Volvo 940 and 960 (1990 – 1998) Review

Volvo 940 and 960 (1990 – 1998) At A Glance


+Solid, capable load-carrying estate that will run and run if you look after it, saloons offer tank-like protection for half the price, 3.0-litre 24-valve is astonishingly and unexpectedly quick

-Dull drive and soggy handling, alloy wheels easily kerbed, cracked cylinder heads on some 24v 960s.

The Volvo 900-series was - in effect - a fairly major facelift of the outgoing 700-series. And rather in the fashion of the day, it employed the centre section of the old car (think Saab 9000CSE or Rover 800), but had far reaching chassis and powertrain changes. The 940 appeared in 1990, and was basically a carry-over from the 740 in terms of engines and gearboxes. The 960 was distinguished by its slimline front-end, which housed all-new aluminum 24-valve inline six-cylinder engine, which produced an impressive 204bhp at 6000rpm.

The 960 was substantially revised in 1994, with suspension changes improving the handling. It became a six-cylinder only range from this point as the rear-wheel drive line was slowly phased out. The process was started in 1993, with the launch of the 850, but the last of the 900s were sold through until 1998, via a 1996 model name change to V90/S90. Few would have guessed it at the time, but these cars would end up being the last rear-wheel-drive cars from Volvo. Saloons on the endangered list, but estates holding up well...

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

Our Volvo 940 Estate has leaked after heavy rain, where could the leak be?

"After heavy rain we have water in the footwells of both passenger and driver sides. Any idea where this may be coming in?"
Heavy rain can expose any potential flaws in the door and window seals, and based on where the water has collected it would suggest that it is either the windscreen that is leaking, or potentially the window or door seals in the front doors. You can attempt to replicate the effect yourself by using a hose or watering can poured over these areas while someone sits inside and checks for water ingress.
Answered by David Ross

Where is the best place to try and sell a Volvo 960 Estate which has failed its MoT?

"Where is the best place to try and sell a Volvo 960 Estate, L-reg, 3.0-litre petrol, which has failed its MoT?"
Try the clubs: Volvo Owners ( and Volvo Enthusiasts ( You'll also want to post online: Honest John Classics, Car and Classic, Classic Cars for Sale. There's a couple of weekly titles (Classic Car Buyer and Classic Car Weekly) that both car sections on project cars.
Answered by Keith Moody
More Questions