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

1997 Volvo 850 GLT Wagon 2.4L from North America


Buy a Subaru Outback


Replaced cracked engine oil pan.

Replaced rear shocks, front & rear brakes.

Re-welded poorly designed driver's side front door hinge.

Replaced tie rods.

Complete replacement of air conditioning system.

Replaced rear main engine oil seal.

Replaced rear shocks again.

Replaced bad front struts.

Replace left & right front axles.

Replace failed fuel pump.

Replace failed rear hatch door lifters.

Repair rattling rear door panel attachment.

Replace timing belt (twice).

Replace failed heater blower motor.

Struggle with terrible AM radio static problem (still not resolved).

Turbo oil leak.

General Comments:

Very comfortable driving car, fine road handling. A real money pit, however. Six years of ownership have cost over $18,000 in maintenance.

The AM radio static problem is a disaster. Have installed ground loop remedy for antenna, also alternator noise suppressor... neither have solved the problem.

This model, according to my auto mechanic becomes very expensive to maintain after five years. This is substantiated by complete maintenance records of former owner. Every invoice for regular maintenance from Volvo dealer is at least $700, often over $1,000. I have owned five or six Volvos, am now a committed Subaru owner.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th August, 2009

20th Aug 2009, 16:01

Hello, I'm sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with your Volvo, I own a 1998 Volvo V70 which I acquired in 2002 at 35,000 miles from an authorized Volvo dealer and the maintenance have been substantially low. Now, I have 137,000 miles and the car runs excellent with no problems. Of course I had to replace the front passenger wheel bearing at 82,000 miles, ignition key switch at 100,000 miles, front passenger door lock mechanism and timing belt at 132,000 miles. These are wear and tear. You may have purchased a lemon which was not well maintained from the previous owner. These cars have to be maintained properly from the beginning, otherwise it becomes costly at the end.

30th Nov 2009, 14:37

Funny, in the 1997 Outback section, there are posts that say stay away from the Outback. Would be funny as hell if one of one said, "stay away from Outback buy a Volvo 850."

26th Jul 2010, 13:17

Hello, I am also very sorry to hear of your problems regarding your Volvo and how now that you like Subarus.

I own a 1997 Volvo 850 GLT Turbo sedan, that I purchased at a dealer auction in Washington DC last February 09 with 142843 original miles.

So far, as of this writing, I have 164,200 miles on it having driven all over MD, VA and now MI, and have only thus far spent $700 on a timing belt/idler pulley/waterpump that was recommended that I get done considering the high mileage.

The engine runs strong, transmission shifts smooth, with a little jerk in the sport mode. I dumped in $400 worth of 4 Yokahama 205/60/R15's over the winter.

Overall, I am very happy with my Volvo, and next car/SUV/crossover I get had better be another Volvo! :-)