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I bought the Volvo V50 S (2L diesel) as a replacement for a Ford Focus 1.6 Petrol. The difference is immediately noticeable, with the step up in both size and power providing a feeling that you're buying a true cruiser.
The ride is comfortable, with bumps in the road being absorbed nicely and the seating being some of the most comfortable I've used. Adding to this, the amount of flexibility means that the most awkward body shapes will be able to find a comfortable (and safe) driving position. With automatic climate control, a roomy cabin and smooth engine, journeys are comfortable and pleasant.
This isn't to say that the car is lukewarm on performance. While it lacks the close feeling of a smaller, simpler, vehicle, the 2L diesel has a serious kick, and cornering is handled wonderfully. However, the car truly excels at cruising. The aforementioned comfortable cabin and 6-speed transmission means that the miles just melt away, and with decent economy one can't go far wrong with a V50 if you need to get some mileage under your belt.
Perhaps the most notable point is the immense practicality of the car. For a compact estate the boot space is generous, particularly when compared with some of its rivals, and there are a host of little touches that really add to the car, ranging from a rollaway parcel shelf and cargo safety net, to every crevice being taken up by smart little storage solutions.
I struggle to find a downside with this car - indeed the biggest for me is the sheer roominess can make it feel a bit bigger than it actually is. This leads to some very tentative maneuvering initially, but just takes a little getting used to. The only other downsides are hardly worth mentioning - the permanently on headlights can seem a bit odd at first and it can be easy to accidently engage the rear wiper, but really these should have no real influence on your decision to buy.
Overall, this is an economical diesel that feels premium. With a host of nice touches, it's a car that allows you to cover the miles without even noticing. But get it on country roads, and it still feels sporty, with a smooth responsive engine. You don't feel quite as connected as with a smaller petrol hatchback, but that's more than made up for by the comfort as you hit those little bumps in the road.
Add to that looks that refine the traditional Volvo 'boxy' shape, and solid reliability, this becomes a top choice for a compact estate.
I bought a 2010 (10) Volvo V50 D2 DRIVe SE Lux (114hp) in February to replace my aging V40 that had finally given up after covering more than 200, 000 miles. This is now my third Volvo and is the only manufacturer that I considered due to the reliability of the previous 2 cars.
It has a very spacious feel to it, despite it being a small estate car and has plenty of room for the dog crate in the boot (oh, and the children in the back!). The drivers seat is comfortable and the interior looks great, with black leather seats and a brushed metal centre console.
I selected the model based on the very impressive MPG that the manufacturer quotes. I have found that I don't get anything like the MPG stated, even though I change gear every time it tells me to! However, I get over 45MPG doing my daily drive to and from work and over 50 if I travel a longer distance. When travelling up and down the A1 it has a range of nearly 600 miles which is pretty impressive. It tends to be around 450 miles going to and from work. This has resulted in my fuel bills halving compared to my older V40.
It has an audio in port so that I can plug my iphone into the radio and listen to my music & the navigation App, which I have found very useful. It would have been nice to have my phone fully integrated though. I also miss the heated seats that I had in my old version but unfortunately I couldn't find an example with them fitted when I purchased mine.
It has actually let me down a couple of times in the past month or so. When the fuel level is low the fuel stops getting through to the engine and it just stops. I believe that this may be due to me letting it run out of fuel though so I won't condemn the car until I have had it checked out! When I keep the tank more than half full I don't have a problem. (Obviously this is not a long term solution but I haven't had time to take it in to the garage as yet)
Overall, I would definitely buy another one (although I will look harder for the heated seats next time!). It is a comfortable and usually reliable car which is perfect if you want something that is not too flashy!
I have owned the volvo v50 2.0S diesel for two years now and can happily say it's a great all rounder. I remember the day we went to look at it and we instantly knew we liked it. Like many men and women of course my fiancé did a lot of research on the internet about the car before we went to view it. In many reviews it was said to be similar size and performance to the BMW 3 series and the Audi A4 just as it was a Volvo it didn't have the same price tag. It is not only a practical family car but it has the power and style too.
The exterior of the car looks extremely smart and doesn't look out of place with some the big names. Two years after buying it and seven years since it was rolled off the forecourt it still looks stylish and doesn't looked to have aged. They have changed very little with the V50 style since it was first produced. The lights on the back have changed ever so slightly in the new plate car but I can't see it being anything that would put you off this car. The rear of the car curves nicely down at the back. Although this look does slightly compromise the amount of space in the back. This is something a lot of modern cars have given up instead of the square back of the old style estates they have curved it giving you slightly less height in the boot.
The interior follows the style of the exterior Inside the car is fitted with a floating panel which holds the cd player and all the controls for the car. I am not really a techno person and often found when changing car a little difficult to get to terms with the controls in the centre. But with this car I found I got the hang of them quite quickly. The whole interior certainly has a minimal feel to it.
As I have mentioned our model is the S model so doesn't have everything but we are lucky to have the winter package which comes with heated seat, heated wing mirrors all of which are controlled by the central panel. I especially found the heated seat a dream when I was pregnant with my youngest and suffered with backache.
As you would expect with an estate car there is plenty of room inside the car. My fiancé is six foot three and he finds it very comfortable for him. Not only does the seat move backwards and forwards, up and down the steering wheel also moves up or down and pushed in or pulled out. This is perfect for us as a couple as I am only five foot three! There doesn't seem to be any part that Volvo hasn't thought off. There is even a little parking ticket holder in the bottom right hand corner of the windscreen so you don't have to stick them to your glass.
There are certainly a few things that I had to get used to with the Volvo. The first thing is the funky yet strange key fob which I do find a little bulky if you have it in your pocket. Second is the ignition that isn't on the steering column but on the dash board to the left hand side of the steering wheel. Another thing that took a while to get used to was the handbrake that it nearer to the passenger seat, this can be a little tight if the passenger is on the very large size.
As most estate cars are bought for families in mind I would like to note that you can easily fit two car seats in the rear of the car and still squeeze a small adult in the middle. This was an extremely important factor when we bought the car. Unfortunately you can't fit three car seats in the back, a shame.
The boot itself isn't large but has enough room to fit in what an average family would need. We have a Phil and Ted Dash with a doubles kit that fits in with ease with the usual coats and bags too, still allow us to pull the cover over to keep it all out of view.
As I have mentioned I am not the greatest at all the technology stuff so please don't hold me on it. I do drive the car most days so I do know what it is like to drive and I would say it is a very smooth ride. The one thing my fiancé was concerned about when getting a bigger car for our family was losing the power a car can give. This is something this car doesn't lose there is certainly enough power behind this car. Its top speed is 130mph, going from 0 to 60 in 9.6 seconds and has an engine power of 136bhp.
My sister lives 270 miles away so we have had it on the motorways a fair few times. On the motorway it drives and handles well at speed. It feels extremely safe to be in when driving in. As for one of the most important factors in a car these days the fuel consumption is good. It is a diesel so we have found it does do a lot more miles per gallon then our old petrol car. We have found it especially does well on trips to my sisters on the motorway. The fuel tank holds 52 litres.
Overall it is a wonderful car that easily competes with the big names but at a more reasonable price. Two years ago we bought this Volvo V50 2.0S diesel 04 plate for £4500 through an independent dealer we felt we got a great deal. We have been extremely pleased with the car and it has got through its two MOTs with flying colours. It has had a little bit of work done on it in the two years we have had it but doesn't any car.
I have recently purchased a Volvo V50 1.8 S petrol. It has to be said that in years gone by a Volvo and particularly a Volvo estate was seen as a 'tank of a car.' However in recent years this image has changed somewhat and having now purchased my V50 I can see why. The V50 is the smaller brother of the V70 and is similar in styling to the BMW 3 series estate with nice sweeping lines as opposed to square boxy ones.
The 1.8 petrol engine is smooth, quiet and offers plenty of power as does the gearbox.
The interior is nicely laid out and easy to use unlike some of the german cars in this category. Sitting in the car you notice the feeling of safety and security as you would expect in a Volvo and the switches and dials feel solid and well made. The boot space is not huge but has enough room for normal use.
All in all the Volvo V50 looks and feels like a quality product which is very good value for money when compared to similar vehicles in its class.
Although I don't own a Volvo V50 my father does and I drive it on a regular bases so have now driven it in most circumstances so can give a good all round picture of the car.
Most of this review is based upon the Volvo V50 SE 1.6D which is a 2008 diesel model. I will however mention a bit more about the rest of the range to make it as comprehensive as I can.
Firstly, for those who don't know the V50 is Volvo's smallest estate. When you think of a Volvo estate you think of the giant wardrobes on wheels that Volvo has built in the past but nowadays they make some of the best looking cars around. The V50 is no exception. It is about the same size as a Ford Focus Estate or VW Golf Estate, so not massively spacious but easily comfortable for four decent sized adults and five at a push, which we found out last time I used it. The boot is a decent size but not massive. Easily capable of swallowing up plenty of luggage or a couple of Labradors which is where the standard dog guard becomes very useful which comes on all models.
Now as with most cars these days, there are lots of models starting with the basic 'S' model which actually comes with a lot of standard kit including Alloy Wheels, Climate Control, Computer, CD Player with Aux input, Traction and Stability control and an array of airbags to protect you and your passengers.
The 'SE' model adds bigger 17" alloy wheels as opposed to the 16" 'S' models, front fog lights, nicer trim, Cruise Control and steering controls for the stereo.
The 'SE Lux' adds electric door mirrors and seats which are also leather.
Next in line is the 'R-Design Sport' and 'R-Design Sport SE' which are spec'd similarly to the 'SE' and 'SE Lux' respectively but also have a sportier look and design for those who want to drive more eagerly.
As with a lot of premium cars these days there are many options you can add to your car if you so wish but all models are equipped generously.
There are a number of engines also available to cater for every ones tastes and budget and in these credit crunch times I will start with the Diesels. There is a choice of 3 diesel engines starting with the 1.6D which has 109ps (PS being a similar value to BHP). Next up is a 2.0D with 139ps and top of the range is a 180ps D5 model for those wanting speed and fuel economy. Petrol wise, they start with a 1.6 100ps model, a 1.8 125ps and then a 2.0 145ps model. Finally a range topping T5 model is available punching out 230ps which will see you get to 60 mph in just over 6 seconds should you have the need for speed.
I have only driven the 1.6D so will speak about that. So far, I can't see much of a need for the 2.0D because the 1.6D is an excellent all rounder. It's no speed machine but will see 60mph in 11.5 seconds and go onto 118mph should you need to escape a tsunami or something equally urgent. But as with all diesels, the torque of a diesel engine makes it feel like a much more powerful car. You don't have to work the engine hard to make good progress and overtaking is relatively effortless. Even with the car 5 up, little difference can be felt in performance. It really is an excellent all rounder. It is also extremely quite in the car until you get to around 3500rpm when it becomes a bit rattly but keep it under that which you never need to go over really and all is well and it will quickly pull you, your family and luggage up to motorway speeds. Best of all is the fuel economy. My father's general fuel economy has so far been around the low 40's for local town driving and around 55mpg on a recent motorway trip doing fast motorway speeds, which for a decent sized car is very good for your wallet and the environment.
As for how the car is to drive, it is a typical Volvo. I have driven an S80 and V70 T5 in the past and they are all very similar. They are very smooth and quiet and comfortable on a long run and hold their own in the corners. Anyone looking for a sporty drive will be a little disappointed but anyone else will not as it handles very well with little body roll and has very supportive seats that hold you well even if you're 6'4" and 18 Stone like myself. It's a very safe drive which is what Volvo is all about after all.
Inside the car things are very stylish and look like they belong in a much more expensive car. There are neoprene feeling seats and a lovely soft steering wheel which makes me want the car on its own! Although not particularly exciting to look at the interior is well finished in good quality materials and even has a floating centre console which means you can put your CD's etc behind it out of the way. A very nice touch! There are plenty of cup holders and nice arm rest with two storage compartments and your auxiliary port built in. There is also a centre armrest in the back of the car providing know one is sitting in the middle. If there is you will have to use them to rest your arms on I'm afraid! All of the controls are extremely well laid out from the radio and cruise controls on the steering wheel to the climate controls on the console which allow you to heat driver and passenger separately to get rid of those nasty hot/cold arguments we all have. The stereo itself is very good. It won't win any awards but there are plenty of good quality speakers providing you with a decent sound. Real music lovers may however, want to upgrade to one of the two high performance stereo options available on the V50.
The boot as mentioned before comes as standard with a removable dog guard and is easily big enough for 3 or 4 medium sized suitcases, though for a bit family trip you may struggle without a roof box. There is a blind style, retractable parcel shelf which reels back to give you space to place your shopping deep within the boot and the seats also fold down should you need some extra space for that trip to the tip on a Sunday morning.
Now how much is this car going to cost you? Well there are used examples around from 5or6k upwards but even new this car is available in basic 'S' trim with the 1.6 Petrol engine for around £15995. As I said earlier, my father has the 1.6D SE with metallic paint and the optional Spartacus Alloy Wheels which are a no cost option and nicer than the standard wheels so I would recommend them! His car came in at around the £20k mark and you can get the various models at prices around these up to the top of the range T5 model which comes in at a not too cheap £25k. But be very careful of adding too many options to any of the models because you could end up adding thousands very easily and making what is a pretty good value car an extremely overpriced one!
Whichever you buy you are getting a premium quality family car for very little premium in price over mainstream rivals such as the Focus and Golf, which looks good and drives very well and most of all makes you feel important whilst keeping your family safe and secure on your journey. To make it even better value Volvo are currently offering 3 years free servicing to help you on your way.
There is very little I have against this car, but there are a couple of things I would like to mention which should be looked out for. Firstly, it has developed a couple of small rattles and squeaks around the dash. It's not a major problem, but is irritating when you are in a new car and also the wipers at the front seem to leave the windscreen quite smeared and no amount of washing and wiping even by hand will clear it. I'm sure a quick visit to the dealer would rectify this but a little disappointing on an otherwise excellent car.
I would recommend this car to anyone, and would love one myself. Just which one should you choose?
Any of you who have read my previous car reviews will know that I am something of a Volvo enthusiast. Indeed, in a recent S60 T5 review, I described Mrs Richada and I, as frustrated "non S60 D5" owners!
The larger Volvo's, S60, S80 and V70 are without doubt near or at the top of their respective classes, indeed Mrs Richada says that the ONLY estate car she would be seen in is a V70. At the "bottom" of the range are to be found family sized (slightly larger than Ford Focus) saloon and estate models, the new, in 2004 at least, S40 and V50 models.
For those of you who are non Volvo aficionados, maybe a quick explanation of Volvo's seemingly odd, but in fact quite logical (in Sweden at least!) model nomenclature. S, quite naturally stands for saloon, or if you are reading this in America - sedan! V is maybe a little more obscure, in Volvo speak it represents "Versatile", a new spin on the famous Volvo estates of old.
Just to make things a little more puzzling, rather than having a V40 and an S40 (as was the case with the old models here) the V40 is a small to medium size four door saloon, whilst the V50 is the same car with an estate rear end. In terms of engine choice and trim levels the two cars run parallel - the estate being approximately £1000 more expensive model for model.
The range starts at £17955 for a V50 1.8 S and finishes with the subject of this review - the V50 T5 SE Sport, retailing at a not inconsiderable £26820.
The old S40 and V40 models were always above the norm in terms of style and particularly internal space. However under the skin they were identical to, and built alongside, the lack lustre Mitsubishi Carisma, not really a proper Volvo then. As with the Carisma (which never improved much), when launched the V40's were inadequate dynamically, Volvo remedied that a couple of years later with the almost identical looking "mark 2" version which had class best rivalling ride and handling qualities.
For the new V40 and V50 Volvo knew, dynamically at least that they were on to a sure thing! How? Well since the original V40 was developed Volvo had come into the money - lots of it! Not only did Ford's take over of Volvo plough Detroit $ millions into the Volvo development coffers, it also handed them on a plate a rather good building block - the Ford Focus!
Volvo hit doubly lucky as although the first Focus was right first time, the chassis on which the V40 & V50 are based is the newer and larger mark 2 Focus, launched some months after the Volvo. Focus has two big advantages over Carisma, firstly in any version it is superb to drive and secondly it has a remarkably spacious interior. I have yet to write my first Focus review, but fear not it will appear on a screen near you very soon!
Oh this should be good! Here am I a Volvo enthusiast and a great admirer of the Ford Focus, this new range of Volvos should just about prove my ideal set of wheels then .
.Here Mrs Richada and I are at our favourite day out; Company Car in Action at the superb Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire. You may just have seen this place on "Top Gear". We are not here to see how fast any of the cars will go, there is a 100mph maximum speed limit on the circular track for non-professional drivers anyway. This is however the ideal place at which to assess a large number of cars on a huge diversity of road surfaces, corners and severe gradients that you would have to drive many thousands of miles to find under ordinary, every day, driving conditions.
It was fairly late on in the day when we took out the Volvo V50 T5 to try, having already driven their XC90 and S60 models, both of which I have already reviewed - very favourably!
In June 2004 the, then, brand new S40 and V50 took up most of the stand space at Volvo, hence only one S60 and S80 being on display. As this was another model being launched to fleets here, it seemed a shame not to take the opportunity of trying it. In terms of cost, if not size, it is fairly closely comparable to my company owned Honda Accord, at least that is what I thought until we walked up to the V50, key in hand!
After a very enjoyable drive in the most powerful S60 saloon model, faced with a vast choice of S40 and V50 models to try, the most sensible thing to do was to choose the most powerful of either available.
'Our' car turned out to be a pale metallic green V50 (Estate) T5 Sport. The hardest thing to come to terms in relation to this car is its' size, rather the sheer lack of it. This is a very small car, both inside and out. Do not get me wrong, when we chose our cars we are not looking for the most metal for the money, I am all for the quality rather than quantity school of thought but really .
..The £26,800 price ticket - plus this car carried well over £2500 worth of optional extras on top of its standard price - took some swallowing, bearing in mind that it is no bigger than a Golf and certainly not as spacious as the Estate version of the outgoing model. This car that we were about to sit down in was dangerously close to £30,000 on the road - well above my company car budget, that is for sure!
Joking apart, £30,000 buys you a lot of car even in 2006, on the face of it at least this is not a lot of car.
Running costs will fall into line with Volvo's pricing rather than the size of the car too. Insurance, as you would expect in a car as quick as this one, is group 15 (there are 20 in all). Fuel consumption is not exactly light either, budget on around 27mpg overall.
It had better be pretty damned special to drive then!
Of course styling is a very personal thing. People still generally associate Volvo's with the brick like estates that they used to be so good at. As with a company like Skoda it takes many, many years to shake off an ingrained image. Volvo is a marque that you now have to open fresh eyes to. Go to your nearest dealer and have a look at their cars on display, you may well be in for a big (small in this case!) surprise.
Personally, and unusually, Mrs R. shares my view on this, I think that Volvo are now selling some of the best looking cars on the road today. The whole range hits exactly the right note: slightly sporty, definitely professional, yet still with a good solid "safe" image too. Yes we like the look of these new Volvos, no doubt about that. They also happen to come in some very fetching colours, something that not all manufacturers seem to offer these days - a decent colour choice.
On opening the door of the V50 (or an S40 of course), you find yourself looking at a genuinely unique interior. What makes it so? Well, it has what Volvo call a "floating" centre console, a flat aluminium panel with space for a bottle holder behind. However the rest of this very small but immaculately trimmed black leather interior hardly justifies a £20,000+ price tag, I will remind you again that this particular car we are now sitting in would cost you almost £10,000 more than that!
My wife and I, neither of us are very tall (I'm 5ft 8in, she 5ft 4in) honestly felt cramped in here. Due to its upright driving position, the tiny Fiat Panda had felt much more spacious inside.
Fortunately, unlike in a Renault Megane for instance, I am able to find a very comfortable driving position, thanks in part to the (optional) electrically adjustable drivers' seat. However you are sitting fairly low and aware of heavy roof pillars rather too close to your head for comfort and further increasing the impression of claustrophobia.
All of which is a bit of a pity really as the new small Volvo is actually very good to drive - as you'd expect of a car based on the latest phase 2 Focus. However does that not beg the question that a far more spacious Focus, saving many thousands of pounds is going to be a more sensible purchase?
It also begs the question as to why the V50 is not so much more spacious in the first place, nobody ever called a Focus cramped, especially in the particularly practical estate version, which in the interests of this review we actually test drove immediately after returning the V50.
I digress, jumping the gun - with this particular V50 having a power rating of 220bhp - it will be some time until Ford brings such a powerful Focus to market - when it does so there is no doubt that this chassis can handle it. This, in truth, is the first Volvo which is capable of offering a class leading ride and handling set up, Volvo have for some years now managed to get their cars to ride well but always at the cost of ultimate driving pleasure. On the hill route the small estate showed a degree of over firmness which was more heard than felt (in a remarkably similar manner to the original Focus Estate - an ST170- also driven on the same day).
As with any other Volvo that I have ever driven, the seat and driving position were beyond criticism, with a slightly less extreme road surface this is a very comfortable and enjoyable car to drive. The more you drive the car, the harder you push it into the corners the more you appreciate the excellence particularly of the seats.
Whilst not quite as fast ultimately as the more powerful S60 T5, the V50 T5, with this 2.4 Turbo engine is very swift indeed, almost frighteningly so in a car so small. On the banked track it sat rock steady at 100mph, slipping through the air silently like all the other Volvos driven here recently.
Wind noise suppression is one area where Volvo really lead the pack by a very long way. You will not notice how much wind noise your car makes until you drive a modern Volvo. Wind is one of the most tiring sources of noise in a car, especially in motorway cruising, I have driven just about everything on the market over the last three years and top to bottom of the range Volvo offer just about the most refined motorway experience that you will find.
Returning specifically to the V50 T5 Sport, one can only conclude by saying that this is a really odd car. I have thought long and hard about just who this is going to appeal to. It is small and cramped inside, rear seat and load space, even in this estate version, are pitifully lacking.
However you look at it there just does not appear to be a market for a 220bhp estate car with less room inside it, than in a decent supermini. Add in that ridiculously ambitious asking price and you wonder just who is going to buy such a car. Maybe in its bottom of the range form at £18,000 it makes more sense - but then you would be far better off purchasing the much more spacious, new generation, top of the range Focus for around £2000 less.
Yes we could drive to Poland in it, much of our luggage would have to stay behind. Once we arrived there, no more than two (small) family members would be able to come out with us in it. No this Volvo makes no sense to me at all.