- Bodystyles: Wagon
- Engines: 2.4L I-5, 2.5L turbo I-5
- Transmissions: 5-speed manual, 6-speed manual, 5-speed automatic
- Models: 2.4i, T5 AWD R-Design
Standard equipment for the 2.4i now includes electronic climate control; options include a navigation system and satellite radio. Standard equipment for the T5 R-Design (a trim introduced last year) now includes a standard 6-speed manual transmission. Both T5's gain two-position, adjustable headrests, and are now available with Preferred Packages that gain a power glass moonroof, keyless ignition, and a power front passenger's seat. Meanwhile, the Climate Package gains a humidity sensor and an Interior Air Quality System.
Volvos are one of those rare brands where their wagon bodystyles often look better than their sedans. The V50 is no exception, despite its design's age. And to keep it young, last year, the T5 AWD received the attractive R-Design treatment, which included a matte silver grill surround, side skirts and front and rear spoilers.
The hallmark of Swedish design has always been a spare, geometric elegance, and the V50's cabin absolutely nails it. It's centerpiece? Obviously the dash panel's slim, waterfall 'center-stack' (and we're particularly taken by the 2.4i's optional Nordic Oak wood inlays). Indeed, the only real criticism here is a paucity of space, particularly for second row passengers.
Performance & Handling
Offering a 0-60 mph time of 8.5 seconds, the 168-hp 2.4i is a capable performer in normal traffic - but no more than that. If you're looking for a little sizzle, look to the T5 R-Design, which sprints to the same speed in an estimated 6.7 for the manual transmission, and 7.1 seconds for the automatic. Moreover, its sport suspension and all-wheel drive grip make it the better handler - particularly in inclement conditions.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS offer any test data specific to the V50, but data for the similar S40 sedan should provide at least some insight (NHTSA - five stars for all but driver frontal impact (4 stars); the Insurance Institute gives it a mix or 'good' and 'average' ratings). As with the S40, the V50 includes Volvo's standard Automatic Hazard Warning System and Tire Pressure Monitoring System, while Blind Spot detection is optional.
EPA Fuel Economy
- 2.4i: automatic transmission - 20 mpg city/31 mpg highway
- T5 AWD R-Design: manual transmission – 20 mpg city/26 mph highway, automatic transmission – 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway
- Extra cargo space in a modestly-sized car
- Delightfully Scandinavian interior design
- Easy maneuverability and parking ease
- Thoughtful safety features
- The T5's AWD grip and sports suspension
You Won't Like
- Modest rear-seat space
- The V50’s age renders it less competitive compared to its competition
- The 2.4i’s unremarkable acceleration
- The T5 R-Design’s questionable value proposition
Collapse full summary
Volvo's cheapest - and most compact - wagon