1996 Volvo 850 2.5 TDi from UK and Ireland


Tremendously safe reliable workhorse


Power steering leaks, not bad enough to change the unit.

Drivers door clicked loudly when opened and closed, dealer fixed and a common fault.

Glove compartment lock failed costing £100 to repair. Can only break them open.

Minor electrical faults in the car alarm.

Front anti roll bar snapped.

Front wheel CV joint boots failed at 250000 miles.

General Comments:

This car has done 270000 miles mainly dealer serviced. The oil level hardly drops between service intervals of 10000 miles. I guess the engine is good for 500000 miles plus, what a machine.

I travel 600 to 1000 miles a week in this car, fuel economy rivals a Nissan Micra if driven at the same speed along the motorway.

Extremely comfortable, last month I drove from Inverness to Swansea and then on to Ipswich only stopping for fuel and food. A distance of 1000 miles in one go. Automatic gearbox and cruise control make the car a pleasure to drive.

Strong and safe, avoiding some dolt overtaking, have had two vehicles crash into the rear of the car in a multiple pile up. The middle car, a Citreon was a write off, the other car, a BMW had to be towed away on a truck with £1000's of damage. My Volvo required just a new rear bumper. Brakes are superb, like throwing out a sea anchor.

Always starts first time, however does have a turbo lag.

Tyre wear acceptable, V rated, approx 12000 to 15000 on the front.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th October, 2003

20th Apr 2004, 06:06

What were the minor faults with the alarm?

1996 Volvo 850 T-5 2.4 turbo from South Africa


Excellent package


Radiator leaked (had to purchase new one) R2500-00 (+- £210-00).

General Comments:

Very nice vehicle.

Prefer the 850R styling.

Upgrading chip, R6000-00 (+- £530-00), boosts the power to 225Kw.Standard power is not bad however.

Would not trade this vehicle for anything except another 850.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th May, 2003

1996 Volvo 850 Turbo 5-cylinder turbo from North America


You can outrun a Mustang 5.0 with your kids and dog on board


Numerous small electronic problems.

Transmission computer wouldn't allow shifting out of park.

Rattling liftgate.

General Comments:

Extremely fast, with decent mileage.

Powerful brakes.

Decent handling for front-wheel drive.

Nice looking, nice rims.

Every possible feature inside.

Amazing seats.

Harsh ride, decent on the highway.

Lots of space and cargo room.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th September, 2002

1996 Volvo 850 T5 Estate 2.3 turbo from UK and Ireland


It's boxy, but it's good


The reversing light switch on the gearbox was faulty and needed replacing, the part was about £20.

All the window washer jets and T-pieces were blocked and needed cleaning out/replacing. T-piece under bonnet is notorious for blocking up apparently.

It absolutely eats front tyres. I reckon I'm going to get approx. 5-7000 miles out of this pair (bought new, Pirelli P6000).

Clutch makes a loud groaning noise when pulling from standstill. Works fine, but is noisy.

The door-holding-open thingy was banging, so I overtightened it and snapped the studs (whoops!). Dealer sorted it on service, not expensive.

General Comments:

Very very fast indeed (for a family box). Surprised a number of boy-racers.

Prone to wheelspin (no traction control on mine).

Good speakers as standard.

Comfort excellent (be even better if I had air-con : (Seats adjustable in all known directions, so is steering wheel.

Huge space inside vehicle for carrying fridges, wardrobes, anything really. Front passenger seat folds forward to allow long objects in.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th May, 2002

1996 Volvo 850 T5 GLT Estate 2.3 turbo from UK and Ireland


Remarkable to own new and a real secondhand bargain if you find a good one


Top engine mount needed replacement at 80,000 miles.

No repairs or replacements other than service items and bulbs and tyres.

General Comments:

Outstanding value for money.

Used every day for 5 years without needing a new exhaust or clutch.

Fast with comfort and strong build quality.

Sold for 25% of purchase price after 5 years and 133,000 miles.

Replaced with a V70 R AWD.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th February, 2002

1996 Volvo 850 R 2.4 turbo from Australia and New Zealand


Best value performance/luxury package


'Top' engine mount cracked.

Air conditioning compressor packed in.

Brake disc ground/worn out.

Driver's heated seat not working.

General Comments:

The performance was underpowered on take off, but once the engine's RPM was up around the 2500 mark it performed very well (depending on what gear you were in), especially when driving in excess of 110 kmh and overtaking.

Interior fit out was second to none (almost) with power everything and leather.

Tyres and wheels look fantastic, but with such a low profile on a heavy car, I was always worried about the cattle grids/railway crossing's on the way to the family's farm.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th July, 2001

1st May 2005, 16:41

I am between two minds at the moment between another Mercedes or an 850. The T-5 and the R still fetch a good $20000+, however, The base models can be bought for around $7000. This makes me wonder if these cars are as reliable as say the old 4 cyl, rear drive Volvo's? The Volvo 850 T-5 and the R have more room compared to the C-Class, and definitely more power. I can't justify the $60000+ for a W202 C36 or C43, especially for the age.

Can you give me some indication as to what to look out for with these cars, do they have a life span?