safety vs. model number, model year for US volvos

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by forte, Jan 18, 2004.

  1. forte

    forte Guest

    my daughter is going to start driving soon and i want to put her in an
    automatic shift volvo, for safety reasons, as she learns to drive.
    However, for money reasons, i can't afford a new volvo.

    are there models or model years to avoid, if safety is my only

    i ask because some well-meaning soul told me there were, but had no
    specifics to offer.

    thanks in advance.
    forte, Jan 18, 2004
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  2. forte

    Dave Shannon Guest

    You can't go wrong with a well maintained '88 to '93 240, all of the
    bugs were worked out by then and they run forever with basic
    maintenance and replacement of wear items. The 700 series of the same
    vintage is also a good choice as it uses the same drivetrain. For a
    few more $$$ you could step up to the 900 series, also with the robust
    B-230/AW driveline.
    Dave Shannon
    [email protected] (Spring Valley CA)
    1984 245DL 200K
    1984 245Ti 190K
    1988 240DL 190K
    '01 Jeep Sahara 15K
    Dave Shannon, Jan 18, 2004
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  3. forte

    James Sweet Guest

    Speaking strictly of safety you really can't go wrong, all Volvos are very
    safe cars, and it's hard to say which is more safe than another. For other
    reasons I would definitly avoid those with the V6 engine, turbo (great but
    not for a beginning driver), and the troublesome ZF automatic transmissions
    used in many of the older 700 series cars.
    James Sweet, Jan 18, 2004
  4. I'm guessing you're in the US since you talk about automatic shift and are
    considering the 'big' Volvos. If not, what about a 440? They're considerably
    smaller and much cheaper on insurance. Plus, she can then learn the manual
    gearbox (in the UK, most cars are manual and if you have an auto licence,
    you can't drive anything else).

    For the money, you'd also get a newer car, which must be a bonus, especially
    in terms of safety, reliability, rust-limitation etc? I've just picked up a
    '95 440 with 87k for £1,300.

    Just a few thoughts. Might not be relevant though.

    Regards etc,
    Richard Carter

    richard at rjcarter dot net
    Richard Carter, Jan 18, 2004
  5. forte

    Graham W Guest

    Although all Volvo's are generally "safe" compared with most other cars,
    it's worth noting that SIPS (Side Impact Protection System) came in with the
    900 series cars. Seeing as safety is your prime consideration, it's probably
    worth considering. As no doubt someone will mention, the ZF auto boxes were
    more troublesome than the AW. Also go for an estate if you want a more
    useful car, which will have better resale value later on, which are also
    considerably easier to reverse (you can see where the corners are!)

    The 'little' (in Volvo terms) 440's are good cars, although I have never
    been a fan of the French engines, which are no way up to the longevity and
    reliability of the pucker Volvo lumps. The 8-valve Volvo engines will give
    you the greatest life expectancy with minimal cost to keep alive.

    Graham W
    Graham W, Jan 18, 2004
  6. Here is the real world fatality and injury data from:

    The injury index reflects the injury insurance costs experienced for
    each model. An injury index of 100 is normal for that year. Lower is

    Volvo 740/760 Station Wagon ---- injury index of 47
    Volvo 240 Station Wagon -------- injury index of 74
    Volvo 740/760 4-door ----------- injury index of 89
    Volvo 240 4-door --------------- injury index of 93

    Volvo 850 Station Wagon -------- injury index of 50
    Volvo 940/960 Station Wagon ---- injury index of 59
    Volvo 850 4-door --------------- injury index of 66
    Volvo 940/960 4-door ----------- injury index of 79

    Volvo V70 Station Wagon -------- injury index of 46
    Volvo S70 4-door --------------- injury index of 77
    Volvo 960/S90 4-door ----------- injury index of 85

    Volvo V70 Station Wagon -------- injury index of 42
    Volvo S60 4-door --------------- injury index of 59
    Volvo S90 4-door --------------- injury index of 61
    Volvo S40 4-door --------------- injury index of 85

    and from:

    The death rate reflects the number of deaths per million vehicle-years.
    Lower is better.

    Volvo 850 death rate ------- 39
    Pontiac Sunfire death rate - 206
    Geo Metro death rate ------- 212
    Stephen M. Henning, Jan 18, 2004
  7. forte

    Rob Guenther Guest

    I know most people here might yell at me, but a 1996-1997 850, naturally
    aspirated model. 1996 was suppose to be the best year for them. The car will
    have more safety features then the 240, a newer, more modern engine that
    should drink less gas. It will also have front wheel drive, probably a good
    thing for a newer driver, especially in winter. It also will have sufficient
    power for her to easily merge onto any freeway (honestly, admit it the NA
    200/700/900 series are slow to get on the highway, this is NOT a good thing
    for a teenager, it's scary enough the first little while on the expressway
    for most people, you don't need a slow car to make it worse)
    Rob Guenther, Jan 18, 2004
  8. forte

    Rob Guenther Guest

    The 300 and 400 series never made it over the ocean. We can get standard
    transmissions on basically everything except the 960's over here.
    Rob Guenther, Jan 18, 2004
  9. forte

    Gary Heston Guest

    [ ... ]

    The _last_ thing you need to do is give a teenager a fast car; it just
    lets them get into trouble more quickly than they realize they're in
    it, and gives them less control (more power means breaking the wheels
    loose easier) to get out of it. A slower car is safer and more predictable
    for beginning drivers; merging into traffic involves more than flooring
    the gas pedal.

    Gary Heston, Jan 19, 2004
  10. forte

    Bev A. Kupf Guest

    I cannot agree with you more.
    Bev A. Kupf, Jan 19, 2004
  11. forte

    Rob Guenther Guest

    Well I'm 20, so I am just out of my young driver phase.

    Now yes, too much power is a bad thing, too little is also a bad thing.
    There is a middle ground, that is why I said the NA 850. We have a 960 at
    home, and that was a good learning car, more power then the 850, and with
    rear drive made it interesting learning how to drive in the winter. I'd say
    it may have had too much power for my testosterone filled body at the time,
    but it was a lot more comfortable to drive that car then our old VW. That
    old thing used to stall a lot, have trouble starting on hills, and merge
    onto the highways.... Now this was all do to a sever carbon problem in the
    engine, and ancient spark plugs, and a terribly mounted exaust system (not
    bas design, but the hangers would break and the system would rattle and make
    the car kick back on startups).

    I'd much prefer a car that is comfortable to do EVERYTHING in. As long as
    you teach your childer responsibility a moderately powerfull car is fine...
    My friends never drove wrecklessly and they had more power cars then I did.
    Rob Guenther, Jan 19, 2004
  12. forte

    James Sweet Guest

    I definitly agree, I love my turbo, but before it (while I too was still a
    teenager) I had a woefully underpowered Ford Ranger (found out later the
    timing belt had been off a tooth) and while it had trouble getting up to
    freeway speed in the first place, I wouldn't say that was unsafe, I just had
    to watch for an opening and gradually increase speed to get in, never caused
    any problems.

    As I said though, the turbo is great, I love it, but more than once I've
    ended up sideways or had a very close call when the road was wet, the boost
    hits and the back end tries to come around, it happens shockingly quickly
    and you really have to expect it. Power can get you out of trouble, but 9
    times out of 10 it gets you into more and only an experienced driver should
    have a powerful car.

    The stock N/A B230F isn't bad, I drove my mom's wagon again the other day to
    haul some stuff and was just thinking how well it does with what power it
    has. Low end torque is even better than my turbo, and it has no trouble at
    all getting to 70 mph. Yeah it's not particularly quick to pass at highway
    speed but you can hit 60 in 3rd gear in a reasonable amount of time.
    James Sweet, Jan 19, 2004
  13. forte

    Bill Stehlin Guest

    Not so fast Hoss. There's a good reason insurance companies
    consider you in the young driver phase until 25. You don't need a lot
    of power to merge onto an interstate. From the perspective of
    learning good driving skills, it's a liability since less need to
    look/think much ahead. With 50% more horsepower, a young driver can
    get into trouble much, much faster. 114 hp is plenty, and knowing
    that you can't stomp on the pedal anytime you need a bit more will
    make one a better, safer driver. If you don't believe me, rent a
    Uhaul van for a day (or pull some plug wires on the 960) and see how
    your driving habits change from necessity.
    As far as which Volvo, the 850 is unnecessarily quick for a new
    driver. I prefer the 240 over the 740, but 240 wagons are generally
    more expensive than 740s of the same year. 240 has more room, feels
    tougher, hold value better and is the classic Volvo. However, IIRC
    the 745 may have better driver visibility since door bigger and post
    is farther back. Avoid sunroofs (leakage) and my experience is that
    alloy wheels warp very easily (stick w/ steel). Years with ABS brakes
    and SRS (airbag) may impact your decision, though I don't particularly
    like ABS (something to go wrong $$) and I'm not sure airbag
    Bill Stehlin, Jan 19, 2004
  14. forte

    Rob Guenther Guest

    ABS, at least modern ABS system have been proven to be safer, but you must
    know how to use them. Airbags IN CONJUCTION WITH SEATBELTS!!! and this can't
    be stressed enough, and when you are the proper distance away do safe lives,
    side airbags are known to help out too, safety belts do the most tho.
    Remember the 850 is also designed to crush better then the 240's, tho a 240
    won't need as much work for a fender bender.

    We've never had issues with sunroofs, or alloy rims, tho I had to replace
    one (slammed into a curb avoiding an oncoming car that went into my lane)
    and it was quite expensive.

    And you know what, power does not change how a person drives their car,
    unless it's to compensate for power. If you are an aggressive driver, you
    will drive as aggressively in any car. I found I drive more aggressively
    with a standard transmission car, with not as much power then I do on a
    powerfull automatic. I think the problem is with young drivers is that their
    parents do most of the teaching, and they don't teach them any bit of
    respect. I took a driver training course (almost mandatory or your insurance
    is huge dollars), then my dad made sure I could handle any situation likely
    to be encountered, and he gave me plenty of literature to read. Sure I speed
    a little, still do.... but nothing greater then the road and weather can
    handle, and never speed in traffic.

    I stand by saying the 850 is a better car for a young person... For safety,
    dependability, and another thing IMAGE.... as good as the 240 is, no one
    likes the style of them... well I kinda do, but I like Volvo's.

    BTW, I'm used to driving a pretty underpowered car, I drive a diesel VW to
    work every day to save money on gas. Don't drive any differently with the
    Rob Guenther, Jan 19, 2004
  15. forte

    Bill Stehlin Guest

    We've never had issues with sunroofs, or alloy rims, tho I had to replace
    Leaking sunroofs are a known Volvo issue (which stains the headliner)
    and alloys have a tendency to warp/bend, possibly from curbs as well
    as from incorrect tightening and heat. Had to replace all 4 on a 745
    in 70K miles, and not one from potholes or curbs. $$. Have only
    replaced a couple of steel rims in around 500K miles with 245s.

    As far as image, depends on your region. I live in a college town
    and the 240 is preferred by kids. Most think the 850/v70/940 looks
    like they are driving their parents' car.
    Bill Stehlin, Jan 20, 2004
  16. forte

    Bev A. Kupf Guest

    I don't live in a college town, but live in an area of Chicago that
    is favoured by younger folk (the under 30 crowd), Wicker Park. The
    240 is _definitely_ more popular than the 850 with that set.
    Bev A. Kupf, Jan 20, 2004
  17. forte

    Rob Guenther Guest

    Wow, most people I know wouldn't be caught dead in a 240 (mainly because
    there are hardly any left, and the ones that are, are generally looking a
    little rough).

    I'm still standing by that the 850 is a better car tho.
    Rob Guenther, Jan 21, 2004
  18. forte

    Rob Guenther Guest

    I suppose they could leak if you don't clean the drains out... This is a
    problem on other cars as well tho.
    Rob Guenther, Jan 21, 2004
  19. forte

    James Sweet Guest

    Just depends where you are, the area I live in is crawling with 240's, a
    great many of them in very good to excellent condition. A few hours south in
    Oregon there's even more, Portland has swarms of Volvos.
    James Sweet, Jan 21, 2004
  20. forte

    Bev A. Kupf Guest

    Agreed completely. They salt the streets here, and there's still plenty
    of 240s around. Also, you have to realize that the young folk who live
    in Wicker Park are, shall we say, artistically inclined? Good looking
    cars aren't their highest priority.
    Bev A. Kupf, Jan 21, 2004
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