I have had this car for 19 months. I bought mine with 43,000 miles, and I now have 60,000 miles. I have put 17,000 miles on it and have not had any major factory defects. Who cares if I had to replace my cup holder, or if Volvo had to adjust my A/C button, or if they had to change a bushing; these are not major problems, and they paid for fixing them (sometimes you have to insist though).
I have changed brake pads once, and had regular service at Volvo (I bought the service plan).
This car outperforms all the vehicles in its class, and still gets 29 MPG highway and 24 city! I have left a lot of BMW 3 series to shame; it does 0-60 in 7.5 seconds! I have had this vehicle several times at 137 MPH! Bimmers can't go over 125 mph before the governor tells them how to drive. It reaches 130 MPH in no time. Acceleration from 90 MPH to 120 MPH has left tailgating racing motorbikes as specks in my mirror.
I paid $14700 all taxes and fees included in 2003, and I could not have bought a better car. I am glad I did not buy an expensive Bimmer or a Mercedes C Class. The C-240 with 6 cylinders does 0-60 in 8.5 seconds. The A4 takes 8.3 seconds to reach 60 MPH.
Inside it has all the luxuries of a Mercedes, and under the hood this car has a little monster. It is a fantastic blend of luxury, stability, and power. It is a real sleeper at a great value.
To be honest, I put this car to extremes on the road, and it delivers 100% even at 60,000 miles. I only do the regular maintenance and do the obvious things. I have friends with M3's and Audi's that have all the electrical and mechanical nightmares you can imagine.
I will miss this car if I ever sell it. It has raised the bar for all luxury compact cars, and it will be difficult to replace.