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Review: '06 Volvo V50 2.0D SE


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After dropping my S60 off at the main dealer for its service, I was pleasantly surprised to get a Volvo V50 2.0D for a courtesy car; I was expecting a base model 1.6 petrol S40! When I change my S60 (who knows when, probably in May/June 2007 when I finish Uni) I am considering a new or nearly new Volvo, and the V50 is right at the top of the list. I want a manual (which currently rules out the D5 as it is only available in Geartronic) - the sensible option is this 136hp 2.0D, the heart says to go for the 220hp T5!

On to the review...

The car is very handsome, I personally prefer it with the Sport kit (lower spoiler, subtle side skirts, rear spoiler and bigger 18" wheels) making it look a tad more aggressive and 'hip', but even in the SE trim it looks very good and well proportioned. It's completely up to date and has all its curves in the right places.

The car is actually slightly bigger inside than it looks on the outside. It's certainly not a load-lugger - if you need this, try the V70; but it certainly would have enough space for a family of 4 and holiday luggage. I can see why Volvo call it a "Sportswagon". I think most buyers will be young couples and small families.

At only £1,000 to £1,500 more than the equivalent S40 it's great value for money for an 'estate'. It'll hold its value a lot better than the S40 and it looks much better too. Prices are around the £19k mark for the 2.0D S and about £24k for the D5 and T5 models. Add a couple of thousand to that to get the Sport, SE or Sport SE models. (Sport being a base trim with the bodykit and wheels, SE is the car with the toys and like the name suggests, the Sport SE has the toys and the bodykit).

The engine is a gem. It's only 136bhp, but I didn't notice much difference compared to my D5 thanks to its superb and precise 6 speed manual 'box and lower weight of the V50. The acceleration and top speed figures are very similar to the 163bhp S60 D5. It has plenty of go when you want it to and hurries up to motorway cruising speeds very smartly indeed. It sounds dieselier than my D5 on acceleration due to only having 4 cylinders but it really is very smooth. I believe the engine is the same unit Ford use in the Focus (2.0 TDCi) and Peugeot use in their range with the HDi 136 engine.

The interior is very modern and probably not to all tastes. I wasn't keen at all on the faux wood trim (so obviously false and plasticky) and would advise anyone to get the aluminium trim! The seats are very supportive although not quite as good as the S60's. One thing I noticed was that the buttons on the centre console are very small and close together meaning you have to look at the console if you want to use the buttons - not really safe and a bit of a downer after the excellent ergonomics of the S60's dash. One thing that confused me was the positioning of the ignition - rather than being to the right of the steering column as you would expect, it is on the left up on the dash - despite having the car for two days and many trips; every time I attempted to insert the key where the ignition would usually be found. I'm sure any new owner would get used to this eventually but its a bit of an odd decision to place it where it is located behind the indicator stalk? The hi-fi was good, but not stunning and I would recommend the upgrade to the premium (4x70w) sound system if you like your music.

I averaged 46.2mpg with a mixture of driving including plenty of traffic, town work and fast motorway around Sussex and the Isle of Wight. This is very similar to what my more powerful D5 would achieve in the same circumstances, but the car only had a couple of thousand miles on it so has yet to reach its optimum economy when the engine loosens a bit.

Would I buy one? I would certainly buy the V50, as a car it is great, I think I would be VERY tempted by the T5 version and I have a test drive sorted for my return from my holiday towards the end of August. Definitely a case of whether the head or the heart rules the purse strings!

Good Points

Great looking, comfortable seats, modern interior, value for money, perfect engine/gearbox matching.

Bad Points

Fake wood dash, ignition position on dash, small buttons on centre console, tiny glovebox.

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I test drove one before I got the Audi, tremendous value for money and similar performance. I was after the SE Sport in red of course!


Unfortunately the salesman took me out in beige standard one and I felt I had aged 30 years, also gave no discount and a poor trade in value on my Golf.

The rest is history. jump.gif


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