I love my wagon. Easiest car to work on. Plain and simple. I've driven it 300K miles and its still going strong. Yes, its not the fastest car on the road, but how many Ferraris have enough miles to encircle the earth over 15 times? None. How many Porsche's have 375K mile and are roomy enough to go camping in? none. For some one who wants a reliable car that has utilitarian attitude, the Volvo 240 wagon is THE car.
TIGHT turning radius; tight enough to turn around on a residential street without backing up. Reliability that is legendary. Easiest car I have ever worked on. Would be a great first car. Very comfortable.
Honestly the only things I would improve are technical things about the engine.(camshaft, belt driven fan, etc.) but those are easily changed. Same with the suspension. Volvo designed it to be comfortable, not sporty. Can be made sporty easily. Look for rust when buying on the east coast. Thanks Tom