Used 1996 Volvo 850 Wagon

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1996 Volvo 850
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1996 Volvo 850

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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 insure your safety: daytime running lights, anti-lock 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 for 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, and 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.

When decked out as an R edition, the 850 becomes something more than mechanical. Zero to 60 times in under six seconds just aren't supposed to happen 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. We can't wait to see the reaction of Camaro and Mustang owners who are getting dusted by a "mom's car" in the stop-light drags. Those Swedes have a good sense of humor.

The Volvo 850 is a great 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. The optional turbocharged engine is worth considering as well; the joy it will give commuters is worth the extra two grand.

1996 Highlights

This year all Volvo 850s are equipped with front seat side-impact airbags, optional traction control (TRACS) and a life insurance policy that pays $250,000 to the estate of any occupant who loses their life in the 850 as the result of an accident.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Volvo 850.

great performer overall
jsrobinow,06/13/2012
We have owned this car since new, now in the family 16 years. Has been very reliable comfortable and versatile. Manual gear box makes it fun to drive. Station wagon configuration makes as useful as any large SUV with vastly better gas mileage and nicer road handling. Odometer gear failed and I replaced the gear with an e bay source that included instructions on installation. ABS module failed and internet lead me to a place to buy a rebuilt one and installed it myself. These are two classic weak spots of this car that are easily fixed by the owner. Fuel pump did fail and was replaced. We now have 181K on odometer. Still running well. This model supports the legendary Volvo value
1996 Volvo 850 Station Wagon with 5 speed manual
mec12,11/13/2014
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.
17 year love affair with my 1996 850 Turbo wagon
MJ the Umpqua River Lighthouse Keeper,05/19/2016
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!
Upon further review...
New Dad,05/02/2005
Originally submitted review of this car after 2 months of ownership. In one year I've gone thorugh: brakes - 4 rotors, 3 sets of pads and 2 calipers; engine - 2 air mass meters, a set of plugs, wires, rotor, and distributor; gas - approximately the pre-war output of Iraq. When it works, it's the greatest car I've ever owned, but the brakes are a nightmare, and it is just too heavy - killing mileage, brakes, tires, etc.
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Features & Specs

MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
222 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
240 hp @ 5600 rpm
MPG
18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
168 hp @ 6200 rpm
MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
222 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 1996 Volvo 850 Wagon features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    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 Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 1996 Volvo 850
Used 1996 Volvo 850 Wagon Overview

The Used 1996 Volvo 850 Wagon is offered in the following styles: R Turbo 4dr Wagon, GLT 4dr Wagon, Platinum Limited Edition Turbo 4dr Wagon, Turbo 4dr Wagon, and 4dr Wagon.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Volvo 850 Wagon?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1996 Volvo 850 Wagons are available in my area?

Used 1996 Volvo 850 Wagon Listings and Inventory

Simply research the type of used car you're interested in and then select a prew-owned vehicle from our massive database to find cheap used cars for sale near you. Once you have identified a used or CPO vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 Volvo 850 Wagon.

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Can't find a used 1996 Volvo 850 850 Wagon you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volvo 850 for sale - 4 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $16,132.

Find a used Volvo for sale - 9 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $7,456.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volvo 850 for sale - 3 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $14,235.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volvo for sale - 8 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $20,050.

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 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
Check out Volvo 850 lease specials