Volvo V50 Origins
In the lexicon of Volvo, the V contained in a car’s model name stands for versatility. After the highly successful decade of the 1980s, when the Volvo brand slowly began conquering the American yuppie-marketplace, the car company set its sights on some decidedly new ground: the compact family car niche.
As a completely new car built from the ground up, the Volvo S40 contains no engine-trace of the previous 400 series, save for the 1.9-liter Turbo Diesel that spilled over for a brief spell. The four-door sedan Volvo S40 marks the first the company displayed publicly at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1995, while its cousin model, the five-door V40 touring car, debuted a year later in Bologna.
As a joint design effort with Mitsubishi, the S40 and V40 offer more style than previous Volvo cars, with softer, more sweeping lines and curves than usual. Plus they offer a few breakthroughs in safety as well, namely standard side impact airbags. Unfortunately a poor performance rating and inferior sheet metal peppered along their exteriors hinders both models. Volvo sought to improve the line with the introduction of the Volvo V50 as a replacement for the V40 in 2005.About the Volvo V50
Dubbed a sport wagon by the Volvo team, the compact V50 features a stretched wheelbase, bulging fenders, a V-shaped bonnet swooping down its shoulders, and a slightly wider front and rear. These more aerodynamic curves, coupled with the optional turbo-charged trim option, help give the V50 better handling and sharper acceleration rates around challenging corners.
The first models of the Volvo V50, made available in 2005, come in two distinct family wagon rims: the 2.4i and the spunkier T5. The automatic transmission 2.4i’s powertrain consists of a 2.4-liter, five-cylinder engine good for 168 hp, while the manual transmission, turbo-charged T5’s 2.5-liter delivers 218 hp. Three years later, the T5 received a boost in horsepower up to 228, with an optional six-speed transmission trim available depending on which model year buyers opted for.Volvo V50 Features
In a decision to trim back on its model line, Volvo announced in mid-2011 that it would discontinue the Volvo V50 in 2012.
For its final year, the five-passenger compact Volvo V50 comes in two different trims, T5 (base and Preferred) and T5 R-Design. Standard equipment for the base T5 includes a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with mounted audio controls, cruise control, Bluetooth capability, an eight-speaker stereo system with a CD changer, and a USB/iPod interface. At the Preferred level, buyers get a sunroof, leather seats, satellite radio, and a keyless entry/ignition function. Opting for a T5 R affords its drivers a sunroof, sport-tuned suspension, partial leather seating, and specially designed floor mats, shifting knob, and dashboard gauges.
All the 2011 Volvo V50s have a dual five-speed shift/manual turbocharged 2.5-liter, inline-five engine capable of delivering 227 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. With a zero to 60 mph rate of 6.8 seconds, EPA estimated fuel economy for the V50 caps at a noteworthy 21/30 mpg city/highway.
Front side airbags, stability/traction control, and anti-lock disc brakes all come as standard safety features, with a blind warning spot system and rear child booster seat offered as options.
MSRP for the Volvo V50 is $29,000 for the T5 and $32,000 for the T5 R.Volvo V50 Evolution
The 40 series (including the S40 and V40) ran from 1995 to 2004 and preceded the Volvo V50 series (2004 to 2012). The 40 series Volvos come saddled with a four-cylinder, 1.9-liter turbodiesel or a 1.6-liter, 1.8-liter, 2.0T, 1.9 T4, or 2.0-liter fuel-injected gasoline engine. Introduced by British designer Peter Horbury, manufactured in Holland, and based around a joint engineering effort by Volvo and Mitsubishi, the V40 earned recognition as the Most Beautiful Estate Car in the World for 1995.
By the time the second generation rolled off the assembly line in 2005, the V50 Estate was officially introduced, complete with a newly crafted powertrain and an all-new front or all-wheel drive platform based on the Volvo P1 platform. A front-mounted 2.5-liter, five-cylinder fuel-injected engine drove the V50 before receiving a slight performance boost of 9 hp in time for the 2008/2009 models.
2008 marks several notable interior/exterior improvements to the Volvo V50. New safety features include flashing emergency brake lights and a Blind Spot Information System. Models also offer more storage space and a souped-up audio system across all trims.