1997 Volvo 850 855 (Estate) T5 2.3 petrol from UK and Ireland


You will be surprised - this car is big and fast! A great combination


Not 'wrong' exactly, but I decided to spend some money on it to get it up to scratch.

General Comments:

This is an ex-police car with a good police service history.

Goes like stink.

You can hardly keep up with the acceleration when changing gear.

Like everyone says, it's hard not to spin the wheels under 20 - 25 mph. Better to get it up to speed then floor it.

The car feels solid, nice heavy doors, boot door and bonnet.

Considering how heavy and well built it's quite shocking the acceleration power it has.

Will both throw you back in the seat and also fool you gradually into thinking you are doing less than 100 depending on how you accelerate, either way you get there faster then most other cars you meet. This was an ex police car and as such had to keep up! This is no exaggeration, the car is 7 years old, but will still comfortably cruise behind Audis and BMWs just waiting to fly past when they eventually realise (like it or not) that a Volvo is coming past.

Absolutely loads of space inside in both the front and back seats, extremely comfortable seats, very adjustable cockpit and efficient fans, heaters, electric mirrors and so on.

Great reception from built in aerial (looks like a window heater).

The engine looks superb when you look under the bonnet. Huge 2.3 20v block and great 'Turbo' labelled air intake box.

Cool alloys on the T5 as standard.

Great big disks all round combined with ABS and TRACS mean that you know that when you inevitably have to slow down it will stop fast and controlled.

Although its still got the Volvo boxiness this was the first Volvo estate that actually manages a few curves. When you look at this car from behind, the amount that the rear wings flare in towards the rear door is larger than you would imagine and adds a bit of style to the car. I would compare it to an early (but extended lengthways) Golf in terms of styling, I think that in both cases the speed and excitement of the ride covers for the efficient design lines.

Mine has hard suspension. I suppose to keep it on the road in corners.

The Turbo sounds great and the exhaust really hums. It was funny taking the car to have it MOT'ed and hearing the engine from outside the car - sounds sporty.

Great power steering makes it a doddle to park despite its length.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th August, 2003

1997 Volvo 850 from North America


Electronic Control Module ($600)

Brakes ($300)

Air Conditioning ($200)

Seat Heater recall (free, but doesn't work as well, not as much heat and and lower temps only)

Also: Lots of other major/routine work (over $4,000 worth in last 6 months of ownership.

General Comments:

I can go on forever. Volvo's traditional standard of durability is being tarnished although with a slight increase in creature comforts from the old Swedish tractors. If the 97 and 96's are the best recent models built, I would hate to see what all the others are like. Dealers seem to be enjoying enormous success however, and I suspect it due to the high quanity of increased maintenance business which is also a rediculously high cost product.

I think Volvo's are A real lemons now, or at least mine is, and I don't here positive things from others too. These I think will go the way of Saab in depreciation once the maintenace is better known by the public. I regret not buying a low end Mercedes-Benz or good American car. This car is way too expensive to maintain and way too harsh a ride for a luxury car. The engine also sounds like a sewing machine. It annoyingly switches gears so often the transmission oil burns very quickly requiring frequent changes. It dental sterile quiet except for the numerous buzzes and rattles over the slightest road irregularity which is always.

I believe it is wise to Stay away from Volvo like the plague, it's junk. I'd recommend buying an American car for American roads. It's different so it may be enjoyed as a cult car, if you don't take the downsides of practicalness bother you.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 19th July, 2003

13th Aug 2005, 16:30

I agree! My experience is too much maintenance for such a junkie, high priced car.

14th Apr 2007, 10:25

When your warranty is out on your car never ever take it back to the dealer to get fixed, as they are the highest priced of any garage to fix your car. If you live in America, I agree it maybe harder to get parts than here in england.

Fix what you can yourself and maybe even buy a scrap car to rob parts from.

Stay away from main dealer, even if the car is in warranty take it elsewhere for small problems.

29th Nov 2008, 10:08

Why oh why do people insist on going to the dealership for repairs and maintenance! If you stick to every service interval and go to the dealership, the cost to keep any car, even American, going is outrageous. Unless it's a recall repair or covered under warranty, the dealership is the last place you should take a Volvo.

For example, it is extremely common that the odometer stops working on the 850. The dealership wants over $300 just in parts, whereas a DIY'er can buy the necessary part for $30 online and fix it in about an hour.

Dealerships are the devil. They are in business to make money don't forget. It's too bad they have to be such dishonest crooks in order to do so.

I wouldn't say the 850 is the last of Volvos best. That honor is left to the Volvo 940, last sold in the US in 1995. The best Volvos are rear-wheel drive and powered by 4cyl. engines.

17th Oct 2009, 20:56

I bought my 850 3 years ago with 175000 miles. A/C went out and the speed odometer stopped at 230000 miles, which was 9 months ago.

I did try to get the service engine light fix at a non dealer, and the mechanic could not get the codes from the Volvo place to fix it. I ended up having to go to a authorized service place and spent $1100 on a computer chip. Still expensive.

For the $2000 I paid for it, I have already got my money back, in which I drive to work everyday 200 miles round trip.

Would I buy another, yeah for this price, but I just do not believe any car out there is worth what they are asking for. .