t a family member has offered a '97 Volvo 850 wagon (2.5L, 5-cyl, front wheel drive, auto, over 100K miles) that they have sitting around. I'd just have to drive it back from Wisconsin and do any maintenance that it needs. They say it runs well, but needs a battery.
Does anyone have any information on these as DD's? I want something that will be reliable and low-maintenance.
I have had a 1996 Volvo 850 turbo wagon since new and love it. I worry that some idiot will run into me and I'll have to find a replacement. The 1996 and 1997 models are considered to be the best years.
It has 255,000 miles and is still going strong. Since I stopped going to the dealer and now take it to an independent shop, the maintenance costs have gone way down, but are still substantial. The engine and turbo are completely original, but it is using maybe a quart of oil every 1000 miles. The transmission suddenly lost reverse gear about 18 months ago and had to be replaced. I'm sure that it could have been repaired, but time was more important than saving money at the time.
If you are concerned about safety, you can't beat it. Besides all the air bags, the structure is designed for safety. Before we bought it, we went to the L.A. Auto Show and looked at the naked body on display and talked with a Volvo engineer. He pointed out all the area that were designed strong, and those that were designed to crush. He described how the engine and transmission are designed to slide down and under the car in a bad frontal collision. The showed us the structure under (and including) the seats that protect you in a T-bone.
We then went over to the UAW exhibit, where they had a Ford Taurus body. After examining it, my wife turned to me and asked, "Where's the beef?" It was that obvious a difference. We went to the Volvo dealer, ordered the 850, and took delivery at the factory in Sweden.
Four years later, my wife needed a new car, and we bought a used 1998 Volvo 850 sedan. Four days later, I was driving it to the dealer to give them the final check. Traffic on the freeway came to a stop. I stopped behind a large Dodge van. I looked in the mirror and said, "OH SHIT!" as the Chevy behind me failed to notice that we had stopped. The impact collapsed the trunk area and tore loose the shock absorbers. It was pushed forward into the Dodge's bumper, wiping out all the front bodywork. The passenger compartment was totally untouched. I simply opened the door and stepped out.
The Chevy had to be swept up and hauled away on a flatbed. I drove the Volvo to my insurance agent, and then to the body shop. State Farm declared it a total loss and gave me a check for slightly more than the full purchase price (I had gotten a good deal on the car).
The day after we got the check, we went back to the same dealer and bought a new 2000 Volvo S70. My wife still has it, and loves it.
The only problem is that my wife has forbidden me to get an 850/V70/S70 for Lemons racing. She knows only too well how daily drivers are sometimes cannibalized. I explained that I only did it twice, and it was just the battery, but she is firm.
"I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!"
IOE winner in the Super Snipe -- Buttonwillow 2012
IOE winner in Super Snipe v2.0 -- Buttonwillow 2016
"Every Super Snipe in Lemons has won an IOE!"