced me to Buy one.