Overall this is a terrific car. Having had only Volvo wagons since 1980, I have to say that this 2011 seems more solid and heavy (in a good way) than any of my previous models or later models I have driven as loaners. Generally reliability has been very good--with three exceptions: At 85,000 miles, the engine started to use a lot of oil. Volvo examined it and replaced the entire engine. They told me that it was a bad batch of piston rings that was responsible, so this wasn't really a "bad" feature of the car. Volvo has never been able to properly balance the wheels, so I have learned to live with a very slight steering wheel vibration at around 60 mph. They said the rims were distorted and sent them for repair; but that didn't help. Tire Rack replaced all 4 tires TWICE, with no improvement. The design of the rims is such that mud stays put and makes the balance problem markedly worse. I have never been totally happy with the brakes. They are very good at stopping the car fast, but when applied with "medium", like approaching a ramp off a highway, they pulsate. I've had the rotors replaced free twice, but to no advantage; so I've learned to live with it. There is a really stupid feature of the software: when the fog lights are on, they go out when high beams are selected, but don't come back on when you return to low beams. Interestingly, the second identical model I just purchased doesn't do this! Finally, I am singularly unimpressed with the headlights, specially the high beams. I've replaced the low-beam bulbs with high intensity "silver tip" bulbs, but see hardly any difference. There are no high intensity replacements for the high-beam bulbs, so when I drive at night, I envy the bright headlights of much cheaper cars.
Comparing to 2002 V70XC I traded in for it, it's a mixed bag. Interior feels much more luxurious and refined; also appears somewhat roomier. Exterior design mostly improved on the previous generation, except for those silvery things around fog lights. Actually on mine - painted Electric Silver - they look OK, but on darker cars they're outright out of place. The engine - 3.2 inline 6 - is nominally more powerful than the T5 on previous generation, but feels not as peppy as the older one. Gas mileage is not as good, too. The transmission feels more smooth-shifting and refined. The suspension is tuned more towards ride comfort rather than spirited driving style.
Everything except the engine.
BLIS actually already saved me from quite a few angry honks and finger salutes.
A fine car. Comfy, functional, powerful, attractive, high quality, safe, and nearly a bargain compared with other "wagons". It replaced my wife's 1996 850 wagon- which I never liked-- and we bought it with European delivery for about $40k (with climate, convenience, incl taxes and license). We put about 3k mi on it in Europe and averaged, according to the display, 24.4 mi/gal. (But $140 fill ups are very painful). The mpg was a pleasant surprise considering the EPA rating (22 mpg hwy) and some of the reviews. Effortless cruising at 200 kph on the Autobahn. Overall, almost as impressive as my BMW 335i E92 but they're much different beasts.