My mom owns a 1993 Volvo 240 Classic, and it's one of the biggest pieces of automotive doodoo I have ever driven.
For starters, let me just say I think the design is absolutely superb, especially on the wagon, which is what my mom has. There's a very graceful, slight curve running outward and then back inward from headlight to taillight— a sort of swelling that reminds me of a boat. The chrome strip on the side serves to accentuate it. The hood is nice and long, and the back of the car is very neatly designed, with the gentle curves being mirrored in the shape of the rear windscreen and the shape of the fifth door.
That's where anything nice I have to say about this car ends. I think this could be because the car I have experience with is probably a bit of a lemon— it's in the mechanic's every couple of weeks for problems as varied as transmission, engine, suspension, and electronics. It is one of the least reliable cars I've ever known, and it hasn't even got 200,000 miles on the clock.
Furthermore, the drivetrain is just abysmal. This is probably exacerbated by the automatic transmission, but the engine isso wheezy, and the gearbox is so stupid, that driving it up any kind of hill is hugely frustrating. I can say, hand to heart, that I have never once floored the accelerator in this car for fear of blowing up the engine. It gets this horrible vibration above 60-65 mph that makes keeping up on a highway (let alone merging) a highly dangerous activity, and one best done while having your last rites read to you.
The interior is actually not so bad. The steering wheel is loosely connected by a series of dandelion stems to the front wheels, but it's nice and big and thin-rimmed, so it makes it somewhat relaxing to drive. The seats are big and comfy, and while there is a bunch of wind/road noise, and the car doesn't deal so well with bumps, you just have to go a little slower and turn up Waylon Jennings on the stereo. The car really comes into its own in the particular situation of going 3o-40 mph on a smooth country road— but in no others.
I, quite frankly, couldn't care less if it's upfront and honest about being a steaming pile of shit, it's Volvo's own goddamn fault that they built the same car for 40 years, basically unchanged. Burn it with fire.