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.
People like to say Ford screwed up Volvo, but the 850 was made long before Ford took over and it's a dog. Constant front alignment problems, tire wear, abs problems, shifter wouldn't move, glove box decided not to open. I got rid of the car when the seat belt wouldn't pull away from the door post- wanted $650 to fix it. Never left me stranded, but the smallest repair job cost a fortune. I thought I'd have it a lot longer than 130k miles.
The seats. So comfortable I wish I could have taken out and put them in my new car. High quality interior and paint.
Bought mine used at 170000 miles, now has 230000. Right around 200000, had to replace starter, fuel pump, and the odo. went out. Have not replaced odo. Have computer, overall 30 mpg, probably 26 city, 35+ hwy. I drive it slow, 55 mph on hwy. Just replaced head gasket, $1250 at ind.gar Volvos are super safe (built in roll bar in roof), built to last, superior handling, even for the wagons. I believe that the non-turbo engines are peppier than the turbos (when not in boost range). Parts are very expensive - the starter as a rebuilt was $200, not incl. labor. Found a used one for $30 and did it myself. Could have done the fuel pump myself, and saved $400 on labor (part was $200).
The smooth drive. Even with budget tires, at 70 mph, you feel like you are on glass, very quiet. Plus, the suspension matches BMW. You can take turns without slowing down, very little body lean. sunroof doesn't slide back anymore (around 175000)only tilts.Replaced brake pads $50 for dustless.
Having the window switches on the center console just below the cup holders, is a disaster waiting to happen. Had to replace an evaporator on a 97 sedan (NA) I previously owned, at around 100000, that was over 1 grand. Also had to replace the rear main seal at around 110000, was also over 1 grand