I would also have to disagree - my Volvo Estate is the best car I ahve ever been in blind spot wise. It's long, but by far and away the easiest car to manouver!
This is a clear example of people who think their car is bad because they don't bother in reading the manuals or taking proper care. Also, why do people buy cars without testing them. Just be sure you test thoroughly before you buy and blaming a manufacturer for your mistakes.
I would also have to disagree, I have a 1993 850 20V & it's a very solid dependable car. Mileage was fairly low at 72000 when I bought it & it's only on 80,000 3 years later due to me travelling to work by train. The only things I have had to change are the front anti roll bar bushes & the battery. I do my own servicing & find it an easy car to work on. My only two criticisms are firstly when reversing it's difficult to see the tip of the boot lid through the rear window. I've added the boot spoiler from a '96 T5 which helps. Second, having no rain channels mean rainwater runs from the edge of the screen and roof in through the drivers window if I have it very slightly open wet weather. Other than those two minor quirks I can't find much else wrong.
I bought my 1994 Volvo 850 in November of 1993. The mileage now reads 160,000 miles. I loved (and still love) the car, the ride and its acceleration. I have maintained it better than the manual suggests. However, I had expensive repairs for things that surprised me. For example, the hood latch had to be repaired three times ; I still do not know why every two three years, even when it was brand new, I would need to take it to the dealer to deal with a problem the nature of which still eludes me: whenever I turned the steering wheel to left or right for sharp turns, I would hear screeching steel noise. Repaired, or serviced, the screeching would disappear to resurface again 2 years later. What about the console lights! They would die off at frequent intervals, so another expensive repair! The automatic antenna was repaired three times...
Now the car is back for repair at 160,000 miles which is understandable but I fear the cost of repairs that I think will be substantial. I think they would need to replace the catalytic converter: a bad smell comes off the car when it is running; I also hear a whirring noise on the highway when cruising at 50 to 60 miles. The noise disappears after a tab or two on the brakes. I know the book value of the car would not justify expensive repairs but the interior looks brand new and the car is worth much more than it would actually sell.
Over the years I have bought 12 cars (always new) : Opel Cadet (1), Datsuns (2), Mazda 929 (1), Chrysler Simca (1) Chevrolet Malibu Classic (1), Oldmosbile Firenza (1), Ford Aerostar (1), Nissan Altima (1), Volvo 850 (1), Ford Focus (1), Mazda Tribute (1). By far the Volvo was the most exciting car I have owned and has served me well, although repairs bills have been high.
Hmmmm, I realise this is an old review, but I have a couple of comments.
My wife is 5ft nothing, and drives our 850 like an ace, as she did our previous 740. We live in a house which backs on to our garage in a narrow alley, and she parks our 850 with no problems.
As for your 'purse' - handbag? Maybe place it in the front passenger foot well, or just behind the driver's seat.
Fumbling with unfamiliar dash-board controls, is common when a car is new, but surely after a period of time, a driver will adjust or switch on-off any number of vehicle functions, without taking their eyes off the road? A bit like changing gears on a manual shift?
Sometimes, certain cars are not meant for certain drivers, but I think bad reviews for 850s are few and far between.
When owning an older car, some basic knowledge of servicing/repairing a vehicle is a must, or shop around and find an established non-franchise service centre? A couple of minor spares I bought from our local Volvo dealer, made my eyes water, so never been back. The Internet is also useful for any niggling queries.