4th Jun 2015, 21:50
My wife is from DK so I think I understand where you're coming from - a "gas guzzling" larger-engine vehicle can be a pricey proposition in Europe. Fortunately here in the States things are different: gas is cheap and taxes on autos are low (especially older ones). In addition, and comparatively speaking, the old Volvo is "mild mannered" compared to other cars some young drivers get into over here. "Phil" is no hotrod, so when our friends and neighbors learned we got her an old Volvo wagon most thought "Good on ya' - that's a safe and sensible choice for a teen driver".
Now that I'm driving it, I don't think much about acceleration or handling through the twisties - that's what my motorcycle is for. The 960 wagon's comfort and hauling capacity are what I value most. Plus I just like fiddling around with older cars - a DIY fix here and there is kinda fun (as long as they don't cost me too much).
5th Jun 2015, 15:44
Definitely understand the logic as they are a big safe old barge, and shouldn't encourage the sort of nuts driving some cars do that teens get!! It should pull quite well as well with that engine and have tons of carrying capacity. If your wife's from Denmark then I guess you/she will know all about how mad a car would seem like that over here as a first timer... but it makes sense in the US!!
P.s... out of interest, if you want to see how safe the old 960s are in a RTC vs even a small modern car from the mid 2000s, have a look at 'Fifth Gear Volvo vs Renault Modus crash test'. The car they test is a 940 Estate, which is the same floorpan/body as your 960, but without an airbag. You might be quite surprised!!
5th Jun 2015, 23:46
With regards to the Volvo vs Renault Safety Clip, please see the comments below it in YouTube... says it all. Yes, comparing a design that was effectively launched in 1982 (when the 740/760 came out) with a new car will have obvious results... but people speculate that the test was rigged.
BTW, the 960 was redesigned in 1994 with the facelift and safety was improved. For its day, it was top of its class.
10th Jun 2015, 00:56
Appreciate we're talking 960 here rather than 940. The 940 was effectively a re-skin of the 740, yes, whereas the 960 was an evolution of the 760. I think you'll find outright structural strength was fairly similar between both.
The '94 improvements you refer to were only incremental changes like new seat belts with hydraulic pretensioners, dual front airbags and a cosmetic facelift for the '95 model year. So, yes, a late 960 would've done better, mainly due to airbags and better seat belts and seat design, but not really structurally, which was the issue in the test.