1997 Volvo 850 SE 2.4 5 cylinder from North America


Dependable and well made


Abs system was faulty, but the dealer fixed it in under one day with no charge.

Spark plugs needed changing. Minor problem.

General Comments:

Handles well. My old 240 wagon had enough power with 4 cylinders, so of course this one has enough power with 5, and even a little extra.

Volvo is much safer than the rest of the "tin cans" you see on the road today. This is one car you feel really safe in. Good solid doors. Anything bumps into my 850 SE, they've had it.

Seats very comfortable. The back seats in my old 240 were extremely uncomfortable, due to the curving of the wheel well.

Looks really sharp with the alloy wheels, spoiler at the back, and leather interior. Picks up all the chicks.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th May, 2004

29th Oct 2005, 09:09

These reviews have been useful.

I am about to purchase a 1997 Volvo 850 with 183,000 miles on it for $4785.00. I plan to have it evaluated by a Volvo mechanic before I commit. Am I crazy to spend this much on such a "mature" car?

The car is for my 17 year old son to drive. I want safety first, reliability a close second.

I have owned new Volvo's for years, and have loved them. My sister is driving my 1998 Volvo 240 station wagon with over 250,000 miles on it. I am currently driving a 70 Station wagon, which I love.

What can I hope for in the 1997 850 Volvo with 183,000 miles on it?

11th Feb 2006, 18:16

That sounds a little pricey for almost 200K miles, but depends on the condition of the car. I'm looking for an 850 in the similar price range and hope to find one with ~ 100K miles. Again, for my 16 and 17 yr old daughters. Safety is priority one.

24th Mar 2006, 16:23

Yes, check your blue book.

26th Nov 2006, 21:19

I just bought a 1997 850 volvo with 96,000 miles for $7,500 from a used Volvo dealership. People told me that $7,500 was a lot for a car with that amount of miles, but it came with a 90 day bumper to bumper warranty and 1 year power train warranty. It's a safe, dependable and sharp looking car. I love it so far.

31st Jul 2007, 15:02

Yikes, that price is very steep for an 850 with 183k miles. Trust me, I had a used car dealership so I know what I'm talking about. I wouldn't give more than $2,500 for it if I were you. They are very good cars. Definitely buy one! Just not one with so many miles for such a high price. I've seen many 850's with 60k-100k miles on Ebay sell for $4,000-$6,000. That guy is definitely asking WAY too much.

3rd Dec 2008, 17:45

I am looking at 850s right now and the best prices are on craigslist.org in the bigger cities. You could find a Volvo 850 with under 150,000 miles for under $3,500.

1997 Volvo 850 Base 2.4 20v from North America


A wonderful car in every aspect, and interesting to boot


Recall was issued on the heated seats. Had the recall done, and now the heated seats don't work. That's not progress...

Had a bit of a starting problem once, but the dealer fixed it up.

Struts are starting to squeak and the tires I have fitted (205/55/ZR16) rub on occasion.

Otherwise, it's unbelievably reliable!

I've heard from other 850 owners (with higher-end cars equipped with the sexy alloy wheels) that the rims are prone to bending.

General Comments:

I'm darned lucky to have done so well for my first vehicle. I bought this car in 1999 and it was two years old. I don't put a whole lot of miles on it, but when I do I enjoy it.

The engine is not powerful. If you want power, go for either the T5 model or the low pressure turbo 2.4 model 850's. 168 horsepower isn't all that much in a weighty tank such as this. However, it never feels "underpowered" and there are no problems merging. It holds speed on the highway well, and it's not too loud.

It's incredibly comfortable to drive. I'm 6'2" tall, and I fit quite well. My 850 is a base model, fitted with the winter package (heated seats, headlight washer jets, and a "winter mode" for the transmission which starts it in 3rd to reduce wheelspin). I have cloth seats, and they suit me just fine. The stereo isn't great, but it's got decent sound.

One of my favorite aspects is how strange the car is to drive. Because it's a five-cylinder, it has a unique "thrum" to it much like older Audi models.

I fitted the car with three-season performance tires, Bridgestone Potenza RE730 sized 205/55/ZR16 (the stock tires are 195/65/15) They have a lot of grip to them, but they degrade the ride quite a bit. Not that I care!

I think I'll be keeping my Volvo for a long time, unless I come across a good deal on a Mini Cooper- I'd really like one of those.

850= HIGHLY recommended model.

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

Review Date: 27th December, 2003

8th Jan 2004, 14:04

What’s the deal with the heated seats? I just had the recall done on mine and they don’t get near as warm! I am going to call the dealer on this…

I also run the 205/55/16 tires, they rub at full lock to the left, oh well…

My car has 140,000 miles on it (bought it with 40,000). I have replaced the usual Volvo items; A/C Compressor, ABS Control Module (rebuilt by Vic Rocha), fixed the floor defrost damper switch, put in a new antenna mast and replaced the alternator. Other than one dash light and an overhead counsel switch (both of which I will shortly be replace) the car is up to factory specs.

I love the car and would recommend it to anyone, repairs are high, but I’m lucky enough to work on it myself 75% of the time. The drive and comfort are worth it.

10th Mar 2004, 11:24

I am considering buying a 1996 Volvo 850 sedan. The only problem we have come across is that it needs a new tire and a new battery. The battery is the actual battery it started with it has Volvo written on it.

I am very excited to own this car. It has the sport button which actually works. It is also the 5-cylinder model. I would not be afraid to drive this car to Florida and back considering it takes about 22 hours to get there.

17th Mar 2005, 11:17

I have a '97 850 I bought new for my wife. She loves it. It is the most comfortable car we have ever owned. It is an automatic with the winter package. My wife refuses to part with the heated leather seats.

At 103,000 miles the problems we have experienced until now have been the anti-lock brake ECU has gone out, brake squeal traced to an improper brake job the one time I let someone else work on it besides myself, the left rear radio speaker quit and the fuel door lock hung up intermittently.

Within the last week it has developed a serious sluggishness as if its dragging its feet, akin to pulling a trailer. It starts and runs fine. It doesn't seem to be an engine problem. I have checked and tested everything I can think of. I am now suspecting a dragging brake or a transmission problem. (Please. don't let it be tran$miles$$ion problem$!)

Anyone have any suggestions?