When Volvo first introduced the S60 in 2001, I was very impressed but considered such a car to be out of my reach. However, when the Ford Ranger started to show signs of impending doom, I started looking for something a little more roomy, comfortable and efficient. Luckily, I found an add special and got a great deal on a base model (whose standard features exceed my "loaded" Pontiac). So far it has been a very quiet, reliable, COMFORTABLE, and reasonably effecient car. If it would have had fog lights, it would be perfect. Obviously, I would like a turbo and AWD, but really couldn't afford it.
THE SEATS!!! It is the quietest and most comfortable car I have ever driven. Stearing wheel mounted controls, dual climate a/c, trip computer, power/remote everything, alloy wheels, ABS with EBD, and telescopic steering (all standard).
Power. I know you can't have it all w/o paying for it, but this car makes you choose. It will get up and go if you push it, but it can get very thirsty very quick. If you want mileage in the 29-30 range, then you have to make sure you have enough time to get where you are going