1994 Volvo 850 GLT 2.0 from UK and Ireland


A smooth, good looking Autobahn cruiser. Much car for little cash


Wiper blades, replaced with the squeal free variety. Minimal cost. £7. Maximum pleasure when out driving in patchy, light drizzle.

Battery. Original tired battery was first major cost factor at about £75. All this car's electrical goodies, need a good source of spark.

Tyres. Original set, were all mismatched tread patterns. Legal, but looked tatty. 4 new tyres & alignment for around £160.

Replaced all engine filters, spark plugs, H. T leads & flushed engine and re-filled with correct fully synthetic oil, for about £80 - (a simple oil change, necessitated partially jacking up the front end of the car! To reach the oil drain plug at rear of oil pan, and the partially recessed oil filter!) Swedish joke: Position the fuel filter, high up, over the rear axe?

Replaced leaking radiator expansion bottle cap for £20! (Volvo main dealer price, discovered identical cap at VW dealer, for £8.50)

UK MOT £50 - some minor concerns over various rusted front end suspension & steering components, as yet not enough of an issue, to fail the car, but watch this space? Exhaust system quite rusted, but also not a concern as yet. All these rust issues, courtesy of U.K. roads being gritted with rock salt during winter months.

Rear brake pads and a brake fluid flush for £99.

Various replacement bulbs for throughout the vehicle +-£10.

New spark-plug spanner (old one too large to remove deeply recessed Volvo plugs) & correct Philips screw driver to remove over tightened screws holding on the plastic engine cover for around £20.

Chrome tailpipe extension. Old one, had completed rotted away, and made the vehicle look unsightly.

The alloy wheels have a few scuffs & scrapes, but still look the part.

Various minor pieces of trim, screws, glues etc to sort out some minor cabin cosmetics for about £10 Including repairs to the gear lever gaiter, which had torn away from its centre console.

Usual car shampoos, paintwork polishes etc £12.

Engine & chassis steam clean, as both probably not touched since the car came out of the factory, £10.

General Comments:

I really like this car. A lot of car for not much money. It had stood for a year, undercover, as the old gentleman who sold it to me, recently gave up driving. He bought it as an ex factory demo car in ‘95, so the original dealer, the old guy & myself make it 3 previous owners. Not bad for a 15 year old example, with 82k on the clock.

Naturally the first years of its service history were all Volvo main dealer. Things seemed to get a bit vague from 2004 onwards, but the service book included a mention of a timing belt change around the 70k mile mark, so that for me was a big plus.

An engine service light was quite easy to reset, using a step-by-step procedure, I obtained from a local Volvo owners club. They’ve been very helpful with other pieces of advise and information.

My previous daily drive, was a 740 GL, for nearly 6 years, so size wise, my maroon 850 - 4 door saloon feels much the same, when parking it or just out driving through local traffic etc. It feels sure footed & direct, backed up with excellent brakes. Gear changes are smooth, and ensure a very willing 5 cylinder engine, is quick off the mark, giving me much confidence out and about in U.K. style, dog-eat-dog driving conditions. Giving the accelerator an occasional squirt with my right foot, allows a very pleasing exhaust note to do its stuff.

Now it's all scrubbed, steam cleaned & polished it really looks great, and not at all showing its 15 year age.

The electric glass sun roof made a huge difference, letting in light & fresh air this summer. (While summer lasted, that is!) Last winter, was made less severe with a good cabin heater, rear windscreen demister & heated door mirrors.

A neat, factory dash mounted radio/cassette player, hooked up to my boot mounted CD changer gives me plenty of sound, in all 4 corners. The power aerial is great, as no need to get out of the vehicle at my local car wash.

A factory fitted, Volvo Immobiliser, with a dash mounted, flashing red L.E.D will I hope, keep away all but the most determined of car joy riders, or TWOCERs (Taking Without the Owners Consent) as we call car thieves in the U.K. I have a combination handbrake & gear lever lock fitted, which should keep the car safely where I parked it up.

I guess with the low mileage and an elderly former owner, the cabin seats, trim & controls have all survived, and look very new. So, for now, I’m keeping my fingers crossed and am enjoying a lot of car, for little money.

Several runs between Edinburgh where I live, and Newcastle upon Tyne, where my daughter lives, proves this 850 is a long distance cruiser. Eats up the miles effortlessly, in a lot a comfort and timeless styling. Sure, it's not got the current fashionable jelly mould styling, of modern cars, but I’m getting around 37 mpg, highway driving and can show the young bloods in their hot hatches a clean pair of heels.

I tend to keep my cars for years, and so if all goes well, ‘Red Oktober’ my nick-name for this latest Volvo, will be seen in and around Leith, Edinburgh - where I live for several years to come.

Buying any older vehicle, can be fraught with danger and high expense. A fool and his money, will soon be parted. But, sometimes waiting for the right vehicle to come along pays dividends. And a little vehicle DIY knowledge is a must.

See you in the fast lane!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st July, 2009

1994 Volvo 850 2.3 turbo from North America


Fast, solid, elegant, dependable, comfortable


The interior plastic trim/panels squeaks a bit, but I haven't really tried to fix them. I hear that is typically broken fasteners, which is easy enough.

The rear hatch on these 850 wagons is a known rattle trap problem, and mine is no exception. The metal thing that the hatch latches onto can break. Mine has not. But the 'claw' (clasp) on the hatch itself wiggles and rattles. I'm sure there is a fix, but I haven't bothered to find it yet.

Other than that, this 1994 850 Turbo wagon has zero problems, even though it has a staggering 171,000 miles and is about 31,000 miles past due on its timing belt change (you should change them every 70,000 miles).

I do have a small brake fluid leak near my right front wheel, and the electric window switches need to be sprayed with electronic cleaner from time to time, but honestly... in the year that I have had this car and driven over 6,000 miles, I have had zero problems.

General Comments:

My 1994 Turbo Wagon is fast as heck. Fastest car I have ever owned. And the driver's seat is soooooo comfortable I cannot even describe how great it feels. I've rode in a couple of Lexus SC 400s and they were not nearly as comfortable as my Volvo 850. Not even close. Seriously. I can't speak for the Lexus LS models, but that should at least tell you something about the wonderful seats in the Volvo (although the head rest is curiously hard and uncomfortable, but you get used to it).

The car is rock solid and feels very safe. I can't say that mine is quiet, but it has 170,000 miles on it so of course there will be some rattles if they are not attended to.

But, all in all, I would definitely recommend test driving a few of these, and that's the KEY. I looked at about 15 identical Volvo 850 wagons and test drove about 5 of them. Not all are well cared for, and if you shop around you will know which are losers and which are winners. Mine was a winner and I love it. After a full year of ownership and 6,000 miles of driving, I have not put a dime into the car. I love it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th May, 2009