2008 Volvo V50 Review

Note: This review was created when the 2008 Volvo V50 was new.

The 2008 V50 is fun to drive and has modern Scandinavian styling, even if passenger and cargo room is a little tight.

8.2

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 7.1
Interior: 7.7
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Attractive exterior
  • Cutting-edge interior design
  • Sporty performance
  • Small interior compared to competitors
  • Optional sport suspension rides rough

2008 Volvo V50 Overview

Despite being best known for stodgy-but-safe station wagons with little driver appeal, Volvo has created an attractive, sporty and functional wagon in the 2008 V50. Automobile Magazine says, "The V50 is the latest evidence that Volvo no longer stumbles upon coolness by accident."

The V50 was introduced in 2004 for the 2005 model year. Several changes have been introduced for 2008, including freshened exterior and interior lines, additional storage space, and nine additional horses for the T5's turbocharged engine. The V50 shares a platform and many other components with the Volvo S40 sedan. In fact, the two cars are virtually identical from the nose to the second-row seat. Other platform-mates include the Mazda3 and the European Ford Focus, but most say not to think of the V50 as a rebadged Ford or Mazda.

Although the V50 has first-class looks and good performance, other wagons offer more passenger and cargo space. It's also debatable whether the V50 is a good value.

The V50 comes in two trim levels: the 2.4i, which uses a 2.4 liter inline five-cylinder engine, and the T5, which uses a turbocharged inline five-cylinder. All-wheel drive is available on the T5.

  • "The new Volvo V50 combines style, versatility, safety, and performance." -- The Auto Channel
  • "Volvo just kicked off its Birkenstocks and slipped into a pair of slingback pumps." -- Detroit Free Press
  • "Put it all together -- maximum small-car safety, spirited performance, utility, excellent styling, all available at what now passes for an affordable price -- and you get a vehicle that easily moves to the front of the current compact wagon class." -- Washington Post
  • "The terrific chassis is shared with the new Mazda3 and the C-Max, a European version of the 2005 Focus. Both of these are at least $10K cheaper than a comparably equipped V50. Know what? Even though the other two are terrific automobiles, the V50 looks, feels and drives like it's worth the extra coin." -- About.com
  • "The Volvo V50 isn't quite as sporty as the BMW 3 Series Wagon, but it's nimble, stylish, safe, and considerably cheaper." -- Forbes
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