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Traditionally, when you think of Volvo, you think of old men in caps, sitting in the middle lane of a motorway, doing 50. So a Volvo might not be an obvious choice of car, but it's a dark horse that can serve you well.
The 440 series of Volvos are now very cheap, you can pick up a decent one form anywhere between £300 to £700. I've had two 440's both purchased for £400 with around 70,000 miles on the clock. Normally this amount of mileage might be a concern, but for a decent Volvo, it's only just getting warmed up.
The 440 are a spacious, easy to drive and very reliable. They come will all manner of specifications, from a basic runner to one with all the electrical goodies, such as heated seats, electric windows and sunroof and trip computers. Like any car, things will go wrong with them from time-to-time, but this is usually down to the age of the car; such as a battery dying after a cold night. It's not uncommon to see 440's, or any Volvo for that matter, with around 200,000 miles on the clock and still running well.
There are many variants of the 440; I'd personally recommend a 1.8; it's slightly more powerful than the 1.6 but cheaper to insure than the 2.0 petrol version. As a side note, the 2.0 liter does have a lot of power, even an older one will shift when you need to put your foot down!
For a smaller car, the 440 is a bit of a tardis, it's hatch back style boot and folding rear seats mean you can pack a whole lot of stuff into one of these machines. The suspension and reasonable engine sizes mean that the vehicle wont struggle, even with a heavy load.
There are a few problems to be aware of when buying 440's. Because of it's age the electrical system is prone to faults, a common one to watch out for is that heated seats might not work or instrumentation lights might not function as expected, a good look and test drive will give you an idea of how well the car works.
Rust can build around the arches easily so check these. Another place to check for rust is at the fuel filler. Seals at the back end can perish so check for any moisture in the boot space and double check the spare wheel compartment in the boot to make sure there's no water buildup.
Spare parts are readily available for 440's if anything major should go wrong and they're not massively expensive. I purchased a used ECU for an old Volvo and paid £35 for one stripped from an scrapped unit an it worked fine.
The 440 is a fine car and provided you dont mind driving around in one it'll serve you very well, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself; when was the last time you saw one broken down on the side of the road?
Over the last couple of years Volvo 440s have dropped quite a bit in price so that there isn't a lot extra to pay over a similarly-aged 340. My 440GL was bought on a whim - basically it was the first time I'd noticed one in the "Under £1000" section of the local freeads paper. A 1990 H-registered model, it had 95,000 on the clock with a full service history and cost £900 in May 2000. Early 440s can suffer from erratic build quality that manifests itself in non-structural rust, overheating, gear selection problems, and dodgy interior trim. As bought, the car had some rust on the lower edge of the driver's door, but luckily that was the only problem. In the subsequent two years and 30,000 miles rust hasn't spread too much. The seats definitely are not as comfortable as the "tombstone" type fitted to the 240 and 340, but there are several similarities to the earlier cars - a craggy dashboard made out of low-tech plastic, heavy steering (no power assistance on this model), and a rattly engine by Renault. The early 440s were all powered by the 1721cc OHC engine as fitted to Renault 5s, 9s, 11s and some 19s and 21s. They came in carburettor, injected and turbocharged flavours. This car has the carburettor engine with a reputed 87bhp. It's noisy, slow to accelerate (but cruises well) and thirsty. Oh well. They are capable of big mileages if looked after properly. The gearchange is heavy and clunky, a big disappointment after the 340. My brother bought the car from me two days after I bought it, and continues to run it. It has been very reliable, needing only a new alternator and some work on the fuel lines after the car kept cutting out. Up to now the catalytic converter hasn't needed to be replaced, which is apparently a costly job. Although regularly serviced, the car isn't looked after too well, and as such is now looking quite shabby, but it continues to give good service. Parts prices
can be kept comfortable if a specialist such as German and Swedish is used.
My grandma and grandad currently own a Volvo 440. It is dark green and they adore it. My Grandad thinks the power steering is great and does not know whetre he would be without it. Although a small car it feels rather big and spacious. It is a very comfy car and if you get cold you just switch on the car seat heaters. I love going in this car also. The dashboard seems very high though.I luv luv luv luv luv luv luv luv this car
Ever since the age of 17 when I as a woman actually started to think about cars i started to fall in love with the vovlo. Before then i thought there were boring mens toys that just got me from A to B . I don't know why i like volvos so much , maybe its the shape and that fact that they are know for being reliable , strong pratical cars , with a good crash cage that i find alluring . I'm still at university so while on campus I have very little need for a car as all my lectures and residence are within easy walking distance of each other . However it is my ambition to own a vovlvo 440 turbo as much as it is to become a sucessfull geneticist . I told my local garage owner this and he scoffed at me , complaining that they guzzle too much fuel and i'd never be able to afford the insurance or the expensive spare parts. However i am determind to prove him wrong as soon as i have graduated and have saved up enough money a 440 turbo will be my first purchase .