1996 Volvo 850 GLT 2.3, Inline 5 Cylinder from North America


Safe, very safe, and fast. Buy it!


We bought the car from people who never took it into the shop for it's regular maintanance, but it didn't have too any problems so we got it anyway.

We had to replace a windshield damaged by a hail storm.

Transmission selector switch messes up from time to time.

Windshield washer pipes clogged up.

General Comments:

Great car. Very reliable. It's my first car. Extremely safe. My friend had the same models. One day, he took a corner too fast and ran into a truck going around 50 MPH. The only injury sustained was a minor burn on the passenger's face from the airbag. He currenently owns a 1998 S70. Dual airbags on the dash, and one on each of the doors.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th March, 2004

24th Jun 2004, 10:40

I also think this a very great car. I bought mine when it had 100,000 miles on it and I drive and average of 15,000 miles a year. The only things I have had to replace are the brakes and the front rotors. The O2 sensors are the only set back as they are always read as malfunctioning. Generally a great powerful car.

19th Nov 2011, 01:13

Hey there, original reviewer here. Thought I'd update.

This car is temporarily being given to my brother until he finishes school, because I purchased a low mile '98 Volvo S70 GLT.

Things gone wrong since original review was written:

- Rear main seal replaced at around 112,000 (common problem).

- Odometer gear failed around 112,000 (also common).

- Developed stalling problems around 115,000 due to mass airflow sensor failure, ~$300 fix.

- Climate control head unit failed, salvage part replacement $75.

- PCV system currently needs replacing. Burning oil very slowly.

- And the biggy, recently the dreaded signs of head gasket failure have made themselves known. Pressure buildup in the coolant system caused a massive leak (tank needed refilling every eight days). I rigged a fix for the leak (again, caused by pressure, not a failure in the hose), so the leak is much slower. However the exhaust smell is unmistakably sweet.

This car has gotten me through a lot, and I'm understandably attached to it, so after my brother saves up for his own car for college, I'm going to turn my 850 into a project car. I still love my little Volvo, and I still think that if you can find a relatively low mile one that's been properly cared for, they're definitely worth buying.

1996 Volvo 850 GLT 2.4L I5 from North America


Expensive to maintain, but comfy


Had to replace all brakes/rotors twice in the last 40,000 miles (and brakes appear to need replacing again.)

Plastic interior of the car not able to hold up over the long haul. Plastic trim around seats has broken and dashboard has cracked.

ABS computer died at about 85000 miles. cost $600 USD to replace.

Check engine light cycled on/off repeatedly for 20K miles. Finally traced the problem back to some vacuum leaks after several trips to shop and over $1000 in repair bills.

Battery dies if car is not driven for several days.

Door hinge busted and makes horrific cracking sound.

Window switches on center console are busted and work only intermittently. Not good when window is stuck down!

In general, the car has not held up very well over time.

General Comments:

The Volvo 850 is a comfortable vehicle that is adequately powered, but seems to suffer from problems due to low-grade plastics and poor interior design.

Though I have had numerous problems with the car since buying it, it still has a rock solid power-train and I am confident it will last for several more years.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 9th February, 2004

6th Jan 2007, 16:25

There are a couple of known design faults with the 850s. I have owned and driven them for many years and although they seem to be slightly less sold than a 740s and 940s they do last well!

The door spring is a known fault and for the price of £15 a replacement can be sourced that takes just 10 minutes to fit.

6th Jan 2007, 17:17

The door "spring" called check strap is probably OK, the bodywork fractures were it is mounted, may req body shop to repair!