Bought it as a 2nd owner in 9/99 with 39k miles. Just hit 273k miles in 5/16. Serviced w/dealers up through 2004 in Santa Clara, CA & Portland, OR when average commute was 40mi/day on freeways. But best mechanic is 'a Volvo guy' on the Oregon Coast, which he loves 'cause 1996 model was still a 'Swedish made vehicle'. MPG on highway has been 28, in town 24. Since 2004, I have been religious about routine maintenance every 3k miles. The usual brakes replacements at 45K intervals, timing belts at 80k intervals. Air condition part replacement at 190k. Since 2004, daily commute is 50mi round trip on the winding Oregon Coast. In 2014, hit black ice and 'off-roaded' for 100 yards. 100 lb. chocolate lab in the back ended up in the front seat by the time the Volvo got me solidly back on the road, with only loosing the driver's side mirror. Body shop still thinks my car is blessed when I showed them the images of the tire tracks in the woods. Aiming to hit the 300Kmi mark, so my mechanic can send his pic and story into Volvo. Previously owned a 1968 142 Sedan from 1974-1980, then every car in between (Dodge, Saab, Honda, Peugeot, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Toyota and a Cadillac (those were my 'LA years'), went back to Volvo in 1999 and never looked back. Yeah, they knew the cup holder placement was a mistake when the launched the 850 win 1993, so they changed it by 1997/98. V70 fixed some of the issues, but created more. 1996 & 1997 850 Turbo Wagons were that last, great Swedish Car. My friends from Sweden tell me so!
We have owned this car since new, now in the family 16 years. Has been very reliable comfortable and versatile. Manual gear box makes it fun to drive. Station wagon configuration makes as useful as any large SUV with vastly better gas mileage and nicer road handling. Odometer gear failed and I replaced the gear with an e bay source that included instructions on installation. ABS module failed and internet lead me to a place to buy a rebuilt one and installed it myself. These are two classic weak spots of this car that are easily fixed by the owner. Fuel pump did fail and was replaced. We now have 181K on odometer. Still running well. This model supports the legendary Volvo value
well designed very comfortable seats, easy to maintain with minimal support from dealer or mechanic. material quality of both exterior and interior of the car. ageless
Better designed abs module,
eliminate the silly headlight wipers that fell apart years ago.
I bought my car a year ago from one of my brothers friends. It had been sitting in his garage barely used and barely ran. When I got it, it had 140,000 miles on it, now the odometer reads 150,800 miles. I haven't had any real problem with it. Except for a fuel filter going out, but that's a cheap fix. It has always ran strong and never left me completely stranded on the side of the road. The interior is great, very roomy and comfortable. The engine is like the energizer bunny, it just keeps going and going. And the fact that the car come stock with a underbelly cover makes driving on rocky roads way less worry-some. When this car dies, if it ever does, I will own another Volvo!
Engine, Interior, placement of window, lock, and sunroof controls.
I purchased my 96' 850 in 2009, as my first car, with 112k miles on it. Other than a few select electrical & accessory issues (radio, sunroof, bulbs), and irksome mechanical issues (ac compressor failure) this car has been a complete joy to own. Without a doubt the most comfortable car I've had the pleasure of driving. Smooth, quiet and the exhaust note is quite soothing. Engine reliability has been flawless. I can't say enough great things about this car, just make sure to keep a few extra bucks socked away for maintenance.