1996 Volvo 850 consumer reviews

$26,300–$27,500 MSRP range
side view of 1996 850 Volvo
87% of drivers recommend this car
Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.8
  • Interior 4.2
  • Performance 4.3
  • Value 4.5
  • Exterior 4.1
  • Reliability 4.4
Explore the 1996 Volvo 850

Well Designed

The Volvo 850 is one of the best family vehicles ever designed (in my opinion). We own a 1994 sedan and a 1997 wagon and we love driving them both. The size of the vehicle is just right! And visibility is excellent! These vehicles are incredibly safe, too! You are surrounded by airbags, including side impact airbags! Mileage is pretty good: we average 26-27 MPG on the highway. We have enjoyed driving our vehicles coast-to-coast. They have been incredibly reliable.


Well built automobile

I have had 3 of the 850 model, currently have a 1996 base model 850, which I like the best. This car has been to Key West, Alabama, Canada from Philadelphia a number of times. If you keep up with proper maintenance especially oil changes will last a long time. If they are not maintained can be a money pit, so if you see one spend the extra money for a mechanic to check it out.


96 850 Base Wagon 178k Miles.

We take care of this car with regular maintenance. The car has been a tank but not unusually difficult. We bought the Velour Cloth seats and the fabric has held up amazingly well for a 20+ year old car. We have street parked the car in the California sun and only the hard grey plastic interior parts have started to become brittle and crack. The engine and transmission have worked without any failure. Brake rotors and pads have been replaced twice since we’ve owned it. Mind you we’ve lived in San Francisco for the past 18 years and drive the hills a lot but except for getaways for golf or Southern California this car is no longer on the Highways a lot. I’ve enjoyed riding in and driving the 850 a lot over the years. It always gets up and starts and although it’s got faster acceleration than a base 240 Volvo it’s not a screamer. Most fellow highway drivers are sorta surprised when an 850 can easily pass them.


Built like a truck

Excellent driving automobile, these cars where built to last, keep up with oil changes and maintenance it will last forever, they do not rust.


Very Good First Car

I bought this car as my first car about two years ago and I haven't had problems with the engine or any other mechanical problems. Plenty of leg room throughout the car. Trunk is very large and I was even able to fit a 4-burner grill in the box in the back. Gas mileage is decent for a starter car and for the weight of the car. Made with strong metals so the body is basically a "tank" as I call it.


Do not make like this anymore

What a car, can last a lifetime if taken care of, they don't rust, keep up with the maintenance and enjoy this car, built like a tank.


Love these 850

These 850 are built like a truck, keep the oil changed, and use at least 89 octain at the pump. The 850 can last a lifetime if you take care of it, 30 plus mpg on highway at 70 mph with a full trunk. If you are thinking of buying one spend the extra dollars to have it checked by a mechanic. If the 850 has not been maintained it will cost you big time, these cars do not rust.


Long live the volvo

I have owned a 850 turbo with over 300,000 miles on it for just over a year have not had one single major issue with it. Good proformance, good ride, and it goes though the snow good


A Transportation TANK!!!

Have owned many American, Japanese and European-made cars, and this year, make and model has impressed me the most. The value of exceptional reliability from over-engineering in auto design is epitomized in this car. Comfortable, solid performance, predictable and tight handling are just a few of the excellent characteristics. Any 20-year old car requires occasional part replacement, but this car has required far less maintenance than ANY older car I've owned. My local privately-owned Volvo garage offers loaners for its customers - several of these I've used are 850's with over 250,000 miles on them! They are STILL running strong and reliable, and I simply can't say that about any other vehicle I'm aware of. If you're lucky enough to find a well-maintained model for sale, you would be remiss to pass on it. Mine? No, sorry - it will never be for sale!



Bought it new in 1996 for my wife and the only major problem has been a broken headlight wiper. Depsite its boxy looks (it's a wagon) it's great for hauling things because the trunk is MASSIVE. Fuel economy isn't great, however a comparable midsize sedan could be a lot worse. It's also safer than any other car for the price and the interior is still tight and has aged very well. It's also surprisingly quick and comfortable on the freeway, but the brakes are a bit squeaky. Overall is an amazing car, I'll NEVER sell it.