We purchased this car new, after our first child was born. I've loved driving this car with many children in the back (including the rear-facing seat), feeling safe and protected. The car always felt heavy, "mushed out" on tight curves, but that's the price I've was willing to pay for safety and comfort. The car has been very expensive to maintain: because we live on a hill, the car (which is heavy) requires new tires every two years, seat belt failures, light bulb failures, heating system failures -- all very expensive! The odometer stopped working a few years ago, and we just "blew" a valve (common for Turbos I'm told). I, unfortunately, will not buy a Volvo again because of this.
Safety, practicality, cargo room and, yes, looks! It never left me stranded.
The window & side-view mirror controls should be moved from the center console! Electrical system needs an overhaul. The dash should be built in such a way that getting behind it to replace a light bulb shouldn't cost $800 in labor!
While replacing the lights in the dash (or instrument cluster) is, indeed, more work than one would usually expect, it should cost nowhere near $800!
It is an hour or two of shop time at most, for an inexperienced tech doing it the very first time. Once you learn a few simple tricks the job can be done in 30 minutes, though you still want to disconnect the battery for safety (true for all SRS-equipped cars).
That is the worst part of owning a Volvo (or any foreign car, for that matter) - mechanics know people will believe them that the cars are super-hard to work on and that they can charge extra.
The saddest part is that there are actually very few cars easier to work on than the Volvo 850.