Used 1997 Volvo 850 Wagon

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1997 Volvo 850
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1997 Volvo 850

Pros

  • Side-impact airbags, superb seat comfort, solid construction

Cons

  • Oddly laid-out controls, price

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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 ensure your safety: daytime running lights, antilock 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 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. 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. Our problem with the 850's interior? Dashboard controls appear to have been placed according to some obscure automotive chaos theory. Either that, or stylists were enjoying Finlandia shots during interior design day.

The 850 is available in four trim levels. Base models are the only ones that can be equipped with a manual transmission. Uplevel GLTs receive a much needed boost in power for 1997, thanks to a new 2.4-liter five-cylinder that Volvo has wittily termed the High Torque Low Rev engine. Breaking from tradition and shattering brand equity, the Turbo model has been renamed the T-5 this year. Finally, the limited-edition R model returns for an encore. All trim levels can be applied to sedan or wagon.

When decked out in R trim, the 850 becomes something more than mechanical. Zero to 60 times in under seven seconds are unusual 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, including that dictating tastefully understated wood interior trim. The bleached-blond look of the R's Scandinavian Birch dash is horrifying. Pity the Mustang GT owners who are get dusted by "mom's taxi" in the stop-light drags.

For 1997, Volvo leaves well enough alone. Aside from the Turbo name change and the sweet new motor under the hood of the GLT, it is important to note that base and GLT models meet TLEV standards in California, Massachusetts, and New York. We have a question, though. The new GLT engine comes in two versions: one passes TLEV, and one doesn't. Both are the same size, have the same power, and offer the same torque. EPA mileage figures are identical. Yet, only California, Massachusetts and New York get the TLEV engine. Uh...why?

The Volvo 850 is a very nice 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, especially the newly stout GLT model.

1997 Highlights

The Turbo is now known as the T-5. GLT models get a new engine that makes 22 more horsepower than last year, and peak torque at a low 1,800 rpm. Base and GLT models meet Transitional Low Emission Vehicle (TLEV) regulations this year.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Volvo 850.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Great Car
nuffsaid1,08/08/2009
I have owned this car for 12 years and it has been fun to drive gets good gas mileage and is very fast. The seats are fantastic and the stereo is very good. I have had one incident and that is the ABS light comes on. The first time it happened was in the first year of ownership and no cost to me (dealer cost $1000). It occurred again this year and I found a guy on the internet who fixed it for $50. I love this car. Find a good Volvo mechanic and save yourself a lot of money
Great drive; nightmare A/C
Cat,10/02/2010
Got a great deal on this used car -- below Blue Book -- and it has definitely been worth the money. Has always driven great for me; very comfortable (long as you're sitting in the front seat); great power. But I have spent far too much in recent years on what apparently is an unfixable freon leak; a black car w/o AC is unendurable in Florida summers, & the problem is getting worse. Other problems piling up now: elusive, stubborn oil leak has also cost money for several years, hinge on front passenger door broke; cupholder broke, sunroof broke; outside trim coming off; electrical short stops dash lights/turning signal from working. Odometer broke last year at 123K; time to trade this one in.
Fast roomy wagon but lots of problems
dna,02/11/2004
The Volvo wagon is unique. Lots of power and room but lots of mechanical problems too. It has cost $4500 in repairs to keep it going 75,000 miles so far and that does not include the $1200 quoted for replacing the AC evaporator. I might sell the car if I can't find a better price for the AC repair.
Would Never Buy Another Volvo
Colton,03/23/2003
I think this is a terrific car (when it works). I had probably $10,000 worth of repairs when under warranty: rear engine seals, A/C evaporator, shutter motors for the climate control, and on and on. Things fixed at the dealer don't stay fixed. I have had to contact Volvo of America to get things fixed. One thing after another goes wrong.
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Features & Specs

MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
240 hp @ 5600 rpm
MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
222 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
168 hp @ 6100 rpm
MPG
18 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
190 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 1997 Volvo 850 Wagon features & specs

Safety

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 1997 Volvo 850
Used 1997 Volvo 850 Wagon Overview

The Used 1997 Volvo 850 Wagon is offered in the following styles: T5 Turbo 4dr Wagon, R Turbo 4dr Wagon, GLT Turbo 4dr Wagon, and 4dr Wagon.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 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 1997 Volvo 850 Wagons are available in my area?

Used 1997 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 1997 Volvo 850 Wagon.

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Can't find a used 1997 Volvo 850 850 Wagon you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volvo 850 for sale - 2 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $15,631.

Find a used Volvo for sale - 10 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $8,234.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volvo 850 for sale - 8 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $13,303.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volvo for sale - 6 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $18,226.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 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