1995 Volvo 850 SE Sedan 2.5L 10 Valve from Australia and New Zealand


Nimble, economical and easy to drive


Fuel pump relay solder contacts failed, rear main seal leaks, one rear cam seal failed, boot light fails to close. Ignition switch was loose. Driver's door stay broke.

General Comments:

We purchased this car purely because it was a Volvo & because it had incredibly low mileage at 112,000 kms, and an almost complete dealer service history. We haggled with the dealer to lower the price by $500 because it was still on the original cam belt after 14 years!!

Also the previous owner had either neglected the last oil change or had used terrible oil, because the oil light was glowing and the tappets were noisy after only five minutes of driving. After an oil/filter change, the oil light disappeared for good and the tappets no longer make noise, so we caught this just in time before damage occurred. Also the car consumes no oil, though it does leave a leak from the rear main seal.

After only one day of driving, we noticed that on some starts the indicators would not work and one of the warning lights would also stay on (can't remember which one) Upon returning to the dealer, he told us not to use the keyless remote, which solved nothing. Knew there had to be something we could do, so I started reading the forums, which revealed all. It was the ignition switch not returning home after a start.

Once I sourced the cam belt, water pump and pulleys/bearings/seals etc, I went about replacing them which took about six hours. A new ignition switch and driver's door stay was also sourced, which both took around 60 minutes to replace.

Once the fuel pump relay was re soldered, we overcame a hot starting problem. When I say "hot starting", I mean on any day over about 21 deg C the car would not start, especially if the car was left sitting in the sun.

Once the gremlins were sorted, we began to enjoy this vehicle immensely. The performance is adequate with 106KW available. It is ready to kick down and pass with ease. I am not kidding myself about the performance. My other Volvo, a 960, has far more performance.

These 850s have amazing road manners and steering feel. After driving a 740 Turbo, 760 V6 and a 960, I can easily say this is the easiest and most comfortable to drive. They are very nimble with light steering and great handling. Mid corner bumps don't jar the suspension, and the seats, dash and general ergonomics are great.

Ours has great air-con, which easily cools the cabin down after 10 minutes of soaking in the sun for hours. One point that I dislike is the tinny exhaust note. Either some baffles are a little worn or that is how these 10 valve models sound. Either way, it's not a sexy sound going through the gears until it's cruising at 100km/h.

The factory stereo, though only a tape/radio, sounds awesome. The leather requires a treatment right now, as it is beginning to dry out, but I'm not complaining after 14 years of use.

My advice for anyone looking to purchase one of these is to look for service history and originality.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th November, 2009

1995 Volvo 850 SE 2.5 petrol from Australia and New Zealand




Air conditioning evaporator at 170,000kms. Apparently this is a common problem, and a 3rd party evaporator is recommended - cost $1,200.

That is all that has gone wrong with this car. Other than some minor things, which are not worth mentioning, such as replacement wiper blades $10, and a brake light bulb $5, this car has been incredibly reliable for the last 30,000 kms.

I should point out that I do all of my own servicing every 10,000 kms. It takes about 2 hours of my time, and for a total cost of under $100 she gets new oil and filters.

I won't be surprised to see these cars on the road in another 15 to 20 years.

General Comments:

This car has been an absolute pleasure to own. This is my first Volvo, which I purchased to get the kids to and from school as well as commuting to work. Effectively an A to B vehicle that is both reliable and comfortable. This 850 passes with flying colours, it is one of the most comfortable cars I have driven with every comfort that you need; all electrics, leather interior, CD player, good sound, cruise control etc etc.

My first impressions of the car were that it is a bit of a brick, and not the sexiest thing going around, but sitting inside I felt immediately comfortable in the leather seats, which look as new as the day this thing came off the factory line. I am really impressed with the quality of material, even the driver seat has no scuff marks that are usually evident on entry.

This car is a lot of value for money, I feel very safe with the solid build and 4 airbag package. The body on this car is perfect for its age, I'm sure these things are built with thicker steel than your average car. It also has a built in roll bar across the center of the roof.

The car is not fast by any stretch, however the 5 cylinder engine is adequately powered without being thirsty, this model is the one before the 20v update engine. If you are after some power, there are T5 and R versions that are turboed for extra joy, but I suspect these may be ultimately less reliable than the naturally aspirated models.

My other car is a 2007 Holden Omega, and while this is not as quick, it is definitely more comfortable to drive, which I think is testimony to the quality of Volvo in the 90's.

If you are looking for an old second car to get around in, this is well worth a look.

My friends did have a laugh at me at first at getting this car, and while I didn't fall in love with it at first sight, I cannot see myself letting go of this gem!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th October, 2009