Used 1997 Volvo 850

1997 Volvo 850
List Price Estimate
$766 - $1,849

Pros & Cons

  • Side-impact airbags, superb seat comfort, solid construction
  • Oddly laid-out controls, price
Volvo 850 years
Volvo 850 for Sale

Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

Somebody in Sweden loves you. This must be true; why else would the people at Volvo spend so much time guaranteeing passenger safety? The 850 boasts an impressive array of standard equipment that is designed to ensure your safety: daytime running lights, antilock brakes, optional traction control (TRACS), dual airbags, side-impact airbags, fog lights, fixed head restraints, an integrated child-seat (wagon), and a wet weather automatic transmission system are just some of the goodies that Volvo included in this car to keep you and your loved ones out of the emergency room. Indeed, all of these safety features can leave passengers feeling as if they are cruising around town in a well-appointed tank.

The driver, however, will know that the 850 is anything but tank-like. Steering is snappy and responsive. Braking is so effective that it takes some getting used to. Gauges are easy to see. Unlike many of this Volvo's American and Japanese competitors, there is nothing extraneous about this car. Even back seat passengers will enjoy the luxury of the 850; there is plenty of room for two six-footers. Cargo space in the sedan is cavernous, liftover height is low, and the trunk includes a handy pass-through to the passenger compartment that nicely accommodates a pair of skis. The wagon's cargo area is so huge that it could easily carry all of the possessions of a new college graduate. Our problem with the 850's interior? Dashboard controls appear to have been placed according to some obscure automotive chaos theory. Either that, or stylists were enjoying Finlandia shots during interior design day.

The 850 is available in four trim levels. Base models are the only ones that can be equipped with a manual transmission. Uplevel GLTs receive a much needed boost in power for 1997, thanks to a new 2.4-liter five-cylinder that Volvo has wittily termed the High Torque Low Rev engine. Breaking from tradition and shattering brand equity, the Turbo model has been renamed the T-5 this year. Finally, the limited-edition R model returns for an encore. All trim levels can be applied to sedan or wagon.

When decked out in R trim, the 850 becomes something more than mechanical. Zero to 60 times in under seven seconds are unusual in a mid-sized sedan. Seventeen-inch tires should never be standard equipment for a family hauler. Indeed, Volvo has broken all of the rules with this sportster, including that dictating tastefully understated wood interior trim. The bleached-blond look of the R's Scandinavian Birch dash is horrifying. Pity the Mustang GT owners who are get dusted by "mom's taxi" in the stop-light drags.

For 1997, Volvo leaves well enough alone. Aside from the Turbo name change and the sweet new motor under the hood of the GLT, it is important to note that base and GLT models meet TLEV standards in California, Massachusetts, and New York. We have a question, though. The new GLT engine comes in two versions: one passes TLEV, and one doesn't. Both are the same size, have the same power, and offer the same torque. EPA mileage figures are identical. Yet, only California, Massachusetts and New York get the TLEV engine. Uh...why?

The Volvo 850 is a very nice car, particularly when its price tag is compared to other European vehicles with the same features. We think that anyone interested in safety, quality, and performance should take a long look at the 850, especially the newly stout GLT model.

1997 Highlights

The Turbo is now known as the T-5. GLT models get a new engine that makes 22 more horsepower than last year, and peak torque at a low 1,800 rpm. Base and GLT models meet Transitional Low Emission Vehicle (TLEV) regulations this year.


Overallundefined / 5

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Volvo 850.

5 star reviews: 56%
4 star reviews: 28%
3 star reviews: 15%
2 star reviews: 1%
1 star reviews: 0%
Average user rating: 4.4 stars based on 72 total reviews

Trending topics in reviews

  • reliability & manufacturing quality
  • driving experience
  • comfort
  • fuel efficiency
  • safety
  • spaciousness
  • acceleration
  • seats
  • ride quality
  • maintenance & parts
  • value
  • interior
  • climate control
  • engine
  • lights
  • doors
  • transmission
  • appearance
  • brakes
  • oil
  • warranty
  • dashboard
  • cup holders
  • electrical system
  • road noise
  • emission system
  • infotainment system
  • wheels & tires
  • towing
  • handling & steering
  • sound system

Most helpful consumer reviews

4.875 out of 5 stars, The Best Volvo

This Volvo 850 has been the best car I have ever owned. I currently Have 315,000 miles on it.

4.875 out of 5 stars, Good Used Car Value

Just bought a '97 base with automatic - has 124k miles. Rides like a limo - best front seats I have ever seen. Getting 25 mpg in mixed driving. Find one that has been maintained and you can keep it forever. You may spend some repair money every year, but it is cheaper than a car payment.

4.625 out of 5 stars, Great Car

I have owned this car for 12 years and it has been fun to drive gets good gas mileage and is very fast. The seats are fantastic and the stereo is very good. I have had one incident and that is the ABS light comes on. The first time it happened was in the first year of ownership and no cost to me (dealer cost $1000). It occurred again this year and I found a guy on the internet who fixed it for $50. I love this car. Find a good Volvo mechanic and save yourself a lot of money

4.75 out of 5 stars, Best Value

I bought it last year (second owner), and couldn't be happier. Very solid, powerful, reliable, and smooth. Very fun to drive. I feel very safe in it, and therefore feel comfortable with my kids driving it. I've had to replace the alternator, that's all, but I have 175,000 miles on it, so what do you expect? Despite the mileage, it still runs very smooth, I imagine as smooth as when it was new. I love driving this car! I would definitely consider another Volvo on my next purchase. The only other fix was the gas cap cover, it no longer locks, but it's very minor and have yet to fix it.

Write a review

See all 72 reviews

Features & Specs

R Turbo 4dr Sedan features & specs
R Turbo 4dr Sedan
MPG 17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
240 hp @ 5600 rpm

T5 Turbo 4dr Sedan features & specs
T5 Turbo 4dr Sedan
MPG 17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
222 hp @ 5200 rpm

4dr Sedan features & specs
4dr Sedan
MPG 18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
168 hp @ 6100 rpm

GLT Turbo 4dr Sedan features & specs
GLT Turbo 4dr Sedan
MPG 18 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
190 hp @ 5200 rpm

See all Used 1997 Volvo 850 features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.

Frontal Barrier Crash RatingRating
OverallNot Rated
Driver5 / 5
Passenger4 / 5
Side Crash RatingRating
OverallNot Rated
Side Barrier RatingRating
OverallNot Rated
Driver4 / 5
PassengerNot Rated
Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsRating
Front SeatNot Rated
Back SeatNot Rated
RolloverNot Rated
Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

IIHS Rating

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.

Side Impact TestNot Tested
Roof Strength TestNot Tested
Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintNot Tested
IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
Moderate Overlap Front Test


Is the Volvo 850 a good car?

The Edmunds experts tested the 1997 850 both on the road and at the track. You probably care about Volvo 850 fuel economy, so it's important to know that the 850 gets an EPA-estimated 19 mpg to 21 mpg, depending on the configuration. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that the 850 has 14.7 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a Volvo 850. Learn more

Is the Volvo 850 reliable?

To determine whether the Volvo 850 is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the 850. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the 850's average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more

Is the 1997 Volvo 850 a good car?

There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 1997 Volvo 850 is a good car. Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 1997 850 is a good car for you. Check back soon for the official Edmunds Rating from our expert testing team Learn more

How much should I pay for a 1997 Volvo 850?

The least-expensive 1997 Volvo 850 is the 1997 Volvo 850 GLT Turbo 4dr Sedan. Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $0.

Other versions include:

    Learn more

    What are the different models of Volvo 850?

    If you're interested in the Volvo 850, the next question is, which 850 model is right for you? 850 variants include R Turbo 4dr Sedan, T5 Turbo 4dr Sedan, 4dr Sedan, and GLT Turbo 4dr Sedan. For a full list of 850 models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

    More about the 1997 Volvo 850

    Used 1997 Volvo 850 Overview

    The Used 1997 Volvo 850 is offered in the following submodels: 850 Sedan, 850 Wagon, 850 R. Available styles include R Turbo 4dr Sedan, R Turbo 4dr Wagon, T5 Turbo 4dr Sedan, T5 Turbo 4dr Wagon, 4dr Sedan, 4dr Wagon, GLT Turbo 4dr Wagon, and GLT Turbo 4dr Sedan.

    What do people think of the 1997 Volvo 850?

    Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 1997 Volvo 850 and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 1997 850 4.4 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 1997 850.

    Edmunds Expert Reviews

    Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 1997 Volvo 850 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 1997 850 featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

    Our Review Process

    This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

    We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

    What's a good price for a New 1997 Volvo 850?

    Which 1997 Volvo 850s are available in my area?

    Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1997 Volvo 850 for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 1997 Volvo 850.

    Can't find a new 1997 Volvo 850s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

    Find a new Volvo 850 for sale - 3 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $11,323.

    Find a new Volvo for sale - 9 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $17,612.

    Why trust Edmunds?

    Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

    Should I lease or buy a 1997 Volvo 850?

    Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

    Check out Volvo lease specials