Granted, I've only owned the car for ~3000kms, but in this time the only thing I've had to do was replace the fuel filter, which I was able to do myself. This managed to save me $128CAD, as this is the going rate for the local Volvo dealership, and this is about an hour's job.
The engine loses oil at the rate of 1 litre every 1000kms. I say loses, and not uses, because there are no indications that oil is being consumed by the engine, and I see oil collecting on the back of the engine, near, and on, the turbocharger. This indicates that the oil is likely leaking from a return line from the turbo to the engine. It has not bothered me enough yet to replace the line.
This car came with an extensive maintenance history from the previous owner, dating back to 1999 when the previous, and 2nd, owner assumed ownership. The first owner used the maintenance log book included with the car originally. Looking at the records over the last 10 years, the vehicle has averaged just over $1300CAD annually in repairs/maintenance. Around half of this is labour, the other half parts.
Being a do-it yourself-er for the smaller stuff (oil changes/brakes/filters/plugs/etc), I am not expecting to spend too much, as official Volvo 850 parts are plentiful and affordable from a number of online merchants.
I lucked out with finding this car, as manual Volvo 850 turbos are a rarity here in Canada. I purchased this car with 219124kms, but after having driven it for nearly 3000kms, I can honestly say it feels like it has 119124kms. The tell-tale sign that it is creeping up in mileage is the handling near the limit.
The suspension is original on this car, and shows with more than expected body-roll and a certain feeling of unease going into high-speed corners. The car feels stuck to the road, but at the same time, feels as though there is some looseness/play within the suspension. I have heard mixed reviews about the Volvo 850's passive steering in the rear suspension, so maybe this is the case here, rather than wear.
This car has its original clutch, suspension and turbo, so a number of expenses may be just around the corner. At this point, however, it feels as though this would be a good investment that would help the car last another 200+ kms. I cannot think of many cars I would feel comfortable investing $3-4000 in with this much mileage, but from what I've heard in Volvo forums and from how the car feels and drives now, there is no reason for me to believe this car cannot make it to 400000kms.
CONS: Car was purchased with some typical Volvo 850 ailments.
1) The A/C condenser is shot, with a quote from the Volvo shop of ~ $1200CAD parts & labour. This can wait.
2) The reclining option for the power drivers seat is not functioning. The motor can be heard turning, so this is a typical cable issue. Not an expensive fix, as this is a simple one.
3) Power antenna not functioning. Again, this is not a big deal, for me, and only served to help in bargaining for a good price.
PROS: This is a VOLVO 850 TURBO 5-speed manual. The automatics have a history of failing, plus they are a bit more dull to drive (no offense). This turbo came loaded with many options. Power moonroof, walnut trim on dash/console, full leather interior (beige in colour). Basically the only option not on this car is traction control. Minimal road noise. Good, not great, sounding factory stereo, except no CD player, just cassette.
Best of all, I paid $3500 CAD for this car. For some, this might seem a bit expensive considering the A/C, power seat and antenna issues, but these are of secondary importance for me. The drive-train on these cars is well regarded as being reliable and durable. Also, it is a fun car to drive, even with its weakness with handling at the limit. With the Volvo 850 turbo, I feel I have a car that will perform well enough to keep me happy, offers various amenities to its occupants, is comfortable enough to spend an entire day of driving in, and will last a very long time.