1997 Volvo 850 R 2.3 turbo from North America


Ugliest, most unreliable car in the world


I bought this car for $3200, thinking it was a great deal. I have spend over $2000 fixing it.

I had for for 16 months, and now the tranny gave out, it cost over $1800 to fix. This car is the biggest piece of crap ever made. Besides being an extremely ugly car, I thought it would run for a couple of years. My dad had a Volvo and it was very reliable. 850Rs are not. Why spend on maintenance and fixing a car that looks it was designed in the 80's?

This car was a big mistake.

General Comments:

The car was kind of fast when I bought it. Other than that, I could have bought a Yugo and had better luck. Nobody would want to buy this car for more than $1500 now.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 2nd May, 2011

2nd May 2011, 14:19

Did the same thing you did... but mine was a 96 850 station wagon... put a lot of money in it... and you are right... sold it for 1500.00 cash... but did get at least 5 calls on it from craigslist... but you might want to hold off selling it... saw the guy at the supermarket 7 months later... he says it's still running strong...

3rd May 2011, 00:56

It always sucks to have a transmission go out, but no offense, the car has 130,000 unknown miles on it. You got the thing at the end of its life, so really, you can't blame Volvo.

I happen to run into a chap with a Volvo Station Wagon with 941,000 miles on it, original drivetrain. You can't say Volvo makes bad cars, it all depends on how people take care of them originally.

Although, I will agree with the ugly part.

1997 Volvo 850 GLT 2.5 turbo from Australia and New Zealand


Solid european


Air conditioner Leaks.

Heated seats intermittent.

Multiple oil leaks.

Cruise control not working.

Front door check bolts sheared off.

Passenger door handle hard to pull open.

Odometer stopped working.

General Comments:

This has been a very good car to me, spent 1500 on 1st service, but I think the dealer was dishonest.

Second service included cam belt, different description on oil leaks through engine, and rear break replacement; all up 2500.

2.5 years since last service, the car hasn't let me down. The engine is finally starting to fail - down on power. Otherwise a very good car. Plenty of torque, and pulls the boat effortlessly.

Got rear ended buy a Toyota Hilux, came out best off!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd October, 2010

1997 Volvo 850 R 2.3 turbo from North America


Astonishing car, even with the high mileage!


Head gasket went about two months after I purchased the car. It was not a big deal though because I purchased a bigger turbo.

Had to replace all bushings and had a whole in my gas tank.

Also I replaced the timing belt and water pump.

General Comments:

Installed the turbo about two weeks ago, and I have the car running at 1.5 bar. It is truly a beast with the 379 horsepower my dyno test brought me.

I changed the exhaust system to a 3" and upgraded my suspension as well as added a strut bar. I changed the intercooler and added a race cat.

All in all, the car runs amazingly fast, and you can easily take it up to 160 mph+ without any problems. I wouldn't recommend to do these modifications with an automatic transmission, because it will probably not be able to handle the torque. I just love the feeling that I get when someone in a e46 M3 wants to race, and I leave them in the dust. Even if this car is stock, it is a beast and built to last!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th October, 2009

1997 Volvo 850 Base 2.4 non turbo from North America


The most fun box you'll ever drive!


I've had to replace normal wear items such as the brakes and rotors and tires. I also had to replace part of the exhaust system.

The fuel pump went, so I replaced that with OEM parts and replaced the fuel filter (not cheap!) at the same time. The pump and filter cost about $1100 total.

Next on the list of replacements is the front suspension, catalytic converter and sway arm. I think of these items as normal replacements, seeing as the car has 142,000 miles on it.

I paid cash for it and own it, so putting $5k into it doesn't scare me too much, as I think the engine and transmission are very strong. My mechanic did tell me, however, that the rear oil seal will need replacing (it leaks a tiny amount of oil, not enough to require adding any between the 10,000 mile oil changes) in the next year. I'll also need to replace the timing belt in the next two years.

I found a great service history for this vehicle on Carfax.com and it was well taken care of.

General Comments:

I LOVE this car! I lost my job and have driven brand new cars over the past several years, most recently a loaded '08 Honda Accord EX-L with navi. I like my "new" Volvo more than the Honda.

I've owned two other Volvos; a 2005 S40 (nightmare, it was always in the shop) and a 2001 S60 (loved this car and wish I would have kept it). My 97 850 is fun to drive, unique and feels solid and safe -- and I know it's safe. Have you seen that Youtube video where they run it off a cliff?! I plan to maintain my 850, money-permitting and hoping nothing major goes wrong, and drive it until at least 300,000 miles! I know it's capable of it.

There are things that you should expect to just "let go of" when purchasing/owning this car. Things will rattle, interior light bulbs will burn out and you'll be replacing exterior light bulbs often if you utilize the daytime running lights (all lights operate, not just the headlights at a reduced light) feature. Safety first.

I'm quite handy when it comes to fixing some of these more minor pesky issues like dash bulbs burning out, etc, so that doesn't bother me too much.

All in all, this is a fantastic car and my favorite along with my S60. It's fun to drive, looks great and unlike anything out there now, has great handling, great get up and go power, comfortable seats and an engine growl that just makes it fun to step on the accelerator!

If you're buying a used one, be sure to get service records if possible and follow your gut instinct. You do not want to buy one of these cars if it hasn't been well maintained. Also, be sure you replace the timing belt on the recommended 80,000 mile frequency or you'll be looking at having to replace/rebuild the interference style engine.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st September, 2009