My girlfriend got this car a while back and as the second owner it's been abused.... A lot. Long story short the original owner took immaculate care of her and it shows with every sticker documenting everything that was done to it till around 150k miles, the thing currently has slightly over 160k miles. Electronics are a bit want but the old girl has held up rather well despite the abuse she has been put through. I can turn the key and the engine fires up and runs like a sewing machine. The transmission runs as strong as it ever did. I put this thing on a dead road and just dropped the hammer. For a mid 90's car this thing has impressive performance for a mid 90's car. Better performance then a lot a base model current year cars at that with no turbo. It is old and needs attention and I am aware of that but I have little one on the way and yeah. But asides from the electrical issues it's a rock solid car even now.
Bought my used Volvo 850 with over 200,000 miles at a time when we were really pressed to have an extra vehicle (multiple kids in college needing cars to get to work). With the mileage on the car being over 200,000, we were expecting it to be a temporary fix. However, we had it for 3 years and drove it past 270,000 miles and would likely have had it for several years more except our teenage son totaled it. Thankfully no one was hurt since the car is like a tank, but we were very saddened that the accident put it out of commission. I would buy another one in a heartbeat, even and older model with a lot of miles.
1996 Volvo 850 Platinum Limited Edition Turbo 4dr Sedan
One of the safest vehicles on the road. Bought mine new. Service regularly for low maintenance cost (hard to find dealerships in many areas). Still gets 22 city miles per gallon. My Platinum Limited Edition Model is one of the few (only 300 sold) left on the road, too bad, great vehicle.
Nov/16 update. At the end of Sept of '16, my 14 year old, 100 lb. chocolate lab Cody passed. Prior to having Cody, I had his 80 lb. mother Dodie. Since 1999, I have never had the 2nd row seats in an upright position. As a 'mobile dog house', the entire back of the car was used to carry supplies and big dogs. Now, being 'dogless', I cleared out all the blankets and beddings and finally up righted the 2 row seats. The black leather is in perfect condition. Still love my Volvo.
I own at 1996 850 Turbo Wagon. I am the 2nd owner, having bought it 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 they launched the 850 series in 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!
As of 05/18/2018 car has 222,300 miles of city stop and go miles.
Overall car has been reliable. Since I am 5'10", the excellent headroom and speed control has made long distance driving a joy. I use semi synthetic 10W-30 motor oil to reduce or minimize oil consumption. No oil leaks. Car has original engine, original transmission. Would not hesitate to recommend this car to anyone. Plan on keeping the car until a minimum of 300,000 miles.