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Volvo 940 and 960 (1990 - 1998)

Last updated 11 December 2018


Buying Guide


  • Lots of 'passive' safety features. One of the first cars to offer a built-in rear child seat and three three-point rear seatbelts. Really an updated 740.
  • 16' (4,878mm) long by 5' 9" (1,753mm) wide. (Estate 15' 11" long.) Weighed 1,366kg to 1,451kg. 7 seat option.
  • Engine range: 2.0 litre 111bhp; 2.0 litre turbo 155bhp; 2.3 litre 130bhp; 2.3litre LPT 135bhp; 2.3 litre turbo 165bhp; 2.3 litre HPt 170bhp; 2.4 litre turbodiesel six 109bhp and 122bhp.
  • Genteel, very middle-class, respectable image (but see 'What's Bad').
  • Can motor on and on and many still around in 2007 in good condition.
  • 960 the ultimate 'Q' car. Stonking 204 bhp twin-cam 3.0 litre straight six makes this old dowager really fly. Sports car drivers simply can't believe their eyes.
  • Not over-dear once they've done a few miles. Became S90/V90 from 1997 model year.
  • Volvos generally had slightly below average warranty repair costs in 2003 Warranty Direct Reliability index (index 90.54 v/s lowest 31.93). Link:-


  • Boring to drive. Flabby handling.
  • Very mixed image: middle-class, but, like 740, sometimes driven by very aggressive drivers.
  • High-intensity high-level rear brake light on automatics must be fitted with low-intensity bulb or will dazzle the driver behind in a traffic jam (technically an offence under the RVLR 1989).
  • The market is for Volvo estates and saloon versions are very hard to sell.
  • Problem with 1995 - 1997 cars that the throttle can stick and the brake servo can fail. Not something you want with an automatic.
  • Volvo image may or may not be what you want.
  • Ridiculous big diameter damage-prone protruding alloy wheels fitted to final S90s in 1996 (though low-profile tyres hugely improved handling).


  • Steering and front suspension damage from 'kerbing'.
  • Engine and exhaust system damage from 'short run syndrome'.
  • Front crossmember can crack, leading to chafing of battery cable and possible underbonnet fire.
  • Some 960 24vs have suffered from cracked cylinder heads. Check very carefully for water and oil leaks and for signs of water and oil mixing.
  • Check for steering and front suspension damage from 'kerbing'.
  • Look for engine and exhaust system damage from 'short run syndrome'.
  • Dual Mass flywheels prone to failure and cost £590+ VAT from Volvo, plus £300 for the clutch. LUK Clutch supplies offers a solid flywheel conversion for £340 + VAT.
  • Sludge in coolant affected operation of low coolant warning light. Coolant needs flushing and changing at least every four years.
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