Buyers guide – 850 and S70 Model.
The 850 model and the earlier S70 model are functionally nearly identical. The interior on the S70 model is a bit more refined but, particularly on the 98 model, the door panel covers tend to shrink and come unglued.
MVS Forum Member swm asks:
I have been in older model 91-92 Saabs for a good 5 years now. They havent required alot of maint. to keep on the road, and have run great. The 92 900S i have now is suffering from body rot, and im ready to move on. Id like either an volvo S70 or 850. My trouble is i dont know which. I like the newer look of the S70s, but maybe the 850s are more reliable and less Maint intense. I dont care which i get. Im looking for advice on which direction to go. Also, will these cars run my wallet dry to keep on the road? no matter what im looking for one of these modes with 80-120 k on the odo, i dont want TOO many miles on it. I have been reading alot on Volvos and listening to peoples issues is causing me to think about going to another brand. Can anyone share their opinions on model of choice and personal experiences?
MVS Forum Member MadeInJapan replied:
From what you’ve posted, I’m assuming you’re looking at a sedan. Any of the cars you mentioned are about 10 years old or older, so keep that in mind when trying to find one. I personally bought a S70 and was looking for a T5 for the fun factor and I also had a stipulation that it would have to have under 100K on it. Today that is much harder. I think a lot of the 850 kinks were worked out (well, except the A/C Evaporator- only slightly better and ABS- which is the same) with the S70’s and the S70 looks better. I have had very little issue with mine. Expect to (even with good maintenance records) replace much of the front suspension and flush the transmission when you get yours…that’s at least a couple of grand to get the car up and running to par. If you want to modify from there, then you’re looking at another couple of grand, so get one with good service records, make sure the A/C works and that it has as low miles as possible as well as low price. Compared to the SAAB, these cars don’t “rot,” as you called it, although there are some squeaks usually in the interior that have to be ironed out. On the S70 ’98 model (and maybe ’99) there were issues with the door panel vinyl separating from the door- this is cosmetic and makes no difference in how the car will run, but be aware that most, if not all of the S70’s have this issue no matter what. Good thing about the ’98 and older (850’s) is that the computers are such that they lend themselves to DIY (do it yourselfers) much more than ’99 and up. I’m sure others will chime in with their opinions.