Watching car reviews of yesteryear never gets old. Seeing the exhilaration of automotive journalists testing the fastest cars of the time is endlessly entertaining, and with quirkmobiles like the Volvo 850 R, there's plenty of boyish glee to pass around. The famed BTCC underdog is remembered for driving better than it had any right to, and its unforgettable design helped to solidify the box's spot among the best sport-fueled wagons in history. Watch this MotorWeek Retro Review and get taken back to the height of Swedish ingenuity in 1996.
The clip starts off in a classic format that the broadcast still follows today, one that's equal parts objective and corny—but don't take that as a negative. Instead, it helps to build on the strangeness of the 850 R, a car that brought a wonderfully powerful inline five cylinder to a wonky front wheel drive platform.
Hearing about the Volvo when it was knew gives a unique perspective that we often forget. When it was released, the 850 R cost upwards of $40,000 skyrocketing it past similarly-equipped sports coupes. It had a 0-60 time of 7.3 seconds, a figure that put it right on par with other performance vehicles of the era. The most commendable feature, as host John H. Davis points out, was its impressive handling capability. Despite its top-heavy characteristics, the 850 R's tuned suspension enabled it to handle the slalom without issue, showing why it became the classic it is today.
No matter what type of car you're into, this Volvo is undeniably cool. Check it out as it holds its own in every category from performance to usability, not to mention where it counts the most: the road.