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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For A smart-looking estate inside and out with fine handling and good engines

Against It's not the roomiest estate in the class and the ride is firm on rough roads

Verdict Not the ultimate load-lugger, but still an excellent executive family holdall

Go for… 2.0 D S

Avoid… T5

Volvo V50 Estate
  • 1. Recalls include one for the front windscreen, which could detach from its support areas in an impact
  • 2. There have been problems with the parking brake
  • 3. The load area is well thought out, and the split rear seats fold quickly and simply
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Volvo V50 Estate full review with expert trade views

The V50 is more a 'lifestyle' estate than an outright load-lugger. With the rear seats folded, it offers a useful 1307 litres of load space, which isn't as much as the 1384-litre Mercedes-Benz C-Class or the 1731-litre Volkswagen Passat estate. Nevertheless, it's still a very practical car, with a load area that is well thought out and split rear seats that fold quickly and simply.

Up front, the cabin looks fantastic, thanks in no small part to the 'floating' centre console, which is attached to the main part of the dashboard only at the top and the bottom. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, and the fully adjustable steering wheel helps to ensure there should be a driving position to suit everyone. Standard safety features and general equipment are impressive, too.

It's basically an impressive car to drive, too, with tidy handling and a strong range of petrol and diesel engines. All that's disappointing is the ride, which can be a little too firm.

Trade view

John Owen

2.0D SE best model, but colour critical. Well built and good to drive

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Our recommended engine is the 134bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel. Its 236lb ft of pulling power always copes, no matter how much luggage you cram into the V50.

It's even good enough to make Volvo's five-cylinder D5 turbodiesel redundant - even though the more powerful engine sounds good and, with 178bhp and 258lb ft of pulling power, provides cracking performance.

Don't bother with the T5, though. Despite its undoubted speed, the somewhat uninvolving 236bhp petrol engine misses the spot as a performance car. However, the remaining 1.8-, 2.0- and 2.4-litre petrol engines are all fine.

Trim-wise, the basic S comes with alloy wheels, air-con, all-round electric windows and a CD player. Three other trim levels, SE, Sport and SE Sport are also available, but they're not worth the money.

You can find yourself a well looked-after version in S trim, either in the small ads or at a Volvo dealer.

Trade view

James Ruppert

1.8 S finds entry-level buyers while 2.0D SE has widest retail appeal

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Due to its popularity, you'll have to pay a little bit more for the V50 than its S40 saloon counterpart. However, it won't be as expensive as the equivalent BMW 3 Series or Audi A4 Avant.

For example, three years after it was new, an Audi A4 2.0TDI will be worth 60% of its original price, a BMW 320d SE 51% and a 2.0D V50 - which cost less than its German rivals new - 51%.

The Volvo will also cost less to service than its premium German opposition if you go to main dealers. However, independent Volvo experts are not especially cheap, charging similar rates to Mercedes-Benz specialists.

Insurance costs start at group 9 for the entry level V50, rising to group 15, which is okay, if a little high. Least economical is the T5 petrol version - the cost for all that performance is an official 32.1mpg. The high-power diesel delivers 40.4mpg, but our recommended 2.0-litre turbodiesel delivers 48.7mpg.

Trade view

John Owen

2.0D SE best model, but colour critical. Well built and good to drive

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Volvo as a brand has enjoyed a strong showing in recent JD Power customer satisfaction surveys. However, the V50's predecessor, the V40, was not famed for its build quality. That car was a joint project with Mitsubishi and shared components with the Carisma, but the modern V50 is Ford Focus-based, and build quality is much better.

There have been some problems, however, and you can check out the recall issues on the Vehicle and Operator Safety Agency website at www.vosa.gov.uk. Faults include the possibility of a fuel leak, which may result in fire, and the risk that the front windscreen may detach from its support areas in an impact.

There have also been problems with parking brakes and instances of the electronic plastic key refusing to come out of the dashboard. And, if you're looking at a T5 automatic, check it has the computer upgrade to improve gearchanging and fuel economy.

Trade view

James Ruppert

1.8 S finds entry-level buyers while 2.0D SE has widest retail appeal

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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