Volvo V50

The Essentials

  • Price from £19,745
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 74.3mpg
  • What is it? Posh estate designed for putting yourself, your kids and your gear in safe hands


  • This workhorse is a fine-handling machine, even when loaded up
  • Solid and stylish cabin is a pleasure to spend time in
  • Volvo safety is always reassuring


  • Firm ride takes some getting used to
  • Loses out to prestige rivals for refinement and class
  • Your money doesn't buy as much space as you'd expect
  • Drive

    A brisk, fun drive on all but the most basic cars

  • Inside

    Comfortable and stylish  just like you'd expect from Volvo

  • Safety

    Five-star crash-test rating and plenty of safety kit

  • Reliability

    Get set for some hassle-free motoring!

  • Space

    Could be better in the back and boot

  • Standard and extras

    Whatever your budget, you won't lose out here

  • What's it like to drive?

    There is just one petrol engine - a 2.0-litre unit (although there's also a high-performance 2.5-litre engine thats reserved for the range-topping T5 R Design model). We'd go for the 1.6 or 2.0-litre diesel  they're both powerful and peppy

  • What's it like inside?

    The V50's front seats are comfortable, with plenty of shoulder- and thigh support. The centre console looks stylish, but the controls are small and fiddly. It has a decent-sized boot, but it's not the big load-lugger like Volvo's larger estates. There's plenty of room for a family, but many of rivals have more to offer

  • How reliable is it?

    The cabin is trimmed with classy and high-quality fixtures and fittings. The five-cylinder engine is well proven in other Volvos, so shouldn't let you down. Quality and reliability were rated as above average by owners in the 2012 JD Power customer satisfaction survey

  • Should I buy one?

    The Volvo is not cheap for a small family car, but the V50's quality and high levels of standard equipment go some way to justifying the pricetag. Go for the DRIVe models and sub-100g/km CO2 emissions will ensure you pay less in taxes.