1992 Volvo 960 Wagon 2.6 inline 6 cylinder from North America


Useful and tasteful


Cracked oil pan (my own fault) 110,000 miles

Oil pump died (fallout from oil pan incident) 110,000 miles

Radiator cracked (while fixing above problems) 110,000 miles

AC lost R-12 charge at 126,000 miles

Rotors--all the time!

Pads--whenever you need new rotors

Heated seat wiring cracked 120,000 miles.

General Comments:

It's a real tank of an automobile. For being 15 years old, few of my friends or acquaintances know it's age. The body is in excellent shape; there is no rust and the paint still looks very good.

The seat leather is in quite good shape although the driver's side seat is starting to crack a bit. For weighing as much as it does, the 200 hp engine does a good job of moving you along when you want to push it. However, mileage at this point is pretty poor at about 15 MPG in the city--maybe 22 on the highway. Combined with a small gas tank (wagon tank is smaller than the sedan) frequent fuel refills are necessary on long trips.

The seats are extremely comfortable and the heated leather is very nice in those nasty winter months.

The biggest feature of this car is the amount of cargo room available when one folds the seats flat. I've fit a dishwasher, a stove, a dryer, an entertainment center (assembled), an overstuffed chair and ottoman, almost an entire sheet of 4x8 plywood (had to leave hatch open) and the meanest thing I ever put into it was nine full-sized railroad ties. That was actually a bit dumb as they were extremely heavy and I'm sure went well over the recommended cargo weight. However, she's still running.

One of the main mechanical problems is the brakes. This car eats rotors for lunch. I try to drive as gently as I possibly can, but the weight just ensures that one tears through pads and rotors. Perhaps some additional ventilation might help.

Also, the transmission seems to have a mind of it's own when it comes to choosing a gear--no logic behind when a shift happens, but it's a 15 year old car so I can live with it.

I've heard that there are many problems with the PNP switch (transmission mode selector), the automatic climate control system, the engine block, and the rear Nivomat self-leveling suspension, but I've never experienced any of them. Partly because I understand the previous owner replaced most of these items (excluding the engine block) before he sold it to me.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th April, 2007

26th Jun 2007, 14:33

Hi there.. most probably the PNP switch has been already dealt with. You wanna check the diagnostic codes to make sure, sometimes symptoms will show up (computer limp mode), sometimes they won't. In either case the PNP switch is likely a one-time replacement of a component that has been taking the abuse under the car (exposed to temperatures and moisture) for several years.

26th Sep 2008, 14:01

Original poster here.

In the time that I kept it, I had to replace the brakes and rotors several times and I elected to add stainless steel brake lines to firm things up a bit. Didn't help much, but the old brake lines were 16 years old so I don't regret it.

At one point the engine started to miss which required replacement of the six ignition coils -- that one cost about $450 for parts, but at least it was easy to do myself.

The AC discharged the next season after the first R-12 refill, so I elected to change over to a hydrocarbon-based coolant called Duracool. Though everybody says that you'll die in a fiery blaze when it explodes, my car did not explode. As a matter of fact, with the new coolant type, plus some sealant and hygroscopic lubricants, the AC ran better (and cooler) than it did with the R-12. Not to be a shill for Duracool, but forget Dupont and their R-134a junk. Duracool is where it's at!

I did just recently sell my beloved "Brown Sugar" to a friend who is happily driving it with no issues. His family has always driven American SUVs and after buying this, they got rid of their Tahoe! Hooray wagon!

1992 Volvo 960 2.9 Straight-six from Australia and New Zealand


Not your average European sedan


Various engine bay leaks.

General Comments:

Volvo are the masters of making people-friendly cars. The 960 sedan has a seemingly limitless usability aura - the interior is almost too practical, while remaining serious about it's elegance at the same time.

The 2.9L in line six Volvo engine howls as your accelerate past 5,500rpm. Words cannot express how satisfying it sounds.

With around 200hp at higher revs, the engine is about adequate to pull a car full of adults through steep open-road bends.

Because the car weighs so much, it tends to hug the road impressively. This gives the driver a bit of compensation for the body-roll through tight corners.

I have very little to touch on when it comes to negative aspects of the 960. You'll find that there really is a lot to appreciate when you get to understand the design characteristics of these machines.

Basically, the 960 strikes a strong balance of usability, safety, performance, and elegance. A shining model of European design and engineering excellence.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th October, 2005

11th Sep 2006, 23:09

Could not agree with you more. A really great car.