13/05/2005 Long-term Test - Volvo V50 T5 The first of a regular feature
Your Editor’s transport for the Summer is a 220bhp turbocharged ‘sporting estate’ from the Swedish manufacturer known for its practical, yet increasingly stylish, cars for the driver wanting to run something slightly different to the usual German offerings.
Having owned and greatly enjoyed similar cars from Audi and Mercedes, I was intrigued as to how Volvo’s very latest car would measure up. With an extended wheelbase and track compared to the previous V40, the cars is designed to have a ‘big car’ feel (although overall it’s 2mm shorter) . The ultra-thin ‘instrument stack’ behind the gear lever is a big design feature of the car, giving it a stylish, OK let’s say it, ‘Scandinavian’ feel to a very classy cabin, that in the test car is to SE specification that includes leather.
A variety of engines are featured in the V50 range, but I know the most powerful T5, 5-cylinder turbo, version would have the most relevance to ‘Classic Drivers’. My car is front wheel drive - there is a 4wd version as well - and the prodigious power is transmitted to the tarmac via 18" alloy wheels and 215/45 Pirelli tyres, standard equipment on the V50 Sport models. Torque-steer and wheelspin is thus minimised, however some bumping about is evident on poor surfaces. 17" 205/50s are available as a no cost option.
Being the well-behaved and thoughtful driver you know me to be, I am letting a few more miles go onto the clock before unleashing the full performance of the engine, but occasional forays over 5,000 rpm, where engine power and torque are at their maximum, reveal a growly, torquey motor that does have a lot of ‘go’. It is the motive force for the majority of members of the UK’s Highway Patrol after all, albeit in the larger V70 Estate, with some size -10, Police-issue pumps on the loud pedal.
I think it’s a fine looking machine, just ‘useful-looking’ enough without excess. As mentioned before, the interior is really great with seats comfortable enough for two longish trips this week. A four-up journey for lunch at The Crazy Bear, just round the corner from the AMOC’s Barn HQ, was accomplished with ease, while a longer trip for the Cars for the Connoisseur Christmas lunch (don’t ask...) this week proved equally effortless.
The test car is equipped with the optional Bi-Xenon headlamps that longer daylight hours have rendered unused so far. Xenons and some other bits and bobs on this car apart, Volvo make play of the fact that the standard equipment on the car beats their Teutonic rivals hands down. Specify an ‘SE’ and you’ll get leather, front fog lights, auto-dimming rear mirror, High Performance Sound Audio, climate control, information centre (miles to empty tank, average speed etc), rain-sensing wipers and more bits of kit that would very likely be extras elsewhere. The full specification of the test car can be seen below.
Anyway, I’ll be reporting regularly on living with the Volvo V50 T5 as a daily driver in months to come - so watch this space.
The car tested is a Volvo V50 T5 SE Sport, with a manufacturer's On the Road list price in the UK of £26,363.
Options fitted to featured car -
Bi-Xenon Pack £850
Metallic Paint £500
Rear Park Assist £340
Premium Audio System upgrade £250
Passenger Airbag Cut-Off Switch £25