1996 Volvo 960 2.9 In-Line 6 from North America


Very comfortable in this car, pleased with its smooth ride and luxurious feel; I hope it lasts.


Previous owner saw the air conditioning give out -- I haven't repaired it. Estimates to fix it range to a possible $1000 or even more... sheesh!

Plus he sealed the moon roof closed because it leaked, but it still worked, so I unsealed it and am putting up with, or dealing with, the leaks as best I can. Without air, the open roof is a big plus in the spring and summer.

The criticisms of the car's painted bumpers are spot-on -- touching up the paint with original Volvo touch-up kit, but the color doesn't match exactly. Thinking of putting non-skid on the top of the rear bumper... to improve appearance more than anything else.

The car has an optional fully independent rear suspension package and I understand those self-leveling shocks are very expensive when they go, maybe $500 the pair?

Some rust around radiator fittings prevented proper installation of a replacement air guide, so I had it gerry-rigged by the dealer.

I understand from the dealer that replacing the emergency brake cable assembly on this car (parts are rusting away) can cost several hundred dollars -- that's inexcusable, and may have me eventually trying to design a replacement part myself rather than pay such an outrageous price.

The transmission settings are confusing -- how many owners will realize you have to have it set in 'economy' mode for the cruise control to work right? Plus the tachometer seems to shift often at low cruising speeds (40-45 mph) -- this may be due to the fuel computer economizing, because the low end of RPMs at that speed is a little under 1500 -- pretty slow. Could be that the car is deciding to 'sip' gas or coast going down hills, but other owners have seemingly mistaken this for transmission problems. Hope that's not what it is!

General Comments:

This car got 28 mpg on the highway first day I got it... seems incredible for 200 HP.

It is very quick for a large car, with 2-3 persons it is near two tons in weight. A station wagon that rides like a touring car.

The engine seems to run like clockwork... there is some slight valve-sounding noise, but I take it that it's normal.

On the highway it's like riding a magic carpet -- smooth and straight sailing.

Seats are very comfortable, accessories and added extras are well-designed and well-placed, with the exception of a collapsing cupholder that slides into the front armrest -- that's practically useless.

People say that this car and platform 'run forever'. I have had an 84 Volvo 240 wagon before and ran it into the mid 200,000's -- this one could go the distance easily, I think.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st June, 2006

20th Aug 2006, 19:14

I ran my 1989 Volvo 740 Turbo to 220,000 miles with little trouble. A new clutch pack at 185,000 and sunroof leaks starting about that time that could not be stopped ruined the headliner that was starting to delaminate anyway. The only other trouble was the contact points in switches burning or pitting, but if you knew how to snap them apart you could file them and reassemble in 15 minutes and be good for another year or so. The car looked brand new when I sold it, but needed a new cooling system, suspension, and brakes, all of which were original. I considered all the maintenance I did to the car to be routine; no part ever never failed. Labor and parts were very reasonable even compared to Chevys and Fords. Best of luck with yours.

1996 Volvo 960 from North America


Volvo supposedly has a reputation for safety; this car is NOT safe


Low mileage (18 mpg)

High maintenance costs.

Dangerous design: This is my most serious concern. There are sensors in the car that have started failing. I have no problem replacing these sensors (several hundred dollars each time I visit the dealership), but when the sensor fails, the car will STOP. You can be driving on the freeway, or in the middle of the intersection, and the car will completely shut down because the main computer isn't receiving the proper signal. The "service engine" light comes on afterward, which is too late to prevent an accident.

Two sensors have failed so far and I am told there are more sensors that will need to be replaced as the car ages. Nothing is wrong with the engine, it's just that these computer chips have been designed to last 50,000 miles and they'll start failing and turning the car off while you're driving. This is extremely unsafe if you're on the freeway.

General Comments:

If you plan on keeping the car for 50,000 miles, then that's OK.

If you plan on keeping the car any longer, computer glitches in the sensors can make this car dangerous to drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st November, 2004

2nd Nov 2004, 01:22

Welcome to the computer-stuffed cars! I share your views on the dependability of today (microchip-loaded) vehicles, especially as electronic components become obsolete VERY quickly: what dealership will be able to provide us with replacement electronic parts in some years time?

2nd Nov 2004, 02:33

I agree that this is dangerous, but I can't understand why Volvo would design a car that has these faults, particularly as some Volvo estates manage upto 200,000 miles.