There are some trends I will never quite understand. Much like Silly Bandz, I may never understand the fascination with the Volvo 240. It’s cool, just not God-like. And here’s why:
The 1989 Volvo 240 DL has a 2.3L inline four-cylinder engine and a four speed automatic transmission. The engine is the low point of this whole car. It is slow. Really really slow. It strains and contorts itself just to get you up to the speed limit. When I praise Honda civics for having fun revving four cylinders, I say that because I know that this is how 4 bangers used to be. You have to bully them into getting you up to speed, and if you want to go past the speed limit: good luck even trying. The transmission is no help, failing to drop to a lower gear when acceleration is requested. Getting into fourth gear is also apparently a “once in a while thing” like wine with dinner, or a chocolate bar. Will it shift into fourth? Tune in next week to find out! Lastly, the Volvo is rear wheel drive so there’s that.
The interior of the 240 is very functional for 1989. A clock occupies the space where a tachometer would normally be, heated seats came from the factory, and the seats themselves are of the 1990’s plush comfortable sort. The interior works decently well, but time has taken its toll on this particular example.
The reason the 240 is internationally loved is because of its boxy looks and tank-like reliability. For reasons I can’t describe, the 240 just looks great. It is proportioned well and plays off the nostalgia of those who grew up in the station wagon era. They also exhibit incredible integrity. Do a quick google search and you’ll learn just how reliable these old boxes are.
I have a mixed feeling about the Volvo wagon. I love the look, the nostalgia, and character of the car, but there’s no bite to back it up. The transmission is horrible, and the engine isn’t much better. It’ll run forever, but time doesn’t make mediocracy better.
Watch my video review: