This is it. Lots of little things to learn and to do.
First, this is a 2006 Volvo V50 T5 FWD with 68,000 miles. I had given up on finding a manual. A day after I lost out on that barents blue automatic, Chris D. sent me a link to this manual-version for sale in Mendocino County (about three hours north of here). The seller was having no luck (other than spam) and was about to delete the ad on Craigslist and post in San Francisco Craigslist when I called. I lucked out because the car would have been gone. This car ended up being $3,000 less than the manual-version I lost on eBay that was for sale in Connecticut. Plus, the Connecticut model had 10,000 more miles.
The previous owners are a really nice couple with a small wool farm. They had to special order this car because no manuals were available at their closest Volvo dealership. The manual version was available for 2006, 2007, and 2010 model years only. My guesstimate, based on overall sales numbers in America, is that there are approximately 1,000 manual V50 wagons here.
Because they didn't have a truck, this wagon did all the heavy lifting on the farm. They took good care of it (I am going to go through the maintenance records later today) and the superficial blemishes really add to the car's character. The car runs strong and quiet. In fact, I foolishly drove through two counties on the way home in fourth gear, thinking that I was in sixth. D'oh!
Because this was a rural car, there are no signs that the car was parallel parked much. There is this one scuff mark.
The carpets look new because the previous owners used the rubber mats almost all the time. They transported their wool to a processor in Taos, New Mexico, in this car regularly. There are still bits of wool inside.
I am debating about whether to keep this cargo cover in the car. On the one hand, taking it off would give the dog more room. However, during the week, I would often have to leave my briefcase in the car and I don't want it exposed.
The interior is relatively clean, but there are quite a number of scuff marks, especially around the driver's area. And look, mtc and Alan, no wood trim!
The interior design is modern and sleek. The fit and finish is also above average. But the feel of the materials is average at best.
As I said, the car runs like a champ. Just a few miles from home yesterday, after driving three plus hours, the "LOW BRAKE FLUID" message briefly flashed on my dash. I checked the level and it wasn't too low. Nevertheless, I picked up a small bottle of DOT 4 fluid this morning and will top off the reservoir.
The engine compartment, by the way, is tiny and cramped. The hood itself is light as a feather.
Another issue is the groaning of the doors. I bought a bottle of white lithium grease today as well.
The "high performance" tires are Les Schwab brand Granadas (essentially generics). They are about 4,000 miles old and installed in Oregon. I suspect the owners had a flat during a road trip and just bought these at the closest tire shop because they were in stock. I'm probably going to keep them until the tread is gone.
The rims are in really good shape. I will have to find a wheel center cap for the driver's side rear wheel though. I can't stand to look at that void.
This is the only other flaw outside. That dent is from a dropped kayak. The car comes with a Thule rack.
Another blemish. The prior owner was carrying metal pipes and had to make an emergency stop. And, bam!
Compared to my TSX (NA 4-cylinder), the Volvo feels torquier and stronger. The TSX's shifter continues to be the most precise and smooth example I've ever experienced. The V50's transmission is from the S60R. The clutch pedal feel is hard to get used to.
The gauge cluster is a bit spartan. I was kind of hoping for a boost gauge to fulfill my secret desire to be a character in the Fast and the Furious.
I just had to park next to this S40 sedan this morning on the way to get coffee. Can you tell I'm paranoid about scraping my front bumper?