Interesting on the mileage. Ours will have to be the Geartronic automanual. I gave up long ago trying to teach the wife how to drive a manual. Given my in-town commute and my lower back issues I really don't miss a manual anyway. The 2.4 just didn't seem enough with 168HP so it wasn't really a consideration (says the man with the 114HP, 3000 lb 240 wagon). The T5 with 227HP is much more appealing.
We're empty-nesters and I'm really leaning toward the V50, particularly the T5 between 2008-2011. While the R-Design would be nice it would have to be FWD. Where we live AWD really isn't necessary and I don't want the added complexity from a mechanical standpoint. It also gets better gas mileage than the V70 but prices in my area tend to be higher as well. There are also a lot more V70's to choose from. I've checked it dimensionally against our '99 Saab 9-3 SE 5-door and it's very close so I know we'd be comfortable in it. A V70, on the other hand, would be comparable to our '91 Volvo 240 wagon. It's nice to have 2 good choices knowing that I could easily live with either one.
With 3.7 million of these produced with few changes over the years I imagine there are quite a few body kits and accessories available. Too bad he didn't get to talk with the owner to find out if there were any engine mods to the 600cc 2-cylinder 2-stroke that was used from 1957-89. Some modifications, however, were more extreme than others...
It's not just Ford. My '99 Saab 9-3 SE has this feature as well. In addition, if your front wipers are on and you put the car into reverse the rear wiper automatically engages with an intermittent wipe. I'll blame GM for including the front feature and give kudos to Saab for the rear feature.