Volvo 850 R
Is there anything more boring in the automotive world than a boxy old Volvo station wagon? Probably not. The typical suburban mom car from the 1990s had loads of space for kids and their stuff. However, it was slow but dependable and dead boring to drive. That may be true for a regular Volvo 850 Wagon, but the R version they introduced in 1996 is something completely different.
After the success of the T5 version in the 850 series that featured a turbocharged engine, Volvo decided to go a step further. So, they introduced an all-out sleeper machine in form of the 850 R. Under the hood, the 2.3-liter five-cylinder engine featured a bigger turbo, a different intake system and electronics, resulting in a respectable 250 HP output. Despite retaining its front wheel drive, the Volvo 850 R Wagon still had good acceleration times of 6.5 seconds to 60 mph.
The 850 R could make top speeds of almost 160 mph. For the mid-90s, this was a sports car territory. There must have been a lot of confused Porsche owners when those slow, boring Volvo wagons passed them on the highway. After the 850 R, many manufacturers like Audi started offering powerful, fast wagons but Volvo was the first.
Today, those performance numbers still demand respect. The 850 R is inexpensive on the used car market and various power upgrades are available, so consider buying this ultimate Swedish wagon.