1996 Volvo 850 GLT 2.4 I5 from North America


Not worth the aggravation


Rear Main Seal Failed, probably due to crummy PCV system.

SRS system developed fault.

CD Changer Failed.

A/C Evaporator failed.

ACC system intermittantly had fault.

Noisy brake.

General Comments:

This was a good looking comfortable car. It just seemed to have a lot of problems for its age/mileage. The 2.4 liter motor was underpowered, and noisy at highway speed. The ergonomics of the car were terrible.

This car was definitely not Volvo's best work. I'd avoid this model car.

On the plus side, most of the repairs (except the evaporator which is a 24 hour job) were pretty easy to do. Timing belt and water pump were a piece of cake.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 27th January, 2006

30th Jan 2006, 07:53

You bought a lemon... Do not blame Volvo for that. 850 it is not the best, but it is a very good car!

30th Jan 2006, 23:57

I believe most consumers in todays market are prone to buy now and ask later (cry later). Do not ask a salesman to trash his/her product or be responsible. Ask a technician, friend, or reporting agency before you buy. It is also important to know your service department before you purchase certain vehicle makes/models. 24 hours for an evaporator? Ouch, I charge 12 for a full system overhaul. My 1996 855 turbo has been a good car and I accept the fact it will eventually turn on me. Cars are a bad investment and some take more than they give at times, but if we educate ourselves to what we want and its purpose we might be content. Remember the Chinese cars are coming next year!

21st Aug 2006, 01:13

I have had my 850 for 4 years, never given a minutes bother. It's a bit heavy on the front tyres and petrol if you are on short distances, but it's ultra reliable.

23rd Dec 2006, 19:59

Our 1996 850 wagon is money pit.

Too many problems. Lights that don't turn off, batteries that drain overnight, thermostat that quits working.

We keep replacing the CV boots. The wind deflector came off on its own. Now it's having problems with the transmission.

The odometer doesn't work and the ABS quit too.

Costs a fortune to repair.

My 1997 Toyota RAV4 has been problem free since day one.

Can't wait to get rid of it and buy a decent car like a Toyota or Honda.

Volvo never again!!

1996 Volvo 850 Turbo 2.3L turbo (B5234FT) from North America


Great car. Expensive maintenance.


Air conditioner leaked as typical when I bought the car.

At 98,000 miles it was time to replace the upper engine brace bushing.

At 100,000 miles, the sunroof trailing drip pan's connection to the rest of the sunroof carriage broke. I fixed it with creative use of a paper-clip and super-glue.

The ABS computer slowly degraded over the course of a year from working, but failing occasionally to firing an totally inappropriate times.

Thermostat stuck open at 108,000 miles.

At 112,000 miles the heater motor has started to sound like there's a chicken in the glove box who really wants out.

At 112,000 miles the trunk appears to be getting heavier and heavier.

General Comments:

The Volvo 850 is a very good car if you know what you are getting into. The first of Volvo's US Front Wheel Drive cars, the early years (93/94) worked out the kinks in the US engine, leading to rock solid idles on the 96 and 97s.

I have been very impressed by the handling of my 850, although the sport suspension makes the ride more than just a little firm when going over less than perfect roads.

The trip computer makes interesting statistics like fuel economy, average speed, and miles remaining of gas simple turns of a knob; while the electronic climate control makes keeping two front passengers warm and happy a thoughtless task. The fuel tank is large enough to easily go 350 miles between refills.

I perfectly intend to make my next car a Volvo... However, I will be anticipating the upkeep costs.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd November, 2005