Before the 850's arrival in 1992, Volvos were safe and usually uninspiring. This car changed all that. Now, the franchise had a fine-handling and attractive-looking executive contender good enough to take on the Germans. 'A car you can believe in' became 'A car you might want to be seen in.'
A front-wheel drive Volvo was a radical step for the then conservative Swedish company, especially when the new car also boasted an unusual five-cylinder engine. To Volvo's credit, their marketing was, and still is, brilliant, with the result that the 850 and its successors, the S70 and V70, have been big hits with British buyers. It all means that those looking for used 850s now have quite a choice.