1993 Volvo 850 GLT 2.4 20 Valve from North America


The 850 is the car that saved Volvo


The radiator leaked in cold weather, we replaced it at 360,000 km.

A cable in the drivers seat needed repair, the dealer charged $200.

The parking brake cables seized and the parking brake pads fell apart.

The throttle will freeze up in minus 40C weather, but really, who wants to be out in that anyway?

The heater fan blew up at 425,000 km. The replacement fan had a much thicker and stronger outer ring on the squirrel cage.

General Comments:

With proper maintenance, the 850 is a car that you can be happy with for a long time. Ours gets 45,000 km a year, most of it 50-80 km at a time.

Our operating costs are comparable to our old Camry, which is still on the road at 740,000 km.

In the last 50,000km we have replaced struts, tie rod ends, lower control arm bushings, brake calipers, front rotors, and overhauled the alternator. The car now drives better than it did when we bought it at 165,000km.

Most impressive is what we haven't had to replace. How many 14 year old high mileage cars have the original exhaust system? CV joints are original, with no noise or vibration. Ditto wheel bearings. The paint is in good as new condition, zero rust, and the interior is free of tears and cracks. Volvo's are rare around here, and people are stunned when we tell them the car is a 1993.

This car was made for highway travel. Anyone that has driven the car has made the same comment, getting up to 100 kph is a disappointment, then wow, this thing flies. We have made numerous 3-4000km road trips, we consider it travelling in first class. Fuel mileage is good in Canada, on U.S.fuel we get an extra 100km.per tank.

With good tires under it, the car is really good on snow or ice. The heater is only fair.

The key to keeping maintenance costs down is to purchase parts carefully. Items like the radiator, heater fan, struts, bushings etc. can be purchase over the Internet at a substantial savings.

We plan on putting another 200,000 km on it, then maybe one of the kids will end up with it. The worst thing about the car is that it spoils you with its classy feel, it's hard to go back to a cookie cutter Camry.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th April, 2007

12th Apr 2007, 08:11

Fantastic review. these are great cars, but it's good to see a well written and honest review of this car. I hope that you enjoy the next 200,000!!!

1993 Volvo 850 GLT from North America


This car won't die


Engine threw a timing belt. Had to replace. However; I view this as my fault since I knew you needed to replace it every 150K or so.

Transmission seems skips around 35mph then is fine.

AC will stop working under moderate and hard acceleration. You have to turn it off (the AC) and wait awhile before it will work again.

General Comments:

Exterior: This is the first year, and I believe the first model, that Volvo used to transform their image from the boxy shape to the more round and elegant shape we are seeing today. I think the car still looks good today, however; it is dated.

Interior: My particular car has leather everywhere you don't sit (middle of seats and around the outside of the back) and cloth. Remember this car has 300K+ miles on it and the only thing wrong with the interior is a worn spot about 3" around where you have to slide into the car. The gauges are well laid out and the radio and controls are easy to become familiar with. I find the controls for the windshield wipers a bit confusing and each time I use them I have to keep flipping it until I find what I want. The fact that the Window controls are in the center console is amazingly thoughtful. My wife doesn't have to ask me to roll the back down for her, and you only have one switch to wear out. The seats are comfortable, but not on long trips. One thing to note is that the dash is horribly noisy going over bumps. You feel as if the car is shaking apart. Apparently this was a design flaw and has been corrected in later models, but for this one it is very annoying.

Driving: This car has two personalities. On one hand it takes this car FOREVER to get to speed. I have to practically floor it to keep up with traffic after a red light. However; once up to speed it is a sports car. Very good handling, and can take bumps very well at high speed on corners. This sportiness comes at a price though. You can't hit speed bumps very hard because it will jar you pretty good. Overall once you get up to speed it is a very fun car to drive.

Overall Impressions: Overall I really like this car. As I said I have 300K miles on it and it will not quit. I would rather have had the 5 speed as the power on this car is anemic at best. It is a comfortable car with stiff sports car characteristics. But hey. We spent $1500 to replace the engine and other than that it's been rock solid.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th February, 2007

15th Dec 2008, 15:55

Volvo recommends a timing belt change ever 50 thousand miles. It is not a chain, it is a belt.