I bought my base 1994 non turbo sedan in a rush (after a car accident) I immediately did tires, brakes, changed fluids and some smog stuff to pass in CA. it came with 160,000 miles. I paid $1200 and with everything including an updated stereo/speakers, I'm in $2800. I have nothing but praises for this car I've driven 15,000 miles in 6 months. One major month long roadtrip from Southern Cal, to Washington state, Idaho and back thru Utah state parks to LA. Everything works, its comfortable, its safe. Yeah the airconditioning is not the worlds best, the heater on the other hand is the best (Its a Swedish car!) The gas gauge needle now sometimes works, I'll have it fixed. I've had her at 100/110 in the desert, stable, safe, and I've sat in bumper to bumper traffic. For a 23 yr old car, everything people told me about this era Volvo is true. I had bought her as a filler, till ins. came thru on my accident. Damn if I'm not keeping her, Classically cool. She's a keeper, I hear 350,000/400,000. Well at 175,000 now, not a drop of oil, runs like she's brand new. Everything but the gas gauge works well.
Two yrs later! Still have her! She has had oil changed every 3k miles. She has been tuned twice, and I've replaced a crank shaft solenoid ($100) Still runs awesome. Oh had the airconditioning purged and refilled ($250) Still runs awesome!
This is my 3rd 940, and just the 940 I really want. The 1st was a 1994 Turbo sedan with sunroof, great car. Plenty of acceleration, reasonable highway fuel economy, around 26 MPG. Best seats of any car I have ever sat upon. Got it with 125,000 miles, put 200,00 on it and gave it to a young family member. Routine maintenance at an Independent Volvo shop was very reasonable, maybe $450 - $500 / year. A few things were a chunk of money: Replace head gasket / valve job / head surfacing = $1,200. This was at a private (unlicensed) mechanic. Strut: About $400, licensed Independent Volvo shop. Front wheel bearing, also about $400. A real winner of a car. 2nd 940 was a 1995 940 non-turbo, no sun roof. About $2,000 in necessary repairs at purchase, then it gave good service for 100,000 miles when I gave it to yet another young family member. One night around 2:30 AM while traveling South on Interstate 5 from Oregon to California, I hit a dead moose (cow, deer, Bigfoot) at 65 MPH. The car was launched airborne - all 4 wheels off the pavement and into the (unoccupied) next lane. During the slight instant of panic I thought: "Relax, you're in a Volvo". Sure enough, hit the pavement in the next lane and kept driving. A few miles further down I-5 there was a California Highway Patrol truck inspection station so I stopped in and reported the dead whatever in the slow lane about 2 miles back. They have guys in orange trucks that deal with this sort of thing. Something to note regarding the 1995 940 Volvo: The main fuel pump is inside the gas tank. Volvo 940's prior to 1995 have a pre-pump in the gas tank, and the main fuel pump is between the structural framework underneath the car just aft of the driver's seat. This main fuel pump is right next to the main fuel filter so everything is neat, safe, and easy to get to. Alas, the heavy landing from the moose / Bigfoot incident damaged my fuel sending unit so effectively I had no gas gauge. If you are going to replace a sender unit, you might as well also replace the pre-pump and the main fuel pump while the access port is open. The access port is located inside the trunk at the forward end, so you do not have to drop the gas tank to service the gas tank. This is a big plus in the sense that you can avoid the genuine hassle of dropping a gas tank, but then you must work within a (cramped) trunk. They give you this, but you pay for that.... My 3rd Volvo 940 is a 1994, non-turbo, no sunroof, and so Base that it does not even have heated seats. This is the first Volvo without heated seats that I have seen. The good / bad part: This car belonged to a close friend who had taken care of the routine maintenance. It did blow a head gasket at 226,000 miles, though. I got the car for the cost of towing, $320. So this, the latest and perhaps last Volvo 940 of my life, was put into my favorite Independent Volvo Repair shop where it sat for 3 months. During that time both the mechanics and myself searched for a suitable replacement engine. Finally a good engine was found on the 3rd or 4th try. This engine lived on an engine stand for a month and a half while the guys worked on it in their spare time. All seals were replaced, new timing belt and timing belt tensioner, water pump, distributor rebuild kit; any consumable or wear item that could be serviced was replaced with new. New motor mounts, transmission mount, struts, shocks....this 1994 Volvo 940 approaches "new" in all of the important ways. It is everything I want in a car, and nothing that I do not want - there is an absolute minimum of electronic stuff which always fails, eventually. Safe, reliable with inexpensive routine maintenance, very easy to drive with excellent visibility. I have found that at 2750 RPM (the RPM of "maximum torque", where the engine is at it's highest efficiency), 65 MPH, I get a solid 29 MPG on a fairly flat roadway. The steering and handling are always very predictable, at any speed. It is easy to imagine the "RPM Committee" at Volvo deciding to set the transmission and final drive gear ratios to achieve 65 MPH on flat ground at 2750 RPM. After all, 65 MPH is the speed limit so why would one go any faster ? For a gasoline car, these Volvo 940's will go down in Automotive History as among the very best. Someday, I guess these cars will be gone forever, so I will enjoy mine while I may.
Love, love, love my 940! I bought this car in 2010 with 94k miles. It currently has 128k miles in 2012. I inherited many of its problems when I bought it. I get the impression it was not taken care of. This disappointment aside, the 940 is a great car. The transmission takes getting used to, however. It shifts very hard and holds gears WAY too long before upshifting. It actually makes the car feel much slower than it actually is. The turbo 4cyl. is a strong engine with good power. It's a very comfortable foreign car. Even as old as it is, people still tell me "That's a nice Volvo". I'd buy another in a heartbeat, except Ford ruined them! Not what they used to be, by far.
Seats are very comfortable. The driving position is perfect for me, even without a tilt steering wheel. I like the way it rides and handles. A nice balance between American comfort and European road feel. The turbo engine has a pleasing deep tone at lower RPMs. Love how it sounds cruising around town. The brakes are phenomenal. The best performing brakes of any vehicle I've ever driven. Very strong, confident stopping ability. As bland looking as this car is, it has so much character and that's important to me. I don't like driving an appliance.
I like the firm, crisp shifts from the transmission, but it just holds gears too darn long before upshifting. Not a problem during slow acceleration, but in moderate acceleration, it's downright aggravating and detracts from the enjoyment of driving the car. Wish fuel economy was better. I average only 20-21 MPG doing 100% rural driving on 55mph country roads. People over 6' tall just don't fit in this car, front or back. It's rather embarrassing.
I bought this car as a backup to my 1986 740 wagon which had 420,000 miles on it at the time. The 740 is still fine even after 440,000 (original engine and manual transmission) but I drive the 940 every other day just to keep it 'fresh.' When I got it at 107,000, the 940 was as close to mint condition as it could be. It was babied by the previous owner. I put in new radiator, timing belt, mass air flow meter and a few little things and it runs like a Swiss watch. My gas mileage averages about 25 in everyday driving, 30 on long trips, which is pretty good all things considered. I really like these rear drive Volvos. It feels like you're driving a safe down the road.
Great seats, surprisingly good handling, great ride, smooth engine and transmission