Used 1997 Volvo 960 Review




what's new

Automatic load leveling joins the options list for the wagon, while tailored leather seating is no longer available on the wagon.

vehicle overview

Don't expect the 960 to hang around forever. Next year, Volvo's product line expands with the addition of the sporty C70 Coupe, the new 850 sedan and wagon, and an Outback-like 850 T-5 Wagon sporting all-wheel drive. When these new image models arrive, the 960 will become even more redundant than it already is.

The 960's styling is attractive, and cuts wind drag at speed. Under the clean lines are a strong chassis and competent suspension. The 2.9L V6 produces its power and torque peaks at low rpm for better driveability. The business-like interior contains a few oddly placed controls, but is a nice place to spend time. Seats are supremely comfortable front and rear. Still, the fact remains that this car is smaller inside, heavier, and more expensive than the 850. Worse, it's less powerful than all but the base 850, and gets worse gas mileage.

What's the 960 got going for it? A full load of standard equipment, for starters. Leather interior, alloy wheels, power sunroof, anti-lock brakes, automatic climate control, premium sound system, heated exterior mirrors, dual power seats, and a multitude of power accouterments are all included in the base price. Rear-wheel drive for better balance and dry-weather handling is a plus. Wagons add an integrated child safety seat. Standard side-impact airbags are nice, and the creased sheetmetal stands out in a class of look-alike blob-mobiles.

The 960 competes in the overcrowded near-luxury segment, and is a good choice for folks looking for something a little different. Fully optioned, a 960 sedan runs about $36,000. But does it offer value? We don't think so, particularly with the larger, more powerful 850 GLT sitting next to it in the showroom.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.