1996 Volvo 850 from North America




Weird problem with the steering at about 50k miles.

Computer problems that made it fail smog about 100k miles.

Brake problems.

Fuel pump.

Antenna motor.

Several other things I can't remember.

General Comments:

Mediocre at best as far as reliability. Repairs are fairly expensive.

It's slow, but handles well. I like driving it, though it's nothing great.

Visibility isn't very good. The thick posts between the windows might help the car hold a truck on the roof, but they might keep you from seeing a truck on the road.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd May, 2007

24th May 2007, 08:36

You still kept this awful car for 11 years now, and 160000 miles... is it as bad as all that???

1996 Volvo 850 from North America


Would never buy a Volvo again, really


The cruise control stopped working at 40,000 miles. The check engine light was on more often than not. The brakes constantly needed repairing. The little door to the gas cap would not open, so we had to move a panel in the back to pop a wire to open it every time we wanted to put in gas. At 106,000 miles, it died, even though we were vigilant about service and using premium gas. NEVER AGAIN.

General Comments:

A very expensive machine, totally unreliable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 29th March, 2007

22nd Sep 2007, 12:06

So unreliable that you kept it for over 100,000 miles!

16th Nov 2008, 23:54

I wonder how it died??? Never heard of a Volvo dying so young...

10th Nov 2011, 06:02

This review sounds suspect. My 1996 850 SE has over 411,000 kms on it. Still on the original engine and transmission. Owned it for five years now, only replaced radiator/hoses, belts, A/C compressor, besides the usual wear and tear stuff like brakes, wiper blades etc. I've never heard of an 850 dying so young either, except if it's been totaled.

15th Dec 2011, 11:17

These motors are pretty much bulletproof, if well looked after.

1996 Volvo 850 R 5 Cylinder U turbo 2.3L from Australia and New Zealand


Luxury, awesome power and the peace of mind knowing you're driving one the safest cars built


The air conditioning conked out on meat 173 000 KM, and it took a week and a half at the dealership (certified Volvo dealer) to fix, which was quite annoying.

Had to replace the fan belt - inexpensive, but, took 1 day.

General Comments:

The car is incredibly quick for how heavy it is.

It handles like it's on rails.

It packs a lot of grunt, that really puts a smile on your face! (especially when some revhead 'cool dude' drop outs line up at the lights in their 1995 Holden Calais, flashing their lights and laughing etc, didn't take much to send them speechless) Turbo Volvo > Tryhard Holden.

I get a lot of comments 'hey, nice car'.

I have a sticker on the back that says 'bloody volvo driver'.

NB: I have a 850R, pretty special model. Red in colour.

Staggering specs: 185 Kw. :D.

It was my first car, got it as a UNI graduation present from my parents. (I had a underpowered 'mosquito' sounding motorbike before hand; so mum 'n' dad bought me a volvo; obviously they were a little worried about me on a bike.

HEEPS of safety features.

Feels like a tank.

You feel good knowing your driving one of the most solid, safest cars around.

If there was a crash between my Volvo and a 'Ford Falcon', I know what car I'd rather be in. Hint: the swedish built car, renowned for safety throughout the world since its existence.

Safer then most BRAND new cars.

Bloody brilliant.(I need to go drive it now).

Though I've only ever had one car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd February, 2007

5th Apr 2010, 05:52

Volvo 850R s are certainly a rare and sought after variant, and are fetching great resale prices. Definitely a performance "classic".

We own a 95 10 valve 850, and are very impressed with the vehicle after nearly a year of ownership. I hope that you continue to stay out of trouble in your fine sports car, and may you enjoy it for years to come!!