1997 Volvo 850 T-5 Wagon 2.3 turbo from North America


Great Car -- Fast, Comfortable,


Failed Thermostat @ purchase.

Leaky A/C Condenser @ purchase.

Miscellaneous blown dash lights @ purchase.

Tailgate inside panel loose.

Worn tailgate struts cause gate to not stay up when opened.

General Comments:

A surprisingly fast, great-handling and comfortable car.

We bought the car used with 52000 miles in 2006 and discovered a few little problems (above), the most serious of which was the leak in the A/C Condenser -- a common problem on these cars. (Cost to fix: $1000)

We bought this as a car for our kids to use when they reach driving age. The incredible power of this car has us concerned, especially when our sons reach driving age. Gas mileage is okay, but not great -- about 20-23 mpg.

We've heard horror stories about later model Volvos and those with 4-wheel drive. Other than the problems noted, it's been very reliable thus far.

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

Review Date: 26th January, 2007

1997 Volvo 850 5 cylinder from North America


Too many major repairs


ABS brain.

Both front struts.

Both rear seat-belts.

Brakes and rotors.


New tires every 25k. This is very annoying. High end or low end tires, this car just chews through them.

General Comments:

Very comfortable to dive for long trips. The feel of the car is quite tank-like.

I have found a wonderful local Volvo only shop that treats me well, but the service this car needs is still frequent and expensive. My advice is to pass on a Volvo. This 850 will be my last Volvo.

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

Review Date: 14th July, 2006

31st Jul 2007, 14:56

I understand frequent repairs can be really annoying, like I'm experiencing with my current old Chrysler. However, the engine and transmission in the 850 are as solid as solid gets in any vehicle. Considering these are the most costly aspects of a car to have replaced, I think the 850 is an excellent car. Most of the faults seem to be electrical related. Brake replacement is not a fault of a car, but a maintenance issue. The 850 is luxurious, well built, and lasts a LONG time with proper maintenance and care. I've heard and read nightmarish stories with other cars needing new transmissions or engines by 100k miles. It's really common actually with most cars. Not the case with the 850. Maybe you should count your blessings with the 850. Chrysler Lebaron has 68k miles and has had much more serious issues. It's left me stranded twice. I don't even need to mention the Volvo is far safer of a car. An aquaintance of mine had a '97 Buick Park Avenue that needed a new $4k engine installed at 40k miles because of a common design flaw. The 850 is much better than the norm.

24th Aug 2007, 23:24

The 1997 Volvo 850 was the most refined one of em all. I have a 1997 base model with 171,892 on the odometer, it's still running like new, the transmission shifts smooth, and the motor will still power along the hills of the Berkshires quite nicely.

The gas mileage of the non turbos is quite good, about 28 around a small town, and on a trip about 32. Maintenance is not a problem at all, just keep up with it. They are definitely some of the most comfortable cars on the road still.

I love my car and would definitely buy another. Find another car for 3200 that could see 300k on the original power train, you will be hard-pressed at best.

Volvo's are some of the best (in my opinion the best) cars out there. Reliable economical, quick, comfortable and safe. It's a keeper.

29th Aug 2007, 14:57

I would like to know what was wrong with the rear seat belts? That doesn't seem to be a common problem according to my Volvo mechanic. Did they fail completely? Thank you.

14th Oct 2009, 17:38

Why all the complaints? These cars are outstanding. All machines break down ultimately, just keep up with the maintenance.. These things will go on forever. Full stop!

17th Oct 2009, 21:04

Bought my 3 years ago with 175000 miles. Now has got 300000 and neither the engine nor trans burns/uses oil. Runs great.