2009 Volvo V50 Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
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 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 mpg in the city and 28 mpg 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. Almost all test drivers said the sport suspension, standard on the T5 and optional on the 2.4i, delivered improved handling. However, it comes 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] 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
- "Brakes ease speed quickly with fine stability, moderate nosedive." -- Consumer Guide
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