1992 Volvo 740 GL B230 4 cylinder from North America
It's a solid, safe, comfy tank, and a great SUV alternative
New timing belt and front seals at purchase.
All drive belts replaced at purchase.
New cam pulley at purchase.
Brake pads, rotors, and calipers replaced at 174K miles.
Front wheel hub replaced at 174K miles.
Ignition unit replaced at 171K miles.
Factor radio/cassette replaced with CD.
I bought this car for US$2400, and I've already spent about $3000 on repairs by an independent Volvo mechanic. However, I don't expect to need more repairs for a while.
The car is very safe (despite only one airbag), has an amazing cargo capacity -- you can fit a new bathtub, in the box, into the back with the seats down -- handles surprisingly well, and is quite comfortable. If you are a larger person, you will likely find this car very suitable.
Acceleration is fairly sluggish -- except when you turn off the overdrive by pressing the button on the gearshift lever. Then the car will grudgingly but dependably downshift and blast off. I hear the turbo version is much faster, but the N/A car is just fast enough and uses regular-octane fuel, unlike the turbo engine.
Handling is surprisingly good, and the car turns on a dime. You'll be shocked; you can do a U-turn anywhere!
Mileage is about 22 MPG, mostly highway, going about 70 mph most of the time. That can be improved to about 26 MPG going 55 mph. Not spectacular, but you can haul as much as or more than most SUVs, which get 10-15 MPG.
If you do your own repairs, any RWD 4-cylinder Volvo (i.e., the 240 series, 740 series, 760 series, and 940 series) is a fantastic bargain; parts are ubiquitous, the car is easy to work on, and there are sites such as brickboard.com that can advise you.
If you pay someone else for repairs, things can get expensive though not outlandish. I sometimes wonder if a slightly newer Toyota would've been a better choice for me.
Still, I think the big black tank has a certain panache. It's a cheaper car, that unlike most cars in its price range, doesn't look cheap; people take you seriously in it. Its appearance is identical to that of the 940/960 series, which were made until the late 1990s.
One important thing: Volvo switched its A/C -- that's air-con for you Brits -- to the non-CFC refrigerant (R134) in 1993, but offered it on some 1992 models as an option. It's definitely worthwhile to find one with R134, since R12 is no longer manufactured in the USA and supplies are running out; many 1992 Volvos have been converted.
PRO -- Safety, huge cargo capacity, reliability, comfort, respectable appearance, handling, real bumpers that you can bump the gate open with without damage, good paint, fantastic turning radius.
CON -- Mediocre fuel economy (but great for the cargo capacity), lots of rattles and squeaks, predictably slow acceleration, jerky shift from 1st to 2nd (a common and benign annoyance), no passenger or side airbags, leather seats crack easily with age.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th December, 2005
21st Dec 2005, 08:04
Hey, carsurvey editor! You mis-edited my review! I'm a professional copy editor, and "its" (with no apostrophe) is the possessive of it (akin to his and hers), not it's, which is the contraction for "it is." If you're going to change people's reviews, make sure your changes are correct first!
Also, my car is a '92 model, not a '91.