1995 Volvo 850 GLE Wagon B5252S 5 cylinder 2.4L 10v 142 from North America


Honda Odyssey price with Ford Taurus reliability. Handles and hauls very comfortably.


All maintenance & repair work except starter rebuild were done by authorized Volvo service centres per Volvo maintenance and inspection schedules, from brand new.

Listed below are exceptional repairs beyond routine maintenance, tire replacement and body work, costing over $90 CAN for parts & labour:

90 (90,000 km:left side mirror defrost in-op

108: headlight glass broken on highway

111: front stabilizer link replacement

119: engine rear crank seal failure

121: transmission coolant line failure, transmission in-op

128: rear spring rebound rubber replacement

137: front stabilizer link replacement (warranty from 111 job)

143: left side mirror defrost failure

148: front brake rotor replacement

153: right lower ball joint replacement

162: rear tailgate wiper transmission failure

166: front stabilizer link replacement (not covered by warranty from 137 replacement - missed by 11 days, but Volvo Canada would not budge)

169: console transmission lever indicator light failure

169: rear brake rotors replaced

173: starter rebuild

175: sudden brake hose failure at l/f wheel, loss of brakes

175: left front axle seal failure

175: engine mount torque arm bushing failure

176: head gasket failure.

General Comments:

Excellent ergonomics and safety features. Goes well in snow with 4 snow tires.

Great utility and comfort, but reliability disappointing and repair costs are expensive.

Rear crank seal failure and transmission coolant line failure had high potential for serious engine/transmission damage.

Brake failure had high accident potential.

No serious rust yet after 7 winters of heavily salted Canadian roads.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th April, 2002

7th Mar 2004, 12:12

Is the brake problem experienced by other owners as well? I was looking at one of these used, but do not want to put my son in an unsafe car.

7th Mar 2004, 17:56

I run a taxi company in the UK, and we used to have a fleet of 12 Volvo 850s of varying ages (1993-1996) and mileages (one reached 290,000 miles by the time it was sold).

Over the time the company had the cars (which was from new or nearly new until 150,000 miles minimum), I never experienced the sudden brake failure problem with any of the cars. And they were taxis and worked damn hard.

Generally speaking, they were very reliable; most of the work that was required was standard service items or items that were expected to have a limited life. Had a couple of automatic transmission failures at high mileage, a turbo failure, some suspension replacements and new clutches at 100,000-125,000 miles and a throttle housing replacement. Considering that's over 12 cars, it's not bad.

One thing that always wore out quickly on these cars was the tyres. The front tires always used to wear slightly unevenly, but that's a consequence of a deliberate Volvo design feature.

And they're safe cars too - one of them hit a narrow concrete bridge support at 80mph. The front passenger was bruised, but otherwise unharmed and the driver only received a broken leg. I use the term 'only' because 18 months later a similar accident occurred in the same place. Similar speed, different car of a similar age and size - unfortunately this time there were two fatalities.

1995 Volvo 850 T5R 2.3 turbo from UK and Ireland


Wolf in sheep's clothing


1. Cylinder head damaged during manufacture due to improper spark plug insertion;

2. Near-side drive shaft (at 5.5 years old);

3. Auto gearbox (reverse gear) (at 4.5 years old);

4. Air conditioning (climate control sensors) (at 5.5 years old);

5. Petrol filler cap motor (at 5.5 years old).

General Comments:

1. Volvo build quality and reliability is not what it used to be.

2. Brakes are useless for such a fast, heavy car. I've upgraded my front brakes to AP Racing disks, pots, and pads.

3. Also had suspension and steering geometry improved.

4. Mild turbo upgrade to between 285 to 300 bhp. 0-60 now well under 6 seconds.

5. Car suffers badly from torque steer and tram lining.

6. Body not as stiff as it should be.

7. Very pronounced lift-off oversteer: great if you can handle it, dangerous if you're not expecting it.

8. Standard Volvo traction control only works to 25 mph / 40 kph: useless. Try fitting RaceLogic's Clubman's Professional traction control.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th January, 2002

25th Oct 2004, 13:37

I have owned my 850T5R since April of 1995. This car has been special. The brakes are not as good as they need to be. Tires are expensive and alignment is a must for proper wear. After nine years no major engine work. Door hinge needed to be welded, which is common in the 850. Auto seat motors needed replacement at 9.5 years. Antenna motor after five years. Drive safe!

Kathie Bennett.

11th Apr 2006, 18:13

I bought my 95 yellow T5R new. In 189K miles I have replaced the front rotors and turned the back ones. That is it! No oil or fluid leaks, no problems. We named her "Buttercup". She has amazed many Corvette drivers and is still a delight to drive. I have not seen nor driven a better car for the money. My only complaint is I do not like the low profile tires on rough roads. I'm going to keep her until she dies. As solid as she is now that will be down the road a long way.

19th Feb 2008, 01:39

I think your problems come from changing the turbo. The car has 222 hp to start, if you have 285-300 I'd expect to see more problems with the engine as it stresses far more. The naturally aspirated engine had 168hp. I don't think its fair to give the car a poor reliability and maintenance cost rating beceause you have modified your car.