Avg. Price Paid:$13,640 - $16,519
Original MSRP: $29,800 - $35,500
MPG: 20 City / 31 Hwy
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2009 Volvo V50 Performance

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

The 2009 V50's performance should help drive Volvo's stodgy old image from most buyers' minds. Most performance reviews are positive, though some note that the available sport suspension makes for an uncomfortable ride.

  • "The turbocharged, all-wheel-drive V50 T5 AWD model I tested had nearly sports car moves." the Chicago Sun-Times
  • "Smooth, precise steering, excellent brakes and quick cornering make the V50 a station wagon that is sporty as well as practical," the Arizona Republic.
  • 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." Edmunds


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 227 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. 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. More tested the V50 T5's turbocharged engine, and were pleased with its performance. 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 "2.4-liter in-line five-cylinder engine provides solid, if unspectacular performance." Kelley Blue Book
  • "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." Automobile Magazine
  • With the T5, the "old, boring wagon stigmas are stricken from your mind." Edmunds
  • "The 6-speed manual gearbox was a pleasure to use. It was smooth and I never messed up a shift." The Auto Channel

Handling and Braking

The V50's handling is pleasing and even a little bit fun.  Of the sport suspension, standard on the T5 and optional on the 2.4i, almost all test drivers agreed that though it delivered improved handling, it came at the expense of a comfortable ride. The V50 has responsive steering that makes it a nimble about-towner. Most were pleased with the V50's braking performance, even if the brake pedal was a little soft.

  • "Sharper than you'd expect from a Volvo," Edmunds.
  • The V50 "corners flatly, with a nice, easy balance." The Los Angeles Times
  • "The compact Volvo wagon, which has a 103.9-inch wheelbase, easily slides into tight parking spaces and is a snap to handle," the Detroit News.
  • The "sport suspension, included with AWD models and optional Sport Package, reacts sharply to bumps, makes for uncomfortably stiff ride." Consumer Guide
  • The V50 is "nimble in urban settings and stable on the road." Kelley Blue Book
  • "The quick steering is accurate and doesn't call for much turning of the wheel for cornering." The Chicago Sun-Times
  • "Brakes ease speed quickly with fine stability, moderate nosedive." Consumer Guide

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.

  • " We were impressed with the system's ability to keep the car heading where we pointed it" Motor Trend
  • "On snow-packed and icy surfaces the all-wheel-drive V50 clings with confidence," Kelley Blue Book
  • "I 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!" About.com
Review Last Updated: 8/21/09

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