I've driven Volvos since I was able to drive (I'm 52 now). Started out with a '67 164 (sucked), '74 144 (awesome), '73 1800 ES (need I say more if you're a Volvo fan; a classic I didn't even know I had at 21), '79 244DL (the Tank, but got to be ugly as f*** as it was a family car forever, then passed to the youngest kid in the fam, me., it was brown, knowing what ...the California sun does to brown).; then a '80 242dl 2dr, again, hung on to me forever, then a used, body-damaged '82 244 GL wagon; my savior after being laid off and having to sell my BMW. Things got better and then I bought the '95 850 GLT. GOTTA SAY NOW...given my history of owning/driving Volvos, that this is my most favorite "buddy"; bought it from private party at 95K mi, (upon purchase, discovered it has a WA State Rebuilt title, never disclosed by the (foreign) seller..in Auburn, WA, yeah, those guys), paid it anyways and it has been the best Volvo I ever owned! And now, 03/01/2018, I've replaced the pcv system (recommended to avoid engine seal blow out), timing belt, (70K mi. of course), and all those front end knocks and pings which we can avoid with bushings/seals replacement stuff (not cheap). This baby won't quit. It's my buddy...I'm gonna need it to discover my new life traveling across the country. Overall....the last of the Swedish made Volvos...the best, safest and most reliable vehicles we can buy. Buy this thing, but check with me before you spend.
I've had my '96 5-speed manual wagon since 1998 (it is a '96, not a '95) and have put onto it all but 24,000 of its 334,000 miles. I'll probably never sell this fantastic car. With its dark blue green color, Volvo styling and toughness, we call it "the tank". I've stormed up and down the highways and byways with it for various jobs including music and journalism. Volvo repairs are expensive when they're needed, and you must have a good trustworthy and knowledgeable Volvo mechanic in your hometown. If you do, you'll be rewarded with owning one of the greatest cars ever built. Mine has saved me in a couple of minor accidents including a T-bone in which none of the car's structural elements was knocked out of line. The car that hit me was seriously damaged. Interior materials on the 850 come apart: cover your seats and just be aware the plastics aren't great. Things have gone wrong, but nothing egregious. The car's been towed twice over all these years for mechanical problems, and once for a dead battery I knew about and should have taken care of. I've replaced fuel pump, T-sensor, two brake discs, struts, one clutch (at 275,000 mi.), a radiator overflow tank, air pump with solenoid, front drive axles, lower control arms and the alternator over the years. The engine and transmission have never been opened, and the cooling system, heater and A/C work great. Keep the cowl vents clear of leaves to prevent the A/C compressor and drier from being damaged. Give the car every bit of its regular servicing on time, and you'll always be glad you bought an 850. It's a safe, unbelievably solid sleeper at a bargain these days with fabulous handling and braking. The manual transmission brings this car alive, so try to find one if you can. If you have a wagon and carry heavy loads as I do, I recommend you invest in the optional Nivomat self-leveling suspension. You'll need to replace the rear coil springs too. It's more than $1000 total and worth every penny. I load mine up, tow trailers, everything, and it sits perfectly level and stable after 1/2 mile of driving. The slight twitchiness of the rear end when the wagon is lightly loaded also disappears with the Nivomats. Oh yeah, the rear seat comfortably accommodates real adults, and there's as much cargo room as in a small minivan. Amazing. Update: Now at 340,000 miles and I'm replacing some parts in the fuel filler including the motor that unlocks and locks the door. Expensive but once again worth it to me, as I haven't made a car payment since 2001. So in the long run, this car has not been unreasonably costly to buy or maintain. It still runs great.
So, I bought this car a couple of weeks ago. Its a 20 year old car I paid $1,300 for and I'm loving it. It has its small things that will need repaired but it is reliable, I feel very safe toting kids around in it, and I love being the only person in town with a cool vintage looking car. Now all I need is my NPR bumper sticker!
My Volvo 850 has been a very good first car. It is very comfy, has a really long features list for a car of its age. Love the sound of the inline 5. Has a good amount of power for the non turbo (168hp) I have had the car a little while and the only maintenance that it has needed was the rear brakes needed replacing. I've been getting above average fuel consumption, it's rated at 19 city/ 26 highway and I've been getting 26+ mixed driving. Would love to upgrade to a T-5R or a S70 T5