2006 Volvo V50

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2006 Volvo V50

Key specs

Base trim shown


The good:

  • Performance of T5 model
  • Moderate dimensions
  • Winter operation with AWD
  • Solid construction
  • Refined running

The bad:

  • Ride comfort in T5 model
  • Snugger than some wagons

2 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2006 Volvo V50 trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Choice of two five-cylinder engines
  • Adaptive five-speed automatic
  • Manual gearbox standard for T5
  • Optional AWD
  • Related to compact S40 sedan

2006 Volvo V50 review: Our expert's take

By Sara Lacey

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

Henrik Otto, Volvo’s Design Director, has this to say about the V50: “What sets the V50 apart is the ability for the car to carry both people and all the important stuff that allows them to live their lives to the fullest. It is truly a car with a large capacity for life!”

I’m here to tell you that I can certainly appreciate the design of this car. It’s very sharp-looking, and it’s got this cool “ultra-slim center console” which is where the stereo and climate controls are. It’s so thin, there’s a small area behind it where you can put a small to medium purse or other items requiring stowage. Nifty! A place for my purse other than the passenger seat is the best design innovation since cupholders. I’m serious.

However, the ability to carry both people and all the important stuff that allows them to live their lives to the fullest? Hardly, unless your full life only has small-to-medium sized stuff in it. For example, you have wake boards but not surfboards; a regular stroller but not a double stroller; two kids in child car seats but not three. I know, I know, the Volvo V50 is a premium compact Activity Sportswagon (Volvo’s designation, not mine) and not a U-Haul. I get it. But come on, Mr. Otto, don’t try to put one over on me! Just because it’s a wagon does not mean it can carry everything important in my life. Why have a wagon when it’s really just a sedan with a hatchback? There’s no more room in here than in a typical small sedan. Which is not bad, it’s just not the “quintessential mom-mobile.”

Size issues aside (keep that innuendo to yourself, please), this car is fun! This is not the first zippy, tiny car that has wormed its way into my heart. Yet another prime example of fabulous safety, amazing handling, braking, and accelerating all packaged up in a pretty little box. After a brief snowstorm, I try to get this all-wheel drive to slide on the ice, but no luck. Believe me when I say that my north-facing driveway is equivalent to any hockey rink this time of year.

Ladies and Gentlemen, she is fast. The Volvo V50 has a turbocharged 5-cylinder engine so I can get those groceries home faster than I probably ought to. With all sorts of fabulous standard safety features like side-impact airbags and side-curtain airbags for head protection, I can feel a little better about it.

It goes without saying that there’s very little storage in the car, ultra-slim console notwithstanding. The center console is adequate, and the cupholders in the middle are fine. Tiny door consoles and no storage in the back save for the seat pockets are inadequate. Look, it’s important that you know I don’t go around with the attitude that my car is for storing things, but I do like to have the option for road trips, or even close trips that require some space. And yes, some things wind up in my car long enough to be considered storage items.

Installing car seats is pretty easy when you don’t take into account some operator errors. Sometimes I’m a total idiot with those things. Thankfully this review’s not about me. Anyway, the Latch attachments and tethers are easy to use. I do have to admit a little disappointment that my test car doesn’t have the optional built-in toddler seats. I would LOVE to try those puppies out.

In any case, the V50 is a great car, but just not great for me and others in a similar situation. Maybe it’s better for Mr. Otto and his windsurfing!

*For more information on the Volvo V50 and its safety features visit Cars.com.

LET’S TALK NUMBERS LATCH Connectors: 2 Seating Capacity (includes driver): 5

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Puny Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair

SENSE AND STYLE Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Not Really Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 3.9
  • Interior design 3.9
  • Performance 3.6
  • Value for the money 3.8
  • Exterior styling 4.1
  • Reliability 3.9

Most recent consumer reviews


My 2nd most reliable. 1st was 1990 Volvo 240 DL

Gas mileage OK for 2006 (19-20 city, 28 highway) but not great. Carries surprising amount behind the 1st row for a 'small' car. Good interior design (hey, Volvo) but I have the 'strip model' (i.e. non-turbo) which lacks 2006's possible 'nice' features. Only 60k miles on it, so hasn't been abused.


A good premium alternative

I bought a 2006 Volvo V50, 5 cylinder turbo, 6 speed manual transmission as a family car. It is a nice alternative to other premium cars. It gets 30mpg on regular gas (a bonus for a turbo car) and is very comfortable. The 5 cylinder engine combined with the low RPM torque from the turbocharger, makes for a silky smooth power delivery throughout the entire rev range. The 6 speed transmission shifts great, even after 120k miles and is geared very well for the weight of the car. I find no matter what you are doing or how fast you are going, you always feel like you are already in the right gear, something very rare nowadays. The car is typically wide for its segment so it does not turn particularly tight and feels like it takes up more road than older cars, but no more so than competing cars of the same time period. All around it is quite low (ground clearance, roof line, seat height) and features thick A-pillars, so visibility is not outstanding. The side mirrors are very small which makes for abnormally large blind spots, particularly on the passenger side. The ride quality is what you should expect from a car of this design featuring front wheel drive and McPherson struts (like most other cars). It is quiet and smooth with a Volvo-typical nonathletic poise, but passes very well and is comfortable and feels safe in any driving conditions. The 9 speaker premium sound system with 6 disc changer sounds crystal clear and incredibly balanced, but unfortunately does not have Bluetooth or auxiliary input capability, something standard nowadays. The seats are small and larger people would find the interior cramped but I find the car very comfortable, especially over long distances. The sunroof operation is a little funny (a complicated switch) but I use it often because it is very quiet and does not disrupt the cabin at all. The floating HVAC & stereo controls look great and have aged very well. The storage is minimal, but that is typical for a Swedish car and I am not bothered by it at all. Every seat has a map pocket which can prove useful to offset the lack of compartments. Backseat room is typical of this segment car. Plenty of hip, leg, shoulder, and head room for smaller adults and children, but larger folks would find it uncomfortable over time. The seats themselves are very comfortable and the leather is high quality and has aged incredibly well over the years. The rear headrests are very large and do not fold down like the V70 of the same time period, so unfortunately I keep them removed and in the trunk so I can see better out of the rear view mirror. The car has a typical suspension design which makes for a narrow and unfortunately typically small trunk. The trunk over all is average in size by today's standards, but small compared to older Volvo's which utilized more unique rear suspensions. I believe this choice of suspension also takes away from valuable rear seat room. The trunk loads flat so there is no picking up or dropping things into or out of the trunk, which can make moving heavy objects a breeze. Over all, I think this V50 (and the S40 of the same time) feels much less unique than other Volvos. It feels safe and secure and certainly nicer than non-premium cars, but not extraordinarily so. It lacks any quirkiness that Volvo has been known for which also means it doesn't feel as special. However, the T5 engine punches far above its weight, with smoothness, power, quietness, efficiency, and packaging that is far superior to any BMW or Audi of its time. I still strongly recommend this car as well as other Volvo's to people looking for something in its segment. It has aged incredibly well and looks and functions 100% still. What more can you ask for?


Engine failure at 143K miles

I really loved driving the car when it was working fine. Quiet, fast, smooth. Multiple electrical issues with windows, door locks, etc. These cars are under-engineered. The crankshaft bearings are made out of aluminum, and failed with 143,000 miles on the T5 engine. Putting in a "new" donor engine (with 70K miles) would be more expensive than the car is worth. So I had to dump it for close to scrap value. All the maintenance was done including oil and filter changes. Mechanic said I possibly used the wrong filter... Yet he stated he replaced a good dozen of these engines in the last few years!!!! I used MANN and K&N filters. Regular intervals maintenance was done with full synthetic Castrol oil. What a joke... if a different brand filter can kill an engine. NEVER AGAIN Volvo. Never again.

See all 10 consumer reviews


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Volvo
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Less than 5 years/less than 80,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
5 years/unlimited miles , upgradeable up to 10 years
Dealer certification required
170- plus point inspection
Roadside assistance
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors


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Volvo 960


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Volvo S40


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See all 2006 Volvo V50 articles