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Volvo 850 Wagons



    I was in Europe last year and drove a BMW 3-series and rode in an Audi A4 Avant for 10 hours from Munich to Prague and back. Our Avant was a tubo diesel manual chasing a gas BMW 323 but it fared pretty well except in the comfort category. The middle back seat was completely unacceptable to anything other than a child's car seat.

    We own an 850 auto wagon here in the States and it seems pretty small by American standards but it does carry a lot and is pretty comfortable with a load but it's no screamer. Manual trans would help with the base engine if your fully loaded.

    The 850 middle rear seat has a well designed built in child seat/arm rest but it might be a little uncomfortable over a long haul. I've never sat in the middle back seat to know. The rear seat is well contoured and has plenty of leg room though.

    Luggage wise your talking a total box in the rear. My wife and I usually travel pretty heavily loaded when we take a trip in the Volvo, but we've never gotten above the rear seat level with our luggage. Volvo even has safety netting, if so equipped, that'll pull from the rear seat backs up to the ceiling to keep luggage in the rear compartment from sliding forward.

    If your rental Volvo is mounted with roof rails you have an entirely new area of storage to utilize. Volvo manufactures sliding bars that'll adjust the entire length of the rails therefore providing infinite possibilities for addition storage.

    I suspect the Catera/Omega is slightly smaller than the 850 but a capacity comparision on the U.S. sedans would give you a good insight on the wagons.

    Best wishes and enjoy the trip,

  • I purchased a '99 V70 a little over a year ago. It was a demo with alittle over 5,000 miles on it.
    I had always wanted a Volvo due to it's safety record and comfort. Unfortunately, things keep breaking in mine. For instance, I pulled down the visor on the driver's side, and it broke. When my husband was driving the car to the dealer to be repaired, the cruise control broke and the left blinker was blinking at a faster rate than normal. The dealer could not replace the visor right away, so he opend the back to throw the old one in, and when he closed the door, the open door warning would not go off.
    On the way home the ABS and Tracks Off lights came on.
    The dealer has been wonderful, but I'm afraid once the warrenty is up, it's going to be very expensive to fix all these little items.
    I know Volvo is a trusted car manufacturer.
    Can anyone tell me if they think I have a "lemon". This has never happened with our past vehicles. We've always been able to "drive them into the ground". I was hoping I could with this one as well. Please give me your advice. Thank you
  • MiroMiro Posts: 15
    re #39 Thanks again for your insight. We haven't made the reservations yet, but for now it looks like the V70 class is the one. BTW the Omega (Catera) is n/a in the rental fleet, because of decreased demand in upscale Opels over the years. So GM has backed away and let Ford (Volvo) take its place.
  • jal3jal3 Posts: 1
    I am the owner of a '93 240 wagon. If the new wagon are consisent with the 240 wagon' out! Although I love the styling of the volvo, it is rather quirky with high maintainance bills. I have averaged approximately $1,500 to $2,000 EACH YEAR since I have owned this car. It now has 120,000 miles on it and I am looking for another car...unfortunately, not a Volvo. good luck!
  • Just got back from a trip to the UK, where we rented a right hand drive V70 automatic. Drove about 600 mi. with approximately 1400# of people & luggage. A great car, I wouldn't have wanted anything larger on those roads in the UK--it behaved perfectly.
  • Hi, We're apt to buy a v70 wagon via the tourist and diplomatic sales program...order in Europe for delivery in US. What we are unsure of is whether we need anything bigger than the 168 hp manual engine. Has anybody compared the basic car, not the AWD versions, turbo versus nonturbo?
  • We bought a used 96 855 auto base wagon after test driving both. I liked the turbo because it was a real rocket, but I hated the T5's required leather color options. We luckily found an almost totally decked out base auto w/ charcoal cloth seats.

    On the used cars the ivory leather seats looked really grimy even after reconditioning and the black leather was totally unacceptable for So. Cal. weather. Needless to say I'm not much of a fan of leather seats anyway.

    The T5 is a light pressure turbo that kicks in very early on in the torque curve. The car seems fast because it gets up and goes right off the line. In the manual format this engine would be incredibly fast but you'd definitely feel a lot of torque steer. In the U.S. versions this torque steer is muted by the automatic transmission.

    Our base 850 w/ auto is not a rocket but it gets up enough steam for us and we're old school V-8 kind of folks. I'd love a manual w/ this engine but it's my wife's car and she basically hates to drive anyway. I'd say the auto equipped base engine is rather deliberate in its acquisition of speed but not what most driving enthusiasts would call inspiring, it can only be described as adequate.

    Best Wishes as you contemplate your purchase options.

  • Just bought a 98 V70 and I love it. Only problem (so far). AM radio reception sucks! I noticed in the manual that there is some kind of AM boost. I wonder how that works. Does it plug in? Factory installed? I'm jonesin for sports talk radio. Thanks for any help. Mark

    I'm not specifically familiar with the problem your having, but should you not find postings with the specific information you desire I'll certainly try to direct you to it. Several people have complained that because the antenna is attached to the left rear glass they've had problems with reception but I'm not sure that this is in fact the reason for their troubles.

    Best Wishes,


    We live in So. Cal. and the talk radio AM station I usually listen to can be heard alway up to Nor. Cal. on a clear night. I love being able to tune into them as I cruise back home late at night.
  • The S40/V40 range is due to be replaced in
    2001 with a car based on the new P1X platform. The
    current S40/V40 is built at NedCar in Born, the
    Netherlands, and shares its structure and factory
    with the Mitsubishi Carisma. The Ford purchase of
    Volvo is understood to have come too late to change the plans for the next S40/V40.
    The next V40 will be called V50 because Volvo will
    start naming the sedans S and then an even number
    and the station wagons V and then an odd number.

    Here is the website:
    <<A HREF="">>;

    Just scroll down to -- Volvo Spy Pictures --
    and click on Volvo S40/V40. You might wanna check
    out all the other future cars there too!
  • S40/V40 Replaced by S40/V50.
    S70/V70 Replaced by S60/V70.
    S90/V90 Replaced by S80/V90.
    Volvo SUV.

    * What they mean by replacing for the S40/V40 is
    changeing the interior and some other minor things
    including the name of the V40.

    * This is the last year to get the S70(brick
    model). It will be replaced by the S60. The V70
    will be redesigned.

    * They have already replaced the S90 with the
    S80. The V90 will also be redesigned.

    * SUV, that might be a while before it comes out.
  • bob259bob259 Posts: 280
    sssystems, Just checked our new V70 and as you said their is no tailgate key lock. However the reason we never noticed it was that fact we always use the remote that has the tailgate only unlock feature. In out 1998 V70 after 2 tears we only used it once, and that was to see if it worked, so unlike you, I do not feel this is a big problem. Enjoy the car it is the best going and you'll be happy that this may well be your only complaint with your new Volvo.
  • tom123tom123 Posts: 15
    Bob259 and sssystems...

    I too was pretty nonplussed when I flipped up the lock cover on the V70 tailgate and found a cheap, ugly plug of black plastic where the lock should be. It's lame to see that on such an expensive and otherwise well-thought-out car.

    When I raised this with my salesman, however, he explained the situation as follows: when the lock was there, it was not wired into the VolvoGuard Alarm system. People who approached a fully locked and alarmed car and unlocked the tailgate with their key, rather than the pushbutton keyfob, were setting off the alarm. Volvo got a lot of complaints about this. But with the V70 platform due for replacement in '01 it wasn't worth a big design. So the lock was deleted for the rest of the '99 and '00 model run.

    I asked him if he could retro-install a lock in there for me and he said no.

    I don't like it, and it's my only serious complaint about the V70, but I guess I understand the reasoning.
  • I have been shopping lately for a V70 GLT, and have noticed a number of fairly low mileage V70 GLTs on the lots (around 27,000 to 28,000 miles). I did a search on the VIN on several of these and they show that they were registered in New Jersey as 'commercial vehicles' and then sold at auction. I broadened my search and have found that there are a bunch of similar vehicles at dealers all over the east coast.

    Does anybody have any insight regarding the history of these vehicles? I'm a little concerned about the idea of purchasing a vehicle with that much 'commercial' use, especially if it was a rental, taxi, or similar.

  • bob259bob259 Posts: 280
    I wonder if they could be Hertz vehicles. I know Hertz rents/leases Volvos.
  • Very likely they could be old Boston Coach cars. BC has been using them for several years, in both sedan and wagon form, and I know in NYC they have a very large fleet tagged in NJ.

    In Boston they usually don't have sunroofs and the wagons usually have the spoiler...
  • The Weekend Section of your Wall Street Journal had a very interesting article titled "The Safest Cars On the Road" ranking automobiles, SUV's, vans, etc. on their over all safeness.

    The WSJ was looking to produce a single ranking system that could compare across the board vehicles across the board. One of the key factors in safety that has often been overlooked is the weight factor of the impact and impacted vehicles in an accident.

    WSJ specifically wrote about Volvo since we all know that it is the market leader in automotive safety at least by their own hype. Personally I believe in it to some degree because after all I bought one partially for this reason. But I still daily drive an 1982 Lincoln Mark VI that meets my own need for comfort, bulk, carrying capacity, and its market perception as a big old American car that even a Suburban driver would consider twice when merging.

    The WSJ chides Volvo on the fact that even a substantially cheaper car like the Chevy Impala nearly equals the Volvo under its own defined standards of safety. Personally I have my doubts that their talking about the newly released generation of Impala because it is no where near the behemoth of the previous car.

    I found the WSJ article both insightful and useful because we all have to regularly make daily market decission on what kind of vehicles we buy and we need to be able to weigh the safety factor equally across the spectrum of our transportation options.

    I personally would never buy an SUV because I think they're wasteful of energy and I never felt that the smaller more economical ones were particulary safe with their narrow and tall wheel bases. I could almost never utilize the carrying capacity of a Suburban/Expedition etc. or swallow the gas bill.

    The handling characteristcs of the higher rated SUV and vans in this survey are substantially compromised by both their bulk and configuration to the point that I would not consider them an option even if they got equal fuel economy to the Volvo. Finally not one of the equally or higher rated automobiles is currently sold in a wagon version so I actually feel pretty well justified in light of these results.

    What do you think?

    Best Wishes,

  • sivarsivar Posts: 3
    I have been offered by the local dealer (in eastern PA) on a V70 base wagon with Leather, Cold weather package, driver's power seat with 3 seat memory. It was used a loaner/demo. It has 6800 miles on it. This (if I buy) will be my first Volvo. Anything that I should be aware of? He is offering it for 29995.


  • capscaps Posts: 1
    Hi there. I recently lease a 99 GLT with leather.
    We are expecting our first child shortly and have
    the following question. What is the best thing to
    put under a car seat to protect the back seat
    leather. I am interested in any suggestions and
    success rates.
  • Just picked up our 2000 V70 and I too would like some info on protecting the leather from the car seats. They did a number on my Saab 9000. My wife says the car seat manufacturer does not recommend any type of liner due to safety concerns (slippage?). Any thoughts?
  • mstsscmstssc Posts: 89
    Siva, based on what I just paid in Canada I think the price is too high. I was dealing on a 2000 V70 GLT, full load (except power passenger seat) with optional snow tires/rims and 3rd seat for 32k US (48.5k cnd). I eventually bought a 99 demo with same options with less than 10,000 miles for 27k US (40.5 k cnd, keep in mind the tires and seat add over 1.5k to the cost). I purchased this from the local Volvo dealer. Given that this is a GLT with extra equipment it seems like the price expected for a base as you have indicated is high.

    Our dealers have been pushing the base model with SE package and the AWD. GLTs are hard to find here but give far better performance, in my opinion, than the base - have you driven a GLT yet? The base model with SE package was only about 1.5k less than the similar equipped GLT (difference being the engine). I would recommend driving all three as they do ride different. Keep in mind that the dealers will push what they have as I am sure supply is becoming limited. We had to get the dealer to ship ours from another dealer 2000 miles away as this is the car we wanted (they only did this after they knew they were going to lose a sale if they didn't). I know price differences in Canada and US are sometimes more complex than the exchange rate, maybe some US owners can comment on actual pricing?

  • mstsscmstssc Posts: 89
    I thought I was the only one who obsessed with this problem. We have two car seats in our V70. I don't know what is best for protection. I have placed a rear seat cover on the seats (mainly for our third boy (no car seat) so he doesn't sit on the cold leather. I have placed small folded towels under the impact points on the car seats to reduce the 'digging' in of the seat ribs and to spread out the load. I haven't pulled the seats out recently to see how they are doing. However, they are pulled down tight with the seat belt and are tethered. Maybe some of these manufacturers should offer leather and heat in the front for us and good old cloth in the back for the kids? Or integrated car seats.

  • west3west3 Posts: 7
    Steve, this sounds like great price to me. I wanted to get the v70glt, but nearly all of them seem to have disappeared in anticipation of the se's being released in march.
    do you happen to know of any restraints that would prevent an american from buying a canadian volvo and bringing it to the us? i know earlier posts dealt with losing the factory warranty with new volvos, but what about used cars? Thanks
  • mstsscmstssc Posts: 89
    West3, sorry, I don't know what the restraints are for importing. The free trade agreement has surely opened things up. I frequently buy parts from the US for my old Jag with no duties or taxes. You might want to check topic 539 in Vans as they talk about importing the Honda van from Canada.

    Please be aware that the cars are a little different. The obvious differences is the Canadian Volvos have metric guages (kph and litres for example) and daytime running lights. It is the first car I have owned in Canada without mph somewhere on the speedo. Also, you may not have any more luck finding a GLT here than in the US. They are rare and the base model and xc are far more common. My opinion on importing/exporting is that the difference in price or availabilty has to be significant enough to warrant going through the paperwork. As we all know, anything to do with the government can be frustrating. You never know what they are going to do or how they interpret the law. They may let white Volvos in one day and red ones the next.

    Good luck, Steve
  • I just bought a '96 850 base wagon. The dealer told me it had TRACS, but I later found out that it does not. Now we are trying to work out some form of compensation. The options are: swap the vehicle for another that does have TRACS, or get some money back.

    How useful is TRACS? How well does it work? Will it help me get up a steep snowy/icy hill that I couldnt get up without it? Will it keep me from losing control and having an accident?

    I'd appreciate any opinions and experiences, so that I can decide whether to take the new car or the cash.

    Rich Ready
  • gclugclu Posts: 23

    I won't be able to give you any first hand experience, but I may be able to help. From my understanding, the TRACS system is a low speed traction control system (active up to 25 mph?). I think on the 96' models this was the only type available. The newer models (except the base model) do have an all-speed version available.
    Apparently Volvo's rationalization for only offering low speed traction control was that in adverse weather conditions, you wouldn't be driving too fast.

    If you haven't already done so, you should check out
    The boards tend to be more active and are geared towards Volvo enthusiasts.
  • Our 95 Volvo has TRACS, and I found it works great in wet weather. I've tested it extensively before replacing the last set of tires, so I didn't have to worry about excessive wear on the tires.

    The car gets good traction with the system turned off. With the system on, the ABS comes on quickly to eliminate wheel spin and maintain traction even when accelerating hard. It's a useful feature, but on the other hand, the Volvo also performs well in wet conditions without TRACS.
  • bob259bob259 Posts: 280
    ready1 - TRACS is worth it's weight in gold in my book. Las year, before we purchased our V70XC, my wife was taking me to the airport, which is on a rather steep hill, when the rain soaked road turend to black ice. Between the TRACS, Blizzak snow tires and a little luck we made it. This was as we had people stuck all over, in the ditches and unable to move. I'm a believer and feel if the car you got doesn't have it and the dealer is willig to work with you, you'd be better off with it and take him up on it.
  • mstsscmstssc Posts: 89
    Our V70 sunroof makes a terrible buffeting noise when open. Anyone know if the optional wind deflector helps this?

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