1990 Volvo 740 DL Wagon b230f from North America


Unwitting time bomb


Various electricals such as taillights, cruise, air, and gas gauge.

Seat leather did not wear well, but heaters were great!

Oxygen sensor bad ($800).

Catalytic converter ($1500).

Rest of exhaust ($600).

Transmission leaked badly ($1800).

Bad radiator ($100).

Unresolved sensor issues.

Headliner was coming down.

Sunroof leaked and jammed.

Idle oscillated.

Car sometimes would not start.

Engine seized.

Alternator went bad.

The hood release cable snapped off because the latches froze - we had to open it with a pry bar and jury rig a latch.

General Comments:

This could have been a great car.

Excellent handling, particularly over the deeply rutted/potholed ice and snow during 2008, when most other cars' suspension was bottoming out; this car on dry or wet pavement provided a reasonably smooth ride with quick accurate handling. The seats could be more comfortable, but heated leather is wonderful when the mercury plummets. It did start well in cold weather, but not in hot.

We loved the utility as well as the comfort - it did what many SUV's or pickups could do, and yet, was comfortable and the kids loved the third seat (a real novelty nowadays).

There was no rust for as old as it was, and the suspension and brakes were awesome. The electrical had problems when my wife bought it but I figured I could fix that... but then in short order the exhaust went to hell, the cat rusted right at the body and the rest came off at 65mph (talk about LOUD!), the transmission started leaking within days, and the engine problems started to make themselves known.

From reading around and rooting around underneath, it appears that the mechanic at the used car lot jimmied up a lot of things, and my wife probably should have been suspicious when they were overly willing to make a deal. It could have been all repaired, or for that matter converted to an American V8, but it was prohibitively expensive to fix so many things when they had gone all at once, and we weren't sure what else would go wrong, plus we had lost our house to the flood here that summer, and had nowhere to work on it.

It was beautiful and it held on for about three weeks after the flood, but when the motor started seizing, we just had to let it go.

It's too bad the parts are so very expensive; this car was built like a tank and was easy to work on.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th September, 2010

27th Dec 2012, 00:24

The cost of running a 740 varies with the mechanic. I find it cheap to run, but am amazed at what some people have to pay for repairs.

The Volvo car club could direct you to a reliable mechanic, and club knowledge is great.

I am about to sell my 740 turbo, which is good for years to come.

I have done 110000 miles and had few expenses.

I was about to do a 6000 km plus trip when I decided on a V70 turbo 2.5 2004, so my 740 is up to the task with everything working well, and as new or better. I need a wagon to sleep in when my heart gives me issues, or else I would have kept the 1990 740 turbo sedan.

1990 Volvo 740 Turbo b230ft from Australia and New Zealand


Good value, safe handling and braking


1 balljoint R/H, 1 steering rack early morning sickness, 2 shockers, front only, 1 lower ball joint R/H side.

General Comments:

Safe, fun to drive, cheap on parts and service. Have you checked Ford and GM service lately?

Big trunk/boot.

Easy to work on.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 25th June, 2010

1990 Volvo 740 GL 2.3L from Australia and New Zealand


Mostly reliable, long-lasting and safe


Steering links (both sides) had to be replaced (used independent garage, parts cost NZ$140 each as opposed to NZ$800+ quoted by agents).

Headlining falling down (slowly but surely).

Central locking expired.

Speedo slow to react (kicking in around 40km/h), but fixed at home by dismantling and cleaning.

No engine or transmission repairs needed.

General Comments:

Strong mechanically, but ancillary devices (power aerial, central locking) and some interior trim flakey. Bulky to navigate in city traffic, but superb on open road (surprisingly economical too).

Great passive safety - had the misfortune to write the car off (September 2009) after losing grip on diesel spill and colliding on the open road with a heavy-duty fence. Car held up well and I was unhurt. Would have been a different story in my Mazda 323!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th October, 2009