Pros: Safety, fun to drive, all-wheel drive, super comfortable seats, cargo room, luxury appointments.
Cons: Dealer services expensive,
This was my first new luxury car purchase and wanted a car for it's all-wheel aspects as well as comfort and safety features. Little did I know that 5 years later I would start a family and would have a safe car to transport my newborn son and wife in. I only compared the VW Passat 4 motion (AWD), and the Subaru Outback wagon against the Volvo V70XC. Based on my test drives, I felt the Volvo met all of my needs out of the three cars I drove and offered better luxury appointments. I'm fairly tall just over 6' in height so Volvo had the most room and everything just felt right when you sit in the most comfortable car seats made on the planet. Why don't the German automakers do this? Even with a standard sunroof there's a lot of headroom and I didn't feel cramped.
I had to have all-wheel drive as a feature in my next car. The V70 XC has some great stability in hazardous driving conditions. I live in the Northeast part of the US and experience some pretty hefty snowfalls. I love driving around town in 8" snowfalls and look for an excuse to go the store to drive in the heavy snow. I change out the all season tires for winter tires and the car simply will not get stuck in deep snow and driving is very stable. One thing I've noticed is the factory Pirelli Scorpion ST tires didn't provide me with adequate life and make a lot of tire noise with the current miles at 34K miles. Apparently, Pirelli has corrected this issue with their new Pirelli Scorpion STR tires that come with new Volvo's.
The light pressure turbocharger is fantastic for merging on expressways and some spirited highway driving. Road/wind noise is minimal and has a very quiet stable ride for a wagon. The suspension and handling is fine for this vehicle. A stiffer suspension and better handling car is offered on a V70 Type R wagon that also produces 300 horsepower. The V70 XC has a 5 cylinder engine and 197 horsepower that's efficient enough to produce adequate gas mileage and power. I honestly receive 29 mpg on the highway with a load and driving in the 65-70 mph range, around town mileage is in the 21 mpg range. Fair mileage for a car that weighs in the 3,700 lb range.
There wasn't one safety feature that Volvo makes you purchase as an option. I hope I never use the safety features that the car possesses, but Volvo has a great track record with those features that insurance companies and crash testing favor highly upon and that families appreciate.
The only option I wish I purchased was a 4-CD in-dash system. Changing each disc is a pain unless you have a passenger that picks the music.
I decided to go to full-synthetic oil with oil changes so service intervals cost me $50 or so. That was my decision and I feel with a turbocharged engine and towing a small trailer that it was necessary for engine longevity. The car has 34k miles on it so far and pleased to sat I've had no major problems with the car that I've read about in the Edmunds.com forum on the Volvo Cross Country. For anyone purchasing a new Volvo, for goodness sake get a software update while your car is under warranty. My check engine light was one and while I was at the dealer for a oil change I thought the light was on for a service reminder. The service tech informed me the software update was needed and will be taken care of under warranty. Adequate new car warranty is 4 years/50K miles whichever comes first. It took 1 1/2 hours and would of cost me $800. I've done factory recommended service at the dealer and it can be quite expensive but trust the service techs for knowledge of this intricate Swedish machine and help keep it trouble-free. As the miles increase on the Volvo, it will certainly get expensive to maintain. Another positive reason to lease a luxury car than buy it yourself. However, the car is almost 8 years old and still drives and runs like new. It's now ready for front brakes, 4 new tires, and 4-wheel alignment which equates to $1,500 or so, but this is normal wear and tear.
In closing, if I could go back and go to the Volvo dealer in the fall of 2002. I would probably have leased a 2002 Volvo S60 sedan with all-wheel drive. It's the identical car as the wagon but with a little more sport for a guy that's facing a midlife crisis. However, the cargo room in my V70 XC is substantial so having the utility is paramount. I absolutely love driving this car and enjoy the ride and quietness it provides. Also, little did I know that a growing family was on the horizon and this car will be needed for over the river and through the woods...
In the fall of 2007, look for a completely redesigned Volvo V70XC. The new car looks fantastic and has a more streamlined look with new features and worth a look and test drive. Enjoy your search and have fun driving.