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2009 Volvo V50 Review

This review was written when the 2009 Volvo V50 was new.

The 2009 Volvo V50 is stylishly modern and upscale, but its passenger and cargo space is a little cramped. 

Despite being best known for stodgy-but-safe station wagons with little driver appeal, Volvo has created an attractive, sporty and functional wagon in the V50. Automobile Magazine says, "The V50 is the latest evidence that Volvo no longer stumbles upon coolness by accident." With its sleek exterior lines and Scandinavian minimalist interior design, the V50 is proof that safe can be sexy.

The V50 was introduced in 2004 for the 2005 model year. Several changes were made in 2008 including freshened exterior and interior lines, additional storage space, and nine additional horses for the T5's turbocharged engine. There are no changes for the 2009 model. The V50 shares a platform and many other components with the Volvo S40 sedan. In fact, the two cars are virtually identical from the nose to the second-row seat. Other platform-mates include the Mazda3 and the European Ford Focus, but most say not to think of the V50 as a rebadged Ford or Mazda.

Although the V50 has first-class looks and good performance, other wagons offer more passenger and cargo space. A high price means it's also debatable whether the V50 is a good value.

The V50 comes in two trim levels: the 2.4i, which uses a 2.4 liter inline five-cylinder engine, and the T5, which uses a turbocharged inline five-cylinder. All-wheel drive is available on the T5.

  • "If you don't mind settling for the base engine, the 2009 Volvo V50 is a stylish and relatively affordable alternative to German sport wagons. However, the turbocharged model is expensive, and its performance pales in comparison to similarly priced competitors." -- Edmunds
  • "Volvo just kicked off its Birkenstocks and slipped into a pair of slingback pumps." -- Detroit Free Press
  • "Put it all together -- maximum small-car safety, spirited performance, utility, excellent styling, all available at what now passes for an affordable price -- and you get a vehicle that easily moves to the front of the current compact wagon class." -- Washington Post
  • "The terrific chassis is shared with the new Mazda3 and the C-Max, a European version of the 2005 Focus. Both of these are at least $10K cheaper than a comparably equipped V50. Know what? Even though the other two are terrific automobiles, the V50 looks, feels and drives like it's worth the extra coin." -- About.com
  • "The Volvo V50 isn't quite as sporty as the BMW 3 Series Wagon, but it's nimble, stylish, safe, and considerably cheaper." -- Forbes
Review Last Updated: 8/21/09

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