Found a 1998 v70xc last year (2010) at a used car dealership with a 104,000 miles on it. The dealer had all the maintenance records, which showed a trip to the dealership every 5,000 miles. The interior and exterior looked brand new--the back seat looked like it had never been ridden in. Obviously garaged and pampered by the prior owner. I had to fix a broken motor mount, and the rear hatch struts were weak, which I replaced. About $450 for both. It now has a 121,000 miles on it and has been trouble-free. My independent Volvo mechanic is jealous. He says the 1998 and earlier volvos are tougher than the current ones. Finding a good independent volvo mechanic will save you lots of money.
comfort, reliability, safety, lots of cargo space, 1998 VC AWD good in snow as is the 1999 VC AWD-- after 1999, and before the Haldex II AWD, Volvo lowered the pretensioning on the VC AWD, so the AWD is is not as good until the 2003 xc70. Because of the high pretensioning, be sure you rotate your tires on schedule, without compromise, or you'll damage the AWD on the 1998 and 1999 xc's.
Repairs can be expensive unless you fing a good independent volvo mechanic, or you're a good do-it-yourselfer.