Used 1994 Volvo 850 Consumer Reviews
I replaced a 95 VW Jetta with the 850 Turbo Wagon. I am very impressed with the cargo capacity of this vehicle. The built in child seat is invaluable as it allows for a third person to sit with my two children in the back seat comfortably. It does lack a cup holder which is inconvenient but can be added via special order. The turbo adds power to create 220HP which comes in handy. Very comfortable ride. With 117K miles it drives without flaw. Mileage is fair with 18-19mpg in city. Overall a great vehicle.
This car, it's not printable...O2 sensors, again and again, emission failures, power seat failure , REAR MAIN ENGINE SEAL failure. Only one Dealer in a 4 hour radius, means zero customer service, no loaners and no concern. The worst vehicle experience of my life. Don't be blinded by the look, or the pitch by other owners, they are two embarrassed to admit that this car is higher maintenance than a 6 week old infant.
I purchased this car as my third volvo. Judging the quality as a used car, it is excellent. There were a few little problems that I have had get fixed during the 6 months that I had the car, but nothing even coming close to major. The turbo punch helps on the highway, that's for sure. Volvos forever!!!
After much research and test drives, the winner is the Volvo 850T. The contenders, Acura Legend (94-95), Lexus LS 400 (92-95). Find a one-owner or two owner vehicle from this year with records of the major service points, 30,60,70,90 K etc. The weakness of this model is the transmission, so be wary of abuse or black trans. fluid. Brown fulid is not bad, it might just need to be flushed. Find a good one with under 90k miles, and good service history, add an upgraded engine control unit, performance air filter to get 265hp out of this car. The performance and fuel economy are better than the competition, though the ride is more performance oriented. Excellent value, if you buy the "right" one.
Ok this is being written by a woman with a little info but not all the facts, so some people reading this will smirk and quit reading it. I bought this car new, after waiting 2 yrs for the motor company to "shake the bugs out" of the "new" 850 model. I was immediately happy with this car, and in general have been happy with it. It is attractive in its styling, and still resembles the boxy old Volvo look, with a slight bit of a rakey race car aggression. It doesn't look like a Nissan, Hyundai, Toyota or Subaru. I also own a 1985 Volvo 740T wagon, and I am also its original owner. The sedan is in no way as comfortable as the older (5 speed standard transmission) model wagon, which boasts full size sofa cushion seats. The 850 seats are typical race car style, bucket seats that are small, and you feel squatty when sitting in them. For the price of this vehicle, the seats should be more comfortable and larger. The car came with "bun warmers," which naturally burned out in about 4 yrs. (replaced driver side once only) I almost laugh at myself, now 23 yrs older, trying to get in an out of this vehicle. The 740 model is much easier to enter and exit, to and from both back and front seats. The 850 handles well, especially on curves, and until recently, in quick acceleration. In my little world it's an excellent turbo charged vehicle. With the ABS brakes I have trouble. I'm afraid to, and fortunately never have had to, stop suddenly. Only once did I feel the ABS and it's a very unusual feeling for someone who hasn't felt it before. Both cars, being Volvos, are expensive to maintain, (approx and usually more than $2000/yr) and when the smallest bit of plastic breaks due to impact with a rock or due to collision (I've been hit several times in the wagon over the past 32 yrs) it is extremely expensive to replace. The dashboard plastic shield began to crack within 2 yrs of buying the car. I now have a giant crack running from bottom to top of that. To replace it would probably cost me $400. (I never work on the Volvos myself) I like my cars to keep a new and clean look and running in excellent and reliable condition, and in what I have chosen to pay for, it's cost me dearly. As for the 850 specifically, I pay a lot for high performance low profile tires, which wear out quickly. I've tried moving to a harder rubber, which only stretches the tire wear an extra 5000 miles or so. I replace the tires at the most, every 35000 miles, generally more frequently. I also live on a mountain road with steep curves. The engine seems to be in excellent shape, but the Turbo needs replacing every so often. I am on my second or third, I don't recall. Mind you, this is with regular maintenance including oil changes (at 3500 miles) and inspections. One thing about the car that I found confusing was when I bought it I was told I would never have to replace or change the transmission oil. My mechanics tell me that is absurd, and have replaced it about every 4-5 yrs/40-50,000 miles. It has been expressed to me by both Volvo mechanics and independent mechanics that it is also imperative that one periodically replaces the timing belt in the 850 model. Because of the close quarters of the transverse style engine, if that belt goes, you are a dead duck-as the belt can get tangled up in other parts of the engine and cause collateral damage. I believe I have replaced it once at around 111000 miles. The car is at 182000 miles now. For 10 yrs I have had troubles with the Engine Warning light, which comes on after being reset with codes cleared, within 15 miles of the automotive shop. It supposedly signifies an O2 sensor that has been replaced several times in 20 yrs. Recently (past 3 months), I'm seeming to have some sorts of transmission troubles. Lately, the gear shifter locks on me and I can't get out of Park. So far, no problem is detected, was told the car is cycling in some fashion, and then it releases. Yesterday I noticed the arrow-up shift light is flashing. I'm going to follow some internet tips to see if I can reset it, and make sure my husband or me by accident haven't flipped the "Winter Mode" switch. Other than as mentioned, for about 3 yrs the car has developed a slow seep of oil which appears to be involving the Turbo. Presently there is dye in the oil to try to identify exactly what's leaking out of where. Probably time to replace it or something related. Have had no obvious electrical problems, though the car did lurch and then fail on me while driving in 2009. I don't remember the reason, but fortunately after a few minutes I was able to restart the car and luckily it was on a quiet city street that it stalled. I don't recall the reason and how it was repaired, but it hasn't happened again in 8 yrs. Overall: though expensive to operate and maintain, with only barely 22 mpg in gas mileage, this 23 yr old car has been reliable for long distance trips.