1992 Volvo 960 2.9 from North America


Volvo rivals English cars in substandard quality


- Transmission.

- A/C.

- Heater (hardly gets hot).

- Electrics: Fog lights won't work. Rear wiper works on and off. Dome light comes on when opening the doors, but cannot be turned on when in the car. Light from the tailgate only comes on if turned on manually.

- Coolant leak (mechanic and myself haven't been able to locate it - praying that it's not the head-gasket, although there is no signs of that in the overflow tank).

- Noisy engine.

General Comments:

I've owned many Volvos over the years and they all had their issues, but this one has pushed me over the edge. The interior is nice and plush, and the body feels solid, but mechanically and electric wise it is of terrible quality that one would only expect on English cars.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 29th November, 2014

29th Nov 2014, 17:01

You bought a 22 year old car. Did you seriously expect it to be in perfect condition?

29th Nov 2014, 20:26

You are aware the car is over 22 years old?

29th Nov 2014, 21:29

Why are you buying a 22-year old car and complaining some stuff doesn't work?

29th Nov 2014, 21:43

I totally agree.

1st Dec 2014, 16:55

The age is irrelevant; some of the things the reviewer mentioned should never go wrong on a car.

1st Dec 2014, 22:02

At the above:

Malfunctioning A/C is to be expected on a 22 year old car, but things like the heater and transmission should still work within the car's lifetime, especially at just 104k miles.

It doesn't hurt to have some standards when you're buying a used car.

1st Dec 2014, 22:03

Maybe the owner has higher expectations from their cars?

2nd Dec 2014, 11:43

Very unusual to have a noisy engine on a 960 - the engines are usually bullet proof. We thought we may have had a head gasket going on a S90 (same engine as the 960), but after checking, it turned out to be a water hose that had a very small crack in it. Apart from that it drove like a new car, and by the way, it had 296,800 miles on it!

The gearbox probably wasn't at fault - probably just the PNP switch, which can go bad and throw the gearbox into limp mode. A good tech would be able to find that out.

Heating could be down to a failed blower (super easy to swap over - about half hour) or a sticking thermostat.

1992 Volvo 960 Estate 2.9L petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Magnificent, charming, timeless, solid, reliable


Transmission electronics @ 250000.

Air conditioning compressor @ 250000.

Minor front suspension (some sort of bush or something, can't remember) @ 235000.

Driver's leather seat is pretty badly worn.

Steering has inconsistent weight when turning left in wider faster sweeping corners.

Interior bits and pieces, particularly doors, are starting to break.

General Comments:

Amazing car! Has been incredibly reliable. The twin cam 24 valve straight six is a waste in a family wagon. It spins beautifully and smoothly. Handling is predictable and inherently well balanced, with a natural tendency toward understeer. Not much feedback through the controls, so when the back does slide, it can be tricky to catch. Clearly, no sports car, but enjoyable enough for a spirited drive in the Adelaide hills now and then. Ride is rather crashy; lets most road imperfections through, though not uncomfortable.

Heavy on fuel, but we don't care as the car is fantastic and we don't do many km.

Plenty of room for our family of five and related crap. Seven seat feature is a Godsend. With the seats folded flat, an amazing amount of room is available.

Just about everything electric (cruise control, sunroof, sound system) no longer works (after 265000) and the interior is now looking rather tatty, but that happens with three brutal little kids and regular use. It's a 21 year old car!

Drivetrain hardware still going strong at 285000. Had to spend about $1250 on fixing circuitry in the instrument panel that was sending a faulty signal to the transmission computer. Amazing Volvo mechanic in Marion SA.

Engine's using a bit of oil now, but amazing longevity from a beautiful engine with alloy block and head, with very negligible servicing.

This is a marvelous car, that I will be sad to let go of. It's been solid, reliable. A timeless Scandinavian beauty. Massive old Volvo fan!

Old Volvos never die... they just get passed on.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th March, 2013

30th Nov 2014, 00:07

Yes, Volvo lost it with the 940/960.

I had 240 with 312,000 km and it was going like new.

And my 1996 940 Classic Turbo was failing despite the best care in the world until I finally sold it for $500.

Paid $3600 for the car, spent $1200 in parts only (I am a mechanic) and sold it within the same year for $500, after spending countless hours working on that thing.