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2011 Volvo V50 Review

This review was written when the 2011 Volvo V50 was new.

Reviewers like the styling and cargo capacity of the 2011 Volvo V50, but say other wagons and crossovers are better values.

The 2011 Volvo V50 makes sense for buyers looking for a premium wagon with small exterior dimensions. Reviewers especially like the V50’s stylish interior and exterior, and a few even say that the V50 drives like more expensive European rivals.  Overall, however, reviewers say that the V50 has enough faults that consumers should seriously consider the competition.

One of the major issues reviewers have with the 2011 Volvo V50 is its price, which they say is high, given the V50’s performance. Car and Driver says the V50 is “a little bit on the boring side, and it’s pricey for its size." Though reviewers agree that the V50 is more fun to drive than a crossover, most say that its turbocharged five-cylinder engine is rough and unrefined, and that its ride can be jarring. If the V50 were priced lower, reviewers might overlook these faults. However, the V50 has premium pricing so reviewers expect premium performance.

Though they complain about the performance, reviewers appreciate the 2011 Volvo V50 for its expansive cargo area, which rivals some larger crossovers, and extremely comfortable seats. Though several reviewers complain about the V50’s performance, others point out that as a wagon, the V50 is still more fun to drive than a crossover or compact SUV.

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Other Cars to Consider

One strange thing about the 2011 Volvo V50 is that it has few direct rivals. Wagons from BMW and Audi are priced much higher than the V50, while wagons from Volkswagen and Subaru are priced much lower. Still, reviewers say that if you’re consider the 2011 Volvo V50, check out the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen.  Though the Sportwagen isn’t as quick as the V50, it does have a lower starting price and an available diesel engine.

The 2011 Volvo V50 does not offer all-wheel drive.  If you need AWD, check out the more affordable, but less upscale, Subaru Outback. The Outback has more cargo space than the V50, and is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick, but is also much larger overall.  If you’re looking for a more premium urban runner, the Volvo beats the Subaru.  But, if you want space, capability and value, the Subaru Outback is the clear winner.

Details: Volvo V50

The Volvo V50 is available with one engine: a 227 horsepower turbocharged inline five cylinder. Front wheel drive is standard, and only an automatic transmission is offered.

  • "The 2011 Volvo V50 is a stylish and spacious premium wagon, but there are better choices available."--Edmunds
  • "The V50 is a solid, capable small wagon. A full range of safety features are standard, and this Volvo is unique for offering optional booster seats. Prices are competitive against most premium-compact wagons, though V50's rivals also offer 4- and 6-cylinder engines that are smoother and more refined than the V50's turbocharged 5-cylinder."--Consumer Guide 
  • "Based on the S40 sedan, the V50 is a stylish alternative to small crossovers such as the Honda CR-V. Surprisingly roomy, the V50’s interior brims with clean Scandinavian design. It can be a little on the dull side, but it’s way more carlike and consequently more fun than any crossover"--Car and Driver
Review Last Updated: 12/15/11

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