If you can't work on it yourself. Find a reasonable Volvo mechanic that can. Never take it to a dealer. Before you think about buying an older Volvo look up "Robert DIY" on You Tube, and he will tell you what to look for. I seen my 850 GLT sitting on a local Northern Mo. used car lot with like 65,000 original miles on it a year and a half ago when I bought it. I bought it for like $3,750.00 dollars. So far I have the whole PCV system replaced (gets clogged up). If not fixed can cause seal leaks from pressure buildup. Just replaced the rear cam seal and fuel pump went out recently at 79,000 miles. In general I love the way it drives, has plenty of power and is my wife's commuter car. I liked the 850 so much I bought a 1998 Volvo S 70 T5 not long after with only 100,000 miles on it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIw1GJgD_x8 This is the exact car I bought and rarely drive. The car is a real sleeper. Only like 361 of them produced with the five speed manual tranny, and about 240 HP and 250 ft lb's torque and is a blast to drive! I'm thinking about getting the new Polestar S 60 next.
This is by far the best used car I have ever purchased! Considering it had 160,000 on it when I bought it. It runs great, gets decent gas mileage and has only died on me once because the fuel pump quit! (Was the original) All I have to say is volvo might be an expensive car to buy, but like the old saying goes "You get what you pay for" I will buy another volvo, as this one is not my last!
I think the whole car is my favorite feature! It still looks great, gives a nice ride and everything works! Way to go volvo!!
The only issue I have had with the car is the dashboard seems to be loose and rattles alot over bumps, but considering that the car is 14 years old, I think I can live with it!
Bought a Volvo that looked clean in terms of cosmetics - body, seats, etc but let the dealer talk me out of getting an independent inspection. Bad mistake. Heater core was later found to be leaking inside the car, radiator had small leak and after a few miles water hose to cool turbo split open. $1,200 later I learned my lesson. Labor is expensive on these cars and parts are too. Pay the $75 bucks for an inspection and be prepared to walk away from your dream car.
Nice car for casual driving. Turbo gives some oomph, but responds better to steady application of throttle than stomping on pedal. Decent torque at low RPM makes it adept at city driving - even in hills. Nice leather interior, except for odd control layout. Has held up well, over time. No major problems with rattles, except sometimes from sunroof. Handling is not great. In spite of repair shop insisting suspension components were in good shape, I found cornering far worse than newer, sporty European sedans (including newer Volvos). Interestingly, car isn't as heavy as you'd think. Bought in 2000 w/ 50k miles. Now, at 185k, still surprisingly nice. But then I stayed up-to-date on service!
Spacious trunk & decent size back seat are nice. Turbo is fun. Comfortable seats. Some plastic has chipped or cracked, but leather interior holding up well. Note: don't know about the first owner, but I have no kids and 99% of my driving is by myself. Stereo is pretty good, especially speakers.
Road feel seems good, but cornering could be much better. Suspension doesn't damp bumps as well as it could. Some sticky drinks eventually dripped into front seat window controls (right beneath cup holders!). They no longer work well and I don't lower front-right out of fear of up switch failure!