Thursday, August 22, 2013

Used Car Review - Volvo V50 (2005-2011)

Need a wagon for your daily needs? Myk Belmonte has one suggestion for you.

2005-2011 Volvo V50

When it comes to wagons, the Europeans are the leaders. And among the leaders, Volvo is one of them since they have numerous station wagons in their stable throughout the years. From the Duett of the 1950s to the V50 and V60 of the new decade, Volvo sold a number of them worldwide and a popular choice in Sweden.

Together with the S40 sedan, the V50 (it was renamed from V40) wagon was redesigned and introduced in mid-2004 using the P1 platform. While the chassis and most components were developed by Volvo, some mechanicals are shared with the Mazda 3 and European Ford Focus. No thanks to decreasing sales, the V50 (together with the S40 sedan) were replaced by the V40 (no relation to the predecessor) in 2012.

Late 2004 saw the Philippine introduction of the V50 wagon, together with the S40 sedan. Unlike the previous models that target those nearing retirement age (850 anyone?), the V50 reached out the yuppie market. Same fate with the sedan, it faced discontinuation in 2011, a year earlier than the S40.

Value and Costs
Higher than the Opel wagons for a reason (other than age), second hand V50s can be purchased between P750,000-P860,000. If possible, start your hunt in a Volvo dealership near you for a certified unit since they are inspected and backed-up with a warranty before selling them to you.

Cost of maintenance are a bit higher than the Japanese, but there are no reported reliability problems so getting one isn't a liability. While it shares parts with the Mazda 3 and Ford Focus, go with 100% Volvo parts for assurance, but it does not hurt to ask if they can.

Exterior and Interior
Not anymore a box of soap or worse, a funeral hearse; the V50 comes with a bulging hood, muscular sides, a streamed roofline, and a chopped rear which contributes to a short wheelbase wagon. It drives like a regular sedan, not some long wagon of the 60s and 70s.

What is the number one strength of this vehicle? Its versatility, which is the obvious answer of them all. To fully utilize the cargo area, one must fold down the rear seats (they do in a 60/40 way), remove the headrests, and load. If using the V50 as a family car, be warned as the rear seat is tight and good for two people for comfort. Other than people, let's evaluate the other parts of the interior. Controls are big enough to hold on, but the center console (this is where the audio, climate, and trip computer controls are placed) needs time to get used to it since the buttons are near one another. There are pieces of aluminum that gives the wagon a luxury touch.

Two engines were made available and the first one is a 1,984cc inline four that carries 145hp at 6,000rpm and 185Nm at 4,500rpm. Those who want more have the B5244S4 2,435cc inline five which has 170hp at 6,000rpm and 230Nm at 4,400rpm to fiddle with. When it comes to performance, both engines drive decently and motivate the V50 without drama.

Driving Impressions
Just like the sedan sibling, it shows its best at straight lines but exhibits the worst side when doing cornering since the steering turns heavy. Unlike the S40, you can do some rallying by turning off the traction control and vola! But it is not as great as a Bimmer and when you crash the car, but don't fret, Volvo placed lots of safety kit in your V50, but driving carefully is the order of the day.

Wagon choices locally are very limited, and if you want one with the European flair, the Volvo V50 is one great pick. Just be patient when finding for one, since you'll love the versatility it has when you drive it.

The Good:
  • Versatility is tops
  • Solid chassis
  • Stylish
The Bad:
  • Not the spacious in its peers
  • Firm ride
  • No diesel option
The Pick: 2.0i

Engines: 1,984cc I4 and 2,435cc B5244S4 I5 gasoline
Power: 145hp @ 6,000rpm (2.0), 170hp @ 6,000rpm (2.4)
Torque: 185Nm @ 4,500rpm (2.0), 230Nm @ 4,400rpm (2.4)
Fuel Consumption: 6-9km/L (city), 9-11km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed automatic, 6-speed geartronic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear independent multi-link

Price (New): P2,300,000-P2,500,000 (2005-2009), P1,845,000 (2010-2011)
Price (Now): P750,000-P860,000
Rivals: Audi A4 wagon
On Sale: Late 2004-2011

Volvo Makati - (02) 893-6621

Photos from

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