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

the best thing in engineering ever bult

I have read all the other reviews and have been disappointed you all have been buying cars that have a good mileage on and have probably not been looked after ,in the last 15 years i have owned many of these cars in all denominations from the 2.0 liter to the r and t5r I still to this day cant find a car that fits what I require I am an engineer and I know what works the whole car is over built both in style and engineering so stop winging about having to repair it


Love love LOVE my 850

I've owned my 1996 850 Wagon for going on seven years. It was my very first car, purchased from a man who meticulously maintained it so he set me up quite nicely. It's got a little over 180,000 miles on it and aside from a few things here and there, drives like a dream. Not only does it drive well, it. Is. Safe. My first few years of owning my 850 I was a typical teenage driver who had some learning to do and have had my share of accidents in this thing, but it keeps chugging along. I've never heard of a car that's been in five (yes, five) accidents and still runs perfectly. Granted they were mostly fender-benders but there were two where the Volvo was not looking great but it came back good as new! The key for owning an 850 though is having a good mechanic and really maintaining the car. This isn't one of those cars you can just let do it's thing. As soon as you notice something isn't right, get it fixed because if the issue gets worse, you're in for one hefty repair bill. You also do need a mechanic who knows what he or she is doing. A mechanic that wasn't my regular guy once fixed a minor issue in my car and it turns out that while he didn't do fatal damage, he didn't fix it correctly and the same part had to basically be dismantled, reconstructed, and put back in. So make sure your mechanic actually knows Volvos. Also, the brakes will squeal. It's a high-pitched squeal that is not necessarily an indicator that they're dangerously low. Other Volvo owners have noticed the same thing in their Volvos, and it seems to be worse in wet weather.


Reliable with flaws

The mechanical performance of the car has been excellent. However, there are some "parts' that have failed that should not have. e.g. leather seats cracking and splitting; glove box latch failing; heater core failing; CD player failing; ceiling material falling down; rear view mirror won't stay in place. You get the idea. It has been a very reliable car (175,000 miles and counting), with parts that have broken that should not have.


By far the worst car I have ever owned!!!

I bought my 1996 Volvo 850 GLT in August. It had 130,000 miles on it when I bought it, but in all of the reviews I read they were going well beyond 200,000. I needed cheap transportation as I commute 150 miles per day to and from school. I know volvos are safe, but honestly with the neverending problems that I have had, I dont care how safe they are! I put about 20,000 miles on the car in 3 months and then I sarted to have problems. first: the odometer quit working at 150,000, but that wasnt a big issue to me other that not knowing exactly when to change my oil. 2nd my radiator busted when I hit a pot hole, i replaced it $800 fix. My altenator quit working $400 fix. my abs light came on and I was told that I would have to replace the abs computer... another $500 down the drain. all of the above happened all with in 2 weeks. the week after I got it back it left me stranded at 3:30am. It stalled and after resting for a few minutes it started back up and ran for a whole 2 miles. I did this the whole 10 mile drive back home. The dealership checked it out and said that every thing with the fuel system checked out but there was no way to tell what was causing the problem. We replace the fuel pump... $300 and the fuel pump relay... $50. W still dont know what the problem is. the only other thing they can think of is the air intake which will cost another $500 if they can even find the parts to fix it. So with in the last 2 weeks I have sunk well over $1000 into fixing my car, and I know there will be another $1500 worth of maitnance to do next month that has already been scheduled. I know this may seem very strange to have all of these problems, but we are a volvo family and have a 99 s70 with less than 70,000 miles and have already had to put over $1000 into this year, and oddly enough we are having pretty much the same problems with it... we have to put a new altenator on it every 2 to 3 months. and the fuel pump has been replaced 2 times this year. We also have a 2004 s60 which is constanly in and out of the shop with various issues... and it has less miles that our s70 but is old enough that it is out of warenty. Honestly I dont care what any body says about volvo, I have enough experience with them to realize that I will no longer be a volvo owner, if i had only had problems out of one car I would try them again, but 3 pieces of junk... NO THANK YOU!!!! I am going back to a Toyota at least their parts are cheaper and most of them are just as luxurious as any volvo.


safest car to drive

I was invloved in a serious high speed car accident, the car literally was crumpled up and air bags deployed, drivers side window glass shattered and I was able to walk away from the accident with no serious injuries. I am now in the search for another volvo, wouldn't drive any other vehicle. Before the accident, I owned the car for 3 years and only performed regular maintance. The car never broke down and was very reliable.


I would purchase another

I have put some money into maintenance, brakes, front axle, ball joints, tie rods and a few other repairs related to maintenance. The auto is 15 years old with 101,000 miles on it so this is normal stuff. Have yet to replace the timing belt, I should. This car starts every time, hums like it is new, power is okay and plenty for me, however some may want more. 20 mpg city and highway on regular gas the car holds its value, and everything works, sort of boxy looking but it is a really good car.


233,500 miles and still running great!

I really recommend the 850's/S70's/V70's, great cars, reliable and safe. If you can avoid all AWD's (all years) and turbos before 1997 (just less maintenance to worry about). I bought a used 1995 850 turbo and put nearly 100,000 miles on it! It runs great and really solid for having 233,500 miles on it's engine. Other than a few minor kinda-cheap interior designs I think this car is well made. I've been in three accidents and this car has kept me safe and still drives, it's practically indestructible! Make sure you have a great mechanic, I got screwed a few times (even through the dealership), if you have a great mechanic this car shouldn't be a lot of money to maintain. I would buy another Volvo, great cars!


Great car but repairs are pricey at dealerships

We bought our 1997 850 T5 (Turbo) three years ago with 50,000 miles - now have over 110,000 miles - and its still going strong. We now use it as a "kids" car - which they drive to school and to their various afterschool activities. 1. Very fast - very comfortable -- and of course, very safe. Handles well, has a great heater and handles well in the snow. I still enjoy driving this car -- really dispelled my impression that Volvos were boring, slow-moving slugs. 2. Despite its advanced age the car has been reasonably reliable - far better than any domestically built car I've owned recently. Mostly little things have needed repair. I've been able to do most of the small repairs myself. With the assistance of a local junk yard, replacement parts have been cheap -- and reasonably available. Items needing repair have included replacing the driver's visor, dash light bulbs, hatch struts, etc. 3. For more involved repairs, forget using the dealer -- way too expensive for both parts and labor. The car, however, is relatively easy to work on - and can be handled by your local independent mechanic. There are also a number of websites where you can purchase new parts inexpensively. Using these two strategies, I've managed to keep the car looking good and running very reliably. 4. The weaknesses of the are w850/V70 are well known -- but all-in-all are not problematical. Do a little research at some of the enthusiast websites before you buy. Problem areas include the A/C (leaks in the evaporator) and suspension (worn-out strut mounts that can chatter...). 5. Low-mileage turbo models are hard to find -- be cautious of the high mileage turbos as these tend to be driven hard. Overall -- a great car. I have had no regrets about buying it.


expensive repairs, otherwise great car

I bought this car 1.5 yrs ago. It drives wonderfully, but repairs are frequent and expensive. It's a tradeoff-- a great car, but needs a lot of attention.


Volvo for Life

This is my second Volvo in 5 years. I would never buy another from another car company. The first car( 97' 850 T5), which i totoled, was awsome. I now have a 96' 850 Turbo Wagon. Its got a few very minor issues but it does the job when i'm going between school, work, and baseball.