I must say that these cars are amazing. My 960 (facelift) 3.0 Estate has now just turned over 180,000 and runs a treat. A few battle scars and the air-con needs a re-charge, but it all works and will drive anywhere! Very safe also. I know of many with over 200,000 miles with no major problems. These are tough, safe, versatile and very comfortable cars. Well done Volvo!
I bought my 960 wagon 3 years ago with 80 K on it. I've just turned over 200K and this car still runs as powerfully and quietly as the day I bought it. I've done nothing but routine maintenance on it. Minor (to me) glitches: the gas gauge stopped working about a year ago- took it to my mechanic and they said it would cost about $250 to fix- I said I'd just watch the mileage, which is easy and what I do anyway b/c I always get a reliable 24 mpg on the hwy. The previous owner had replaced the brake pads 3 times within 80,000 miles! I've replaced the rear once in 120,000 miles. How you drive and MAINTAIN a car makes a huge difference. I have never regretted buying this car.
Inhaling engine coolant (a.k.a antifreeze mixture) isn't all that bad for you, not that the heater core breaking is acceptable. It won't cause any health problems and is nothing like inhaling gasoline or exhaust fumes for instance. All-in-all, I'd say giving this car an awful rating just because your heater core broke and you had some leftover odor from the glycol is unfair. This happens to many different brands of cars and is usually, but not always, the result of poor maintenance.
Bought my '96 960 with over 300,000 kilometers on it in Ontario (CANADIAN MODEL). No 'base' models sold in Canada, only top of the line featured vehicles.
Volvo's are prone to flame trap and PCV maintenance; without that maintenance ($200.00 parts and labor), engine back pressure builds up and there goes many seals.
Mine needed wheel bearing, vinyl door repair (also common), and rear seal - that hurt a bit, but ready for it. I go to a Volvo dealer to find out what's needed to repair, and then my mechanic at $45.00/hr to fix it.
Maintenance is critical on these cars, so stay on top of regular fluid changes, air filters and use a synthetic oil to reduce carbon build up on PCV system.
I also ran 'Seafoam' through the engine vacuum intake system as per label, and it really made a difference on performance and fuel consumption.
A beauty to drive, and love the nostalgic feel of the Volvo.
VOLVO... FOR LIFE!