When searching through ebay for a good old reliable car when you are on a limited budget the trusty old Volvo is a car that often gets overlooked.
The reasons for this are that some people think they are a big juicy gas guzzler when this simply isnt the case. They cost the same or less in some cases to run that the average family hatchback.
These cars are known world wide for their practicality & reliability & the fact that they can do mega high mileage & still drive as good as new, therefore some desperate & dishonest people alter their true mileage, there are simple things to look out for that if you contact me I will share with you but I wont list them & tell the offenders how to hide this. I personally own one with over 800000 miles on the clock that I use daily as a workhorse.
The best one to get for practicality & reliability is the 2.3 manual version although most people prefer the automatic for comfort although it isnt as economical, the later 940 turbo is the best one to get & on a run you can get 40 mpg if driven sensibly, the 2.0 turbo is a very good option but if the engine is tappity then it usually means its had a hard life. The older versions (the 740) is a very good car & most of them were non-turbo & are still on the road with hundreds of thousands of miles on the clock.
Towing with these cars is both easy & effortless, I use mine mainly for towing a car transporter trailer on a daily basis & can report nothing but reliability & ease even if I have another Volvo on the trailer. Should you be concerned that a Volvo has done a lot of towing & the car is worn out there is an easy test on manual & automatic, with a manual its the clutch & ease of gear change (especially first & second gear, also on a test drive take it up to 70mph with stereo off & windows up & listen for any noise from the rear differential or propshaft (dont be fobbed off with being told it needs a wheel bearing). The same noises are to be looked out for on the automatic versions but the most important thing to do before you drive anywhere is with the engine running put the car from neutral into both drive & reverse & the car should instantly engage gear, Should their be any hesitation with gear engagement then walk away.
A good service history is always important on these or any car but old mot certificates are more important in my personal opinion when wanting to confirm mileage, A HPI check is an option but mot of these cars are too old to be able to be checked.
The Volvo v series & 850 are not a good choice if you solely want a car for towing because they are front wheel drive & the front tyres have a hard life under normal use & when towing something as heavy & cumbersome as a caravan then you want full traction at the drive wheels making the older rear wheel drive Volvo a far better option. The post 1998 models of Volvos are simply not of the same breed & I have yet to see any of them do the mileage that the older real rear wheel drive volvos can do.
Dudley Moore summed up the trusty old Volvo in a 1980's comedy film. Volvo: BOXY BUT GOOD!