After 12 months of owning a Volvo, I am now hooked for life. Granted, it isn't the best looking or fastest car on the road, but once it gets up to speed, it stays there!
I'm surprised with how well it handles. For a big car, it's heavy kerb weight makes it stick to the road, and I've found a lack of power steering gives you a better feel for what's happening. The slightest tap of the brake slows you down; again very responsive.
It's also incredibly comfortable. After driving a Civic around for a week while I was on holiday, it was no comparison. The front seats are like a couch, and the back seats, while supportive, are also very comfortable and are the kind of seats that your kids would be zonked out on during long holidays. On that note, the boot is also incredibly large, which would make it very practical as a family car.
This isn't a plug piece for Volvo so I had better think of some faults. It's a high revver and most certainly needs a 5th gear. You can't really 'cruise' down a highway at 100 (65 for the imperialists here) because the engine in front of you does over 3000rpm (3500 if you want to do 110 - 70mph?) and this does affect fuel economy.
Being an '82 model, it also requires leaded petrol, which is sadly not available any more. To combat this, I have to purchase a lead additive replacement and octane booster every so often - otherwise the engine will ping and there is a noticeable loss in power. I use ethanol blended E10 in the Volvo and I haven't had any complaints so far. Main problem is cost, and in the booster's case, not knowing what the petrol:booster ratio is. Am I adding too much? Should I add more? You get my drift.
I'm also getting a surface rust attack on my sills; more unsightly than anything.
However, putting aside these inconspicuous faults in perspective, this Volvo would make a fantastic first car, second car, family car (a lack of trim would make it especially good for this purpose - not much for the kiddies to pull off), whatever. I don't feel safe in any other car and I know I'm a Volvo driver, as the motto says, for life.