The Brilliant Volvo 480 Car

The Volvo 480 is a great car. I’ve never owned one but I have always had a soft spot for them. When it first came out it was such a futuristic looking car for the time but these days the 480, with it’s box like shape has actually gone full circle. With anything Retro making a huge comeback in recent years the 480 is a seriously cool looking car. You don’t see them around all that often anymore.


And if you do it’s mostly either a 480 enthusiast or an older gentleman who has owned the from new behind the wheel. With some slight modifications Volvo 480’s really do look superb with it’s vintage, box like sharp angles. Volvo 480’s are now considered as an older car but still remain very stylish at the same time. They have a growing cult following. Just check out the Volvo 480 dashboard below. It looks awesome with the Turbo dials.

Volvo 480 Dashboard / Cockpit. Click image to Enlarge

The choice of engines is either 1.7 or a 2.0 Petrol. A 1.7 turbo version is also available. Both engines are great and do have decent power. However, the 2.0 is the more desired engine out of the two. There are various different models of Volvo 480 but the most sought after is the Celebration model. This version has many extras fitted including the very impressive full leather interior. The Volvo 480 is one of the few cars that I think actually looks good in almost every colour it was produced in.

Black Volvo 480

Like most cars they do suffer from a few faults. One being the pop up front light mechanism stops functioning properly. General electrical faults and also rust are quite common problems with the Volvo 480. There are other small niggles that are exclusive traits of the Volvo 480 like leaking lights / boot that can cause the inside of the car to become wet. An Erratic idle can also be an issue.

Volvo 480 2.0 Celebration Ltd Edn

End Date: Friday Apr-26-2019 1:44:27 BST
Add to watch list

Volvo 480 2.0 Celebration Ltd Edition 1995 Original Vehicle

End Date: Friday May-3-2019 18:32:16 BST
Add to watch list


There are other small issues and I’m sure there will be a Volvo 480 expert along shortly to this post to fill us in on all the faults that 480’s suffer from. I think a lot of the small problems are just down to the cars age. Overall, the Volvo 480 are reliable little cars as far as the engine is concerned. Even if they were made by Renault. They are also fairly safe cars for there age, having side impact bars fitted when they weren’t a very common addition.

Volvo 480 ES

The Car weighs around a Ton so Scrap value is around £120 – £160. Although scrapping a Volvo 480 is not recommended! Both the 1.7 and the 2.0L cars are in fairly high insurance groups (Group 12 – 14) so they can be quite expensive to insure for a younger driver. Classic insurance might be an option, but classic insurance is quite picky about a drivers age and annual mileage so you may have to get normal insurance instead.

If your looking for a trouble free, great on petrol, low insurance car, then the Volvo 480 is probably not for you. But if you don’t mind spending a little bit more on things like insurance and fuel to have a rare car and an enjoyable motoring experience then the Volvo 480 is a great choice. There is nothing else like them on the road.

Some people, including myself, just love these cars. And I hope one day I end up owning a nice one. Do you own a Volvo 480 and want your cars picture added to this post? Leave a comment here and I’ll add it to the post.

Related Posts


  1. inVOLVOed

    Put a 1.9 Diesel engine in a 480 and you got the best of both worlds. That's if it will fit./

  2. Anonymous

    havent seen a volvo480 on the streets for years but seen TWO while i was out and about today! one was wine red

  3. Courtenay Inchbald

    I had one from almost new. 40 things went wrong with it in 18 months. All were supposedly covered by a “lifetime warranty” which meant that, if a part failed x years short of its expected life of y years, Volvo would pay x/y of the cost of replacement. The ads at the time said that the average life of a Volvo was 22 years, implying y to be 22. It turned out that all the parts on my car that failed had an expected life of 4 or 5 years, meaning one would expect to replace all the parts of the car 4 or 5 times during its advertised life of 22 years.

    My failed parts included the speedometer, the door locks, the starter motor, and the petrol cap cover. I was told the sunroof was not covered because it was not a Volvo sunroof. I had to point out that it had “Volvo” and a Volvo part number written on it. The worst problem was the wiring loom, which had a faulty crimped connector which caused the car to go completely dead for between a split second and ten minutes. I had to diagnose this problem myself after the car had spent over a month in the workshop being treated using trial and error.

    It took me about 15 minutes. When a director of Lex Volvo in Elephant & Castle saw me reading the electrical manual in reception, he said that he’d give me a job if I understood it. Dangerously, this problem was never fixed under the lifetime warranty for the stupid reason that “it’s an intermittent fault”, or really because, since the faulty connector was hidden deep inside the car, it would have been cheaper to replace the car than repair it. Fortunately I did not have the car long enough for it to start leaking, which is, it seems, a common problem. Quite a nice car when it worked, but undoubtedly the worst car I have ever had. And the worst experience with a car manufacturer.

  4. John Caine

    Unusually, I had 16 years of fault free driving with the 480 es. I bought it in Germany in 1988 an ex demo car with only 250km on the clock. Travelled all over Europe with it an even did a non stop trip (+fuel and comfort stops) from Milan to Rotterdam. It then had an easier life as my everyday runabout for its final years. I have since had a celebration model and currently own a turbo version. Both were plagued with information centre issues! Still love my Marmite car.

  5. S. Bruinsma

    Thank you for this article.
    I think the Volvo 480 is still a cool car today.
    I have had 3 480’s. First one a ’87 ES with 1.7 l engine, a ’90 with 1.7 turbo, then a ’95 1.7 GT turbo.
    As a positive note: I do recognize some of the issues mentioned, but I had very few problems with all three. The last one I still drive today. It still makes a wonderful car.
    Today, it is very difficult to find a decent one, so cherish it if you find one.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *