Last November we were driving back from my folks up north through a terrible snowstorm. It the second trip in a row in which there was a terrible snow storm. We were driving our Grand Am, and we did fine, but it was stressful, even more for my wife than myself.
A couple days later my wife said “What is ‘all wheel drive’, and what cars have it?”. I told her it’s like four wheel drive, and listed the cars I remembered that had it, including most Volvos. We discussed how our next car should probably have it. I have an old Bronco II with four wheel drive, and it’s practically unstoppable. I love it.
So, in early December, one Saturday evening my wife was snoozing through football and it occurred to me I should look around and see how much Volvos cost these days. I did a quick search on Google and found there aren’t many places in my town that sell them, but I found one dealership that sold used ones.
I did a search on their site for Volvos less than $20k and three came up. One was $19,999, and that was really too much. One was quite small, which ruled it out. That left an XC70 wagon. It was $13.5k, and after a little mafs I figured we might be able to afford that. Then I looked at the feature list.
I wasn’t looking for a luxury car by any means. I wanted something burly. But this car seems to have just about everything. Here are some favorite items:
- All wheel drive
- Traction control. This is enabled with a little button near the gear stick.
- Heated seats
- Self tinting rear mirror. It has light sensors, and when there are headlights shining at it from behind, it darkens.
- The optional “dog grate”. it’s a big metal grate that can swing down from the ceiling to keep dogs (or IKEA boxes) in the back.
- Water sensing wipers. When on “intermittent”, the wipers aren’t timed, they sense water on the windshield and wipe when they need to. The range on the control stick doesn’t control time, it controls sensitivity of the water sensor.
- My kids love the rear seat reading lights, so they can read at night on road trips.
- Per-side climate control. So my wife can have the heat on full blast all the time, and I don’t get too warm.
- Power sun roof with interior moon roof. So we can have it completely closed off, or just have light come through, or open it right up.
- Mirror heaters. When you turn on the rear window heater (the little lines all cars have these days) it also turns on heaters in the side mirrors to get snow and ice off.
- It’s silver, my wife’s favorite car color.
There are literally dozens of other cool little quirky things this car does. I called my Dad and Father-in-law to get opinions, and they both said what I assumed they’d say “Volvo’s are tough, it should be fine.” It had 100,000 miles on it, but Volvos have a million mile club for a reason. My FIL suggested offering a lot less money in cash, and then getting a loan from my own bank.
The long and short of it is that we got it for 11.5, even though the sticker on the window said 14.5. Car dealers feel the pinch these days too it would seem.
We named our new car Sherman, because Volvos are tanks. This one has a 5 cylinder inline turbocharged engine though. It has plenty of giddyup.
We still needed to get rid of Speedy though. Speedy was our Grand Am. As it turned out, my wife’s cousin needed a car, and ours fit their need. They could afford to pay what we owed on it, so we got out from under it pretty easily. Helping them out felt as good as getting a new car for ourselves.
All in all, God’s hand was really obvious. Things came together far too easily to be random chance. It was really cool.