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Avg. Price Paid:$7,885 - $10,390
Original MSRP: $26,690 - $30,190
MPG: 22 City / 30 Hwy
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2007 Volvo V50 Performance

This performance review was written when the 2007 Volvo V50 was new.

Reviewers say that the 2007 V50 will help to drive Volvo's stodgy old image from most buyers' minds. The Chicago Sun-Times says, "The turbocharged, all-wheel-drive V50 T5 AWD model I tested had nearly sports car moves." Other reviewers are just as positive, though some note that the available sport suspension makes for an uncomfortable ride.

"Smooth, precise steering, excellent brakes and quick cornering make the V50 a station wagon that is sporty as well as practical," says the Arizona Republic. Edmunds says the V50's "driving dynamics are unlike any other wagon in the Volvo lineup: It's not just about getting to your destination safely; it's about having a little fun along the way."

Power

The V50 comes with two engine options. The base engine is a 2.4 liter inline five-cylinder engine that makes 168 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. This engine comes with the 2.4i trim. The T5 trim comes with a 2.5 liter turbo-charged in-line five that makes 218 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.

Few reviewers tested the 2.4i trim, making it tough to draw conclusions about its engine. Edmunds says the base 2.4i model has "[u]ninspiring performance," and Kelley Blue Book says that the "2.4-liter in-line five-cylinder engine provides solid, if unspectacular performance."

The 2.4i is mated to a five-speed Geartronic automatic transmission that has an "Auto-Stick" mode that allows the driver to shift the engine without using a clutch. No manual transmission is available. The 2.4i gets an Environmental Protection Agency estimated 20 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway. J.D. Power  gives the 2007 V50 4 out of 5 for "Green Efficiency," a rating that is "better than most."

More reviewers tested the V50 T5, with its turbocharged engine. Most were pleased with the engine's performance, finding it more than up to the task of getting the wagon up to speed quickly and without drama. Automobile Magazine reports that "the T5's 236 pound-feet of torque gives the little wagon strong midrange performance, and a stab at the throttle summons the trademark Volvo five-cylinder chortle from the twin pipes out back." In their test drive, the Los Angeles Times found that the V50 "is quicker than the BMW or the Audi" wagons. With the T5, Edmunds says that the " old, boring wagon stigmas are stricken from your mind." The EPA estimates that a front-wheel drive T5 with an automatic transmission gets 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

The T5 comes standard with a five speed Geartronic automatic transmission that allows the driver to shift the transmission without using a clutch. Upgrading to the all-wheel drive (AWD) T5 nets drivers a standard manual transmission. The Detroit News says the front-wheel drive T5 with its automatic "performed beautifully," and most reviewers agree that the automatic is a fine transmission. Though AutoWeek complains that the manual's "shifter is rubbery, made worse by its tight gates," most reviewers disagree. The Auto Channel sums up the majority view: "The 6-speed manual gearbox was a pleasure to use. It was smooth and I never messed up a shift."

Handling and Braking

Test drivers are generally pleased with the V50's handling. Edmunds says it has "[s]harper handling than you'd expect from a Volvo," and the Los Angeles Times adds that the V50 "corners flatly, with a nice, easy balance."

"The compact Volvo wagon, which has a 103.9-inch wheelbase, easily slides into tight parking spaces and is a snap to handle," reports the Detroit News. The Sacramento Bee adds that the wagon's "relatively compact size makes it easy to maneuver, and with [optional] all-wheel-drive, you feel like you're gliding on a quick-moving cloud." That good handling, notes Edmunds, is due in part to the fact that the V50 "shares a platform with another member of the extended Ford family, the Mazda 3, and like the 3, the T5 is an admirable handler thanks to its sport-tuned suspension."

Very few test drivers used the base 2.4i model, which means reviewers didn't have much to say about the standard suspension. Those who drove cars with the standard setup say that it balances ride and handling well. Edmunds reports that the standard suspension "offers a solid balance of ride comfort and handling precision," and Consumer Guide notes that it is "reasonably compliant on most surfaces."

Of the sport suspension, standard on the T5 and optional on the 2.4i, test drivers were almost all in agreement that though it delivered improved handling, it came at the expense of a comfortable ride. Consumer Guide reports that the "sport suspension, included with AWD models and optional Sport Package, reacts sharply to bumps, makes for uncomfortably stiff ride." USA TODAY goes even further, saying the sport suspension "felt coarse and uncomfortably stiff over rough pavement and sharp bumps, more than necessary for snappy turning and flat cornering."

The V50 has responsive steering that makes it a nimble about-towner. Kelley Blue Book, reflecting the view of most test-drivers, says the V50 is "[n]imble in urban settings and stable on the road." The Chicago Sun-Times adds that "the quick steering is accurate and doesn't call for much turning of the wheel for cornering." Not everyone thought the steering was perfect, however. MSN speaks for that camp, saying the V50 "has quick power steering, although some may feel it's overassisted and thus a little too light."

Most reviewers are pleased with the V50's braking performance, even though many said the brake pedal was a little soft. The Chicago Sun-Times says, "The linear-action brake pedal feels a little soft, but stopping distances are impressively short." Consumer Guide adds that the "[b]rakes ease speed quickly with fine stability, moderate nosedive."

All-Wheel Drive

The T5 models of the V50 are available with all-wheel drive (AWD), a system that reviewers almost unanimously praised. Under normal driving conditions, the majority of the engine's power is directed to the V50's front wheels. When the AWD system detects wheel slippage, it sends power to the wheels with the most grip. Motor Trend reports that they "were impressed with the system's ability to keep the car heading where we pointed it" on their test drive. Kelley Blue Book says, "On snow-packed and icy surfaces the all-wheel-drive V50 clings with confidence," but notes that in contrast to some competitors, "the V50's all-wheel-drive option can be ordered only with the pricey, top-of-the-line trim."

Despite that, most reviewers who tested the system loved it. About.com reports that they "actually drove around looking for steep hills with deep snow and ice in order to stop on the steepest section and then floor the gas pedal. The V50 would take off like it was on dry gravel -- it was a great feeling of control!"

Review Last Updated: 5/2/08

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