Volvo 240-Series (1974 – 1993) Review

Volvo 240-Series (1974 – 1993) At A Glance


+Can be used every day, comfortable, safe and roomy

-Hardly sexy, heavy on fuel, rust gets the sills, and just too sensible

Because there are so many Volvo 240s still in use today, it's sometimes hard to see them as classic cars. But with a launch date of 1974, and a large and loyal following, these workhorses tick the 'classic' box more readily than you might think.

What this tough-mobile lacked in style, it more than made up for in safety and sales. The cars – the 242 was the two-door; 244 was the four-door saloon; the 245 the estate – were based on the 140. However, the fronts were re-engineered for MacPherson strut suspension and a new nose. The interiors were refitted, and made even more impact-friendly, and those all-important impact bumpers were made ever larger and more absorbant.

Aside from Volvo’s existing 1986cc four-cylinder engine, a new overhead-cam 2127cc unit featured; this rose to 2315cc in 1978. 1980 saw the arrival of the more sporting GLT model. Most of them were mated to a four- or even five-speed manual, although three- and four-speed autos were also available. 

Facelifted in 1981 and given smaller bumpers, all were re-christened the 240s, no matter the body-style. They even had some motor sport success, winning the European Touring Car Championship - with the aid of a turbocharger and improbable amounts of boost. The last were built in 1993; as durable in lifespan as they were in quality and strength.

Join the club

Formed in 1962, the Volvo Owners' Club has 3000 members. It offers dedicated, expert advice to keep members' cars on the road and has helped preserve models that are still used daily. It also embraces modern Volvos and plays an important role in helping its solving the complex electronic issues modern cars can present. All Volvos are welcome, from traditional classics like the PV544 and Amazon, 1980s modern classics like the 700, and newer models like the S40, S60, V60 and XC60. The cost of joining the club is £35 (£30 membership and £5 joining fee) - but the joining fee will be waived for new members quoting HJ19.

Ask Honest John

Why is the steering intermittently heavy on my Volvo 245?

"I bought an immaculate Volvo 245 two years ago and have been gradually working through glitches. It went through its MoT two weeks ago with no advisories. I've had 240s in the past with no steering problems. All the tyres match and the pressures are correct. What I have noticed is that when the engine is warming up, sometimes the power steering appears to intermittently go heavy. Do you have any ideas?"
Try spraying some penetrating fluid on/in/and around the U-joints on the steering - the bearings can seize, causing stiff spots in the steering.
Answered by Keith Moody

I would like to endorse Volvo cars, as a driver of the marque since 1969.

"I was delighted to read your recommendation of a Volvo in answer to DH of Herne Bay, headed "Invisible Touch". You rarely mention Volvos but I have driven them since 1969, have two at the moment, and my last one was 22 years old before it was passed on as a run-about. I can only say if you want a good solid vehicle they are the cars to have, especially as in the past my 245 saved my life when a 7.5 tonner hit the offside rear and continued down the offside, crushing wings, doors and bending the A and B pillars, finally pushing me off the road, across the verge and into the hedge. "
The V60 is Mondeo based, so should be as good as a Mondeo. Most makes and models have now caught up with Volvo and Saab in terms of secondary safety. You're a lot safer inside a modern car than you ever were 20 years ago, even in a Volvo.
Answered by Honest John
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