Here is my catalogue of woe:
Handbrake seems to seize if it is sitting still for too long.
The bonnet catch and cable broke.
The clutch master cylinder had a leak, this cost me £130 alone (with labour).
It's not that funny when you see how small the cylinder is. I tried two garages, as the first one had trouble working out what was wrong.
More recently the rear caliper started leaking brake fluid (£111 with labour).
The plastic thermostat housing also broke (£94 with labour), causing oil and water to mix (although apparently less serious than a head gasket failure).
Some of my brake pipes needed replacing.
It was difficult to engage fifth gear when I bought it - I would end up in third instead. More recently I have been having problems with first and second. Reverse gear always crunches. Hmm I think the gearbox is dying...
On the positive side, the engine is running very well considering the age, although 5000 mile oil and oil filter change is definitely recommended!
There is no significant rust that I have noticed.
The TD model uses the Renault dCi engine (found in the new diesel Clios, for example) which is a common-rail design and therefore quite noisy despite Volvo's best efforts with a blanket under the bonnet.
You can have some real fun with the turbo once you have got used to its behavour. It is quite reluctant to pull up until around 1800rpm, but from 2200rpm onwards you are faced with a "wall of torque" which might catch you by surprise! However it is not a high-revving engine and the limiter cuts in around 4000rpm.
The gearbox has long ratios, and around town this conspires against you with the reluctance at low revs, so you will find little reason to use 4th or 5th gear below 35mph. But on the motorway you can cruise at 70mph with only 2500rpm, and it is pleasantly effortless compared to a Vauxhall Corsa I drove recently. Indeed, restraint is required as the V40 will cruise at 95mph without fuss, and stays cool thanks to its efficient intercooler. You will certainly have some fun going uphill: just a little extra pressure on the gas and you can "waft" past everyone as Jaguar drivers love to do.
The driver's seat can be tilted at the base and also has adjustable lumbar support. Together with the quite heavy accelerator pedal, this makes it excellent for long journeys - I covered 420 miles in one day without any discomfort.
Fuel economy of 42mpg is very good compared to an equivalently powerful petrol engine, although it can't match some more modern diesels. I get a typical range of 530 miles from the 65 litre tank.
Load capacity is not that big; it is a narrow car and has a low roof, and the wheelarches intrude into the boot space.
I will miss this car, but it has been a very expensive 7 months...