2011 Volvo V50

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2011 Volvo V50 Review

By KBB.com Editors

Those looking for a premium compact wagon have few choices. Add the word "affordable" to that sentence and the list may narrow to a single car, the 2011 Volvo V50 wagon. Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar have all abandoned the segment. That leaves the Audi A4 Avant and BMW 328i Sports Wagon as the 2011 Volvo V50's leading European competitors. Against such competitors, the Volvo V50 looks like a pretty darn good deal. With so few premium wagons on the market, the Volvo V50 might easily attract buyers. Then again, with the continuing rise of car-based compact crossovers (think Acura ZDX), the Volvo V50 may very well turn out to be among the last of a dying breed.

You'll Like This Car If...

If occupant safety ranks as your top priority, the 2011 Volvo V50 wagon won't disappoint. Those worried about soaring gas prices will love the V50's fuel efficient, yet potent turbocharged engine.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need a wagon with a roomy rear seat, a V6 engine or all-wheel drive, the Volvo V50 will not satisfy your desires.

What's New for 2011

For 2011, the Volvo V50 no longer offers the naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter model or optional all-wheel drive. The 2011 Volvo V50 lineup now consists of two trims: The base V40 T5 and V50 R-Design.

Driving the V50
Driving Impressions

One might think that sharing the same chassis and engine as the S40 Sedan would return a carbon copy ride. But, for whatever reason, the 2011 Volvo V50 feels more...

... stable and buttoned down than its sedan sibling. Once the 227-horsepower engine enters its prime power band, acceleration is rapid and steady. The Volvo V50's front-wheel-drive layout coupled with electronic stability control ensure that winter's worst won't be too much of an obstacle. The Volvo V50 doesn't take kindly to rough-road surfaces, transmitting all manner of shake and jittering into the passenger compartment. The Volvo V50's handling, on the other hand, is decisive, proving nimble in urban settings and just plain fun on twisting back roads.

10-Speaker Audio with Navigation
Volvo's premium sound system sounds and looks fantastic. From the floating center console that houses the radio controls, to the hidden navigation screen that rises up from the dash, the Volvo V50's Multimedia package is almost as exciting to watch as it is to hear.

Turbocharged Engine
Volvo's turbocharged engine does its job eagerly and effortlessly. It also runs quite happily on regular gas.

2011 Volvo V50 Details

The 2011 Volvo V50 is endowed with a simple, straightforward interior. The highlight of the Volvo V50's interior is its ultra-slim "floating" center console. T-Tec fabric seating is standard on the base V50 T5, while the V50 R-Design is fitted with vividly contrasting white-over-black leather inserts and R-Design logos. An all-black leather package is optional. Though roomy enough up front, the Volvo V50's rear seats will be a tight fit for average Americans. Cargo space totals 37.4 cubic feet with the rear seat up and 62.9 cubic feet with the 60/40 split-folding rear seat folded down.


The Belgian-built 2011 Volvo V50 wears the brand's traditional design language. That means it now looks rather boxy and dated when compared to the stylish Volvo S60 sedan and Volvo XC60 crossover. Unlike a number of compact crossovers, it's easy to step in and out of the Volvo V50 and its roof is also easily accessible. Thin support pillars allow for lots of glass, which translates into good 360-degree visibility. The slab-sided Volvo V50 projects an image of stability and strength, while the rear-pillar mounted high taillights add a touch of exoticness to an otherwise cautious design.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2011 Volvo V50 T5 features a 2.5-liter, turbocharged, 5-cylinder engine that's mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. Other standards include remote keyless entry, auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power driver's seat with memory feature, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, rear wiper/washer and front and rear fog lamps. The standard audio system features an in-dash CD/MP3 player, USB and iPod interface and an auxiliary audio input jack. The T5 R-Design adds a power moonroof, power passenger seat, leather seating surfaces and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Optional Equipment

Many of the 2011 Volvo V50's most desirable options are bundled into packages. The Climate Package adds heated seats, headlamp washers, electronic climate control and rain-sensing wipers. The Preferred Package adds a power glass moonroof, power passenger seat and leather seats. The Multimedia package combines a premium 650-watt 10-speaker sound system with Volvo's navigation system featuring Real Time Traffic, a remote control and two map updates. Stand-alone options include full leather seating, rear booster cushions, Keyless Drive, rear park assist, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and dual xenon headlamps with Active Bend Light. (The latter turns the headlamps in the direction the car is steered.)

Under the Hood

The Volvo V50's turbocharged 2.5-liter engine pumps out 227 horsepower, runs on regular gas and can go 30 miles on a single gallon of gasoline. The 5-cylinder transmits a bit vibration. The engine is coupled to a 5-speed Geartronic automatic transmission.

2.5-liter in-line-5 turbocharged
227 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30

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