Overview & Reviews
In Volvo nomenclature, "V" stands for "versatile." Versatility is great, but as the departed V40 wagon proved, it says nothing about excitement -- not when the other elements in the mix are drab sheet metal and mediocre performance. The Volvo V50 was conceived to replace this less-than-memorable small wagon, and it improves on the formula by offering more style and the opportunity for greater performance.
The compact V50 has been dubbed a "sport wagon" by Volvo. With its bulging fenders and grooved hood, this Volvo looks, dare we say, ripped. And it lives up to the "sport" part through its sharp handling and sprightly acceleration -- as long as you opt for the turbocharged engine, that is. With that turbo under its hood, the Volvo V50 feels nimble and brisk. Alas, the V50's normally aspirated base engine is far less impressive.
Still, with either power plant, this upscale small wagon is enjoyable on the inside, offering a design that's as ergonomically correct as it is distinctive. There are also plenty of safety features, with a lineup that includes side-impact and head curtain airbags, active head restraints and optional built-in booster seats for children. Combine all this with the utility offered by the available all-wheel drive, and Volvo's V50 distinguishes itself as providing plenty of "V" without being boring to drive or own.
Current Volvo V50
The Volvo V50 compact sport wagon shares its basic platform with the S40 sedan and C30 hatchback. V50 buyers have their choice of two trim levels -- base T5 and sportier T5 R-Design. Both V50s boast a turbocharged inline five-cylinder engine that sends a healthy 227 horsepower to the front wheels through a five-speed automatic with manual-shift capability.
The T5's standard equipment includes alloy wheels, a power driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth, a six-CD changer and an iPod interface. The T5 R-Design adds sporty exterior and interior styling cues, a sport-tuned suspension, a power sunroof, heated front seats and partial leather upholstery. The options list includes active bi-xenon headlights, a navigation system, heated seats and a blind-spot warning system.
Volvo's Scandinavian roots are elegantly reflected in the V50's cabin. The feel is open and clean, highlighted by an unusually thin center stack. In true Scandinavian fashion, function goes hand in hand with form -- for the most part. A 60/40 split-folding rear seat helps the car easily digest oversize items; cargo capacity is competitive with that of others in this class, and controls are easily navigable. Materials quality is also quite good. The one negative here is that the wagon's minimalist aesthetic also results in a minimal number of storage areas within its cabin.
Used Volvo V50 Models
The Volvo V50 debuted for the 2005 model year, and there have been just a few changes along the way. Initially, it was available in base 2.4i (168 hp) and turbocharged T5 (218 hp) trims. Both were front-wheel drive, with the T5 also available with all-wheel drive. The T5's power output was boosted to 227 hp for 2008. A six-speed manual transmission for the T5 was sporadically available, depending on model year and drive configuration.
Other changes include standard stability control on all V50s for 2007, and upgraded audio components and the optional blind-spot monitor for '08. Also, prior to 2009, V50s had considerably less standard equipment and commensurately lower base prices. For 2011, the base 2.4i was dropped, as were the availability of a manual transmission and all-wheel drive.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 153.00
133,000 and 6 years and running very well - 2005 Volvo V50
By jsrobinow - November 21 - 3:51 am
I bought this car used via E bay from a private seller. It has had only three odd failures that were easily fixed. One rear hub sheared off three bolts and was replaced. Cause was never determined. Fuel pump module and oil trap failed and were replaced. Other service has been routine. It handles well, accelerates well and gets 25 to 28 mpg day in and day out. With snow tires used in the winter with four wheel drive and six speed manual trans it is an amazing winter car. I go places that the SUV crowd can't go because they use "all-season" tires which in fact are really "no-season" tires. Great car overall, fun stylish and versatile.
beyond expectations - 2005 Volvo V50
By JP - October 25 - 4:00 pm
Volvo was not a contender in our original search for a station wagon. After much research we settled on the A4 wagon, then we went to the SF car show. A fantastic vehicle that trumps BMW and Audi on all the features that mattered to us; interior space, horsepower (torque lbs), and styling. Our only hesitation was that it was the first year model, but the $10k we saved convinced us to take the plunge.
Wow! - 2005 Volvo V50
By George - October 13 - 9:40 pm
I don't think I could say too many good things about this car. My wife and I got the V50 to replace our old Jetta, which was turned into a dump truck during our home rehab. We have a very active lifestyle and wanted room for sailing, kayaking & backpacking as well as our future child & dog. The back accomidates all our stuff while being small enought to park in the city. We also wanted something eco friendly with good fuel econemy etc. The V50 is perfect.
Greatest Car on the Market! - 2005 Volvo V50
By Ann Warner - October 7 - 3:36 pm
This is the best wagon on the market! It has all the cargo space that my old SUV did, plus it has safety features found only in Volvo & BMW (whiplash protection seats). Also, the stereo is phenomenal and it drives like a dream and is easy to park.
Glad I bought IT - 2005 Volvo V50
By DRinNH - October 5 - 4:56 pm
Excellent performance and features easily used after careful review of manual. Great for family of four, while four adults will not be comfortable for long. The turbo gives this vehicle great pickup and transmission is smooth. My family all love it.
A Luxury Overbuilt Mazda 3 - 2005 Volvo V50
By JSapp - September 23 - 10:00 am
It has the most solid feel of all the wagons in its price range with amzingly rigid chassis. Very good sound insulation and a fairly relaxed highway cruiser. 2.4 CYl 5 has adequate power and has a feel of a small straight 6 with a pleasant growl. 5sp is light but a bit vauge. Optional Sport package is an improvement over the soft but competent base suspension but still not overly sporty with definte understeer detracting from high levels of grip. Seats are typically comfortable Volvo. Materials are of high quality. Seating has adequate room and caro room is good for a small wagon. Saftey features best in class.
Volvo V50 AWD 2008 - 2008 Volvo V50
By James - September 20 - 6:13 pm
I wanted a hatchback with AWD but the choices were limited. This was a good alternative and I am not disappointed. This car is well built, fun to drive, and not an SUV. The handling is better than expected. The only thing lacking is better MPG.
Great Combo! - 2005 Volvo V50
By skier - September 17 - 5:56 am
I loved the looks. The combo of turbo performance & mpg are great. The awd is good for handling & good traction in snow. I like the utility of a wagon. I get up to 31 mpg on the highway & 24 mpg around town. The passing power & smooth torque is what is so fun! My T5 has been very reliable.
Great Little Wagon - 2006 Volvo V50
By jjholmgr - September 14 - 5:36 pm
Worth a look if you need a flexible vehicle for a small family. Power is solid even with auto although doesn't "feel" as quick as I expected. Seats are super comfortable. New cloth/suede material is very nice and seems to be more durable than old Volvo cloth/vinyl interiors. Gas tank is a little small compared to other Volvos but we average 27 mpg in mixed driving, best was 30. We already have snow on the ground and the DTSC keeps it sure footed even without AWD--I'm not convinced it is worth the extra plus you loss mpg.
very family friendly - 2009 Volvo V50
By Kid friendly - August 23 - 3:50 am
I sold my Jeep for a reason of too much as thirsty and bought this V50. Awesome quality! Although it does not have the power and torque feel like the Jeep, it suits the purpose of "utility". I would not complain about the road noise like other reviewers, because it's MUCH less compared to the Jeep. The seats fold flat, even the passenger seat folds down. I carry my 2 kids, plus their bicycles, balls, toys in the back cargo space, and still have space to spare. The car drives smoothly; the audio system is good. It's just perfect for a small family. My only problem is the gas mileage. I have not reached the 31 mpg as the manufacture stated. I averaged about 25-26 mpg in mixed driving.