Bought a Volvo that looked clean in terms of cosmetics - body, seats, etc but let the dealer talk me out of getting an independent inspection. Bad mistake. Heater core was later found to be leaking inside the car, radiator had small leak and after a few miles water hose to cool turbo split open. $1,200 later I learned my lesson. Labor is expensive on these cars and parts are too. Pay the $75 bucks for an inspection and be prepared to walk away from your dream car.
Nice car for casual driving. Turbo gives some oomph, but responds better to steady application of throttle than stomping on pedal. Decent torque at low RPM makes it adept at city driving - even in hills. Nice leather interior, except for odd control layout. Has held up well, over time. No major problems with rattles, except sometimes from sunroof. Handling is not great. In spite of repair shop insisting suspension components were in good shape, I found cornering far worse than newer, sporty European sedans (including newer Volvos). Interestingly, car isn't as heavy as you'd think. Bought in 2000 w/ 50k miles. Now, at 185k, still surprisingly nice. But then I stayed up-to-date on service!
Spacious trunk & decent size back seat are nice. Turbo is fun. Comfortable seats. Some plastic has chipped or cracked, but leather interior holding up well. Note: don't know about the first owner, but I have no kids and 99% of my driving is by myself. Stereo is pretty good, especially speakers.
Road feel seems good, but cornering could be much better. Suspension doesn't damp bumps as well as it could. Some sticky drinks eventually dripped into front seat window controls (right beneath cup holders!). They no longer work well and I don't lower front-right out of fear of up switch failure!
Bought this car new. This is the car of choice to drive for all members of my family. It is great on long trips and carries a ton of luggage. Good fuel economy. Comfortable and safe. I would love another just like it but with fewer expensive repair bills. The standard bill is around $700 and have had a couple of $1200 ones. The A/C bit me for $1200. Struts are a weakpoint in this car. Cooling system was a source of a lot of repairs. Still, even with 153k+ miles on it, I hate to give it up. Have to pick it up at repair shop with $1200 of brakes, struts, timing belt, etc, for this year's (I hope) maint.
A pleasure to drive on trips. Many safety features. Good gas mileage.
Improve quality: A/C, struts, cooling system, cup holders, even sun visor, radio all broke during ownership. The 850 GLT is no 240 DL believe me! I have owned both and Volvo quality has slipped.
This was my mother-in-law's car before she decided to give it to us as our wedding present. I spent some time fixing it and doing maintenance on it before we got it (she never did much to it, just drive it). After we got it, not many things went bad. Just regular things like CV boots ($55 for the entire axle), lower ball joint boots (still did not replace them), ABS module ($100 to rebuild it), alternator ($90 or so), odometer ($8 for the gear). I know that the evaporator core for A/C will go bad at some point, it is really common. The main thing is that I feel really good about my wife driving it with the kids, I know they are safe in it. Make it cheap, find parts online, you will save money.
Safety, good looking exterior, comfortable inside, fun to drive. Because of being an older model, It is possible to find cheaper parts for it, rebuild the old parts, etc.
Better gas mileage, design of their parts (like the ABS, evaporator core, etc).
Bought used with 100,000 miles. Things to watch for that we learned; The battery had been replaced because the car had been sitting for 6 months. This cleared the OBD-II. Have the seller get the emissions!!! You have to go through a crazy "drive cycle" to get the OBD out of a "Not Ready" with emissions folks. Beware of rear transfer seal going out around 100,000 as well. Evident by oil drips or oil on bottom back of engine. $800 repair!!! Great driving car though. Bought for safety features.
Safety features. Drives great.
Just be aware of disconnecting battery and subsequent problems with that. Door hinge mounts break loose (noted by a loud popping noise) and is a very expensive repair.