Volvo 850 History
Volvo replaced the aging 700-series and 240 with the all-new 850 in model year 1992 (1993 in North American markets). The new 850 broke new ground by being Volvo’s first U.S. front-drive model, as well as the first Volvo to feature a 5-cylinder engine. Both the base and GLT trim levels of the 850 saw a dual-overhead-cam, 20-valve, 168-horsepower 2.4-liter 5-cylinder engine under the hood.
Driver- and passenger-side airbags were standard, as were 4-wheel ABS disc brakes. Traction control was an option. The 1997 850 was the last 850. The next year it was given a substantial refreshing both on the inside and outside, and was reborn as the V70 (wagon) and S70 (sedan).
Volvo 850 Changes
1992 Model Year Volvo 850
- Debut, Europe
1993 Model Year Volvo 850
- Debut, North America
1994 Model Year Volvo 850
- new 4-door wagon
- 222-hp turbocharged engine available for both wagons and sedans, but only mated to auto transmission
- dropped the GLT trim level
1995 Model Year Volvo 850
- first production car to offer side airbags (SIPS) as a supplement to front airbags, mounted in the outside bolsters of the front seatbacks and deploy in a lateral impact to help protect
- the chest area of occupants
- side airbags standard on the 850 Turbo sedan and wagon and a $500 option on nonturbo models
- base wagon was added.
- Base models are now badged as 850s.
- The GLT trim level reborn as upscale model.
- T-5R debuts: 1000 units, all with a special yellow paint treatment, featured a 240-horsepower version of the durable 5-cylinder
1996 Model Year Volvo 850
- Platinum Limited Edition 850 sedan and wagon offered in limited 1500-unit run in the US
- Platinum is equipped with the 222-horsepower turbocharged engine, leather seats, unique 16-inch wheels, and a metallic “pearl white platinum” paint
- Volvo takes away the T5-R name from its fastest 850 and names it simply the 850 R
1997 Model Year Volvo 850 – The Last Year
- The 850 family now includes base (168 hp), GLT (190 hp), T5 (222 hp), and R (240 hp), and all are available in both sedan and wagon body styles. The 850 is not available in 1998. Instead, it soldiers on as the Volvo S70 (sedan) and V70 (wagon).
Have an Volvo 850 Problem?
Volvo 850 Forum is where to get advice and help. If you don’t want to hunt around for an answer, simply register (free) and post your question. Because the 850 and S70 (and V70) are so similar, they share a forum. I’ve never confirmed this but I’d be shocked if the two Volvos didn’t share upwards of 90% of their parts.
Searching the forum is another super way of digging up information. You must be logged in to use Forum Search. Most of the posts here at MVS do get answered to one degree or another, so there is a ton of good information to be discovered.
Volvo Repair Database is a page that has links and short descriptions to over two hundred 850 and S70 repairs.
Volvo 850 Repairs and Tips
See the Volvo Repair Database. From how to replace your thermostat to resetting your
service light to what to do when your Volvo radio says CODE. It has dozens of fixes and How-To’s found in the MVS Forum, with feedback discussion and alternate methods from owners like you, with both onsite and offsite links to quality 850 information.
Odds ‘n Ends
- Volvo Performance & Tuning Upgrade Forum
- Detailing & Paint Care Help
- Volvo Classifieds Forum
- Volvo Forum archives
- Volvo 850 History, as told by Volvo
The S70 had a short life — 1998 to 2000. It was — at least 90% of it anyway — an updated Volvo 850. It was replaced by the Volvo S60 when it debuted in 2001. The “S” in S70 of course meant “sedan”. The wagon version of the S70 was the V70, in Swedish wagon being “vagn”. Like the 850, the S70 was extremely popular and shared the 850 sheetmetal. It got a number of changes and freshening touches compared to the 850 when it and its sister the V70 debuted in the 1998 model year. Off the top of my head, the window switches were moved from the center armrest to the driver’s door like most cars, the head- and taillights were smoothed and retouched, and the antenna got moved — from its place where it would attract the worst in car washes’s spinning washing things — and integrated into the car’s windshield.