I found this 2006 model languishing on a California lot in 2007. Lucky for me, most prospective V50 buyers weren't interested in a family wagon that was fire engine red; had the six speed manual trann...
I found this 2006 model languishing on a California lot in 2007. Lucky for me, most prospective V50 buyers weren't interested in a family wagon that was fire engine red; had the six speed manual tranny from the awesome S60"R" models; slightly lowered sport suspension; 200+ horse T5 engine and AWD . But for a guy who's second car is a Porsche 911 and refuses to accept maturity gracefully, it was the perfect car!
This little red devil had actually been the display car at the Ford Factory in Dearborn, Michigan so it had every available luxury option (heated seats, sunroof, upgraded stereo etc.). When the dealership offered me a ridiculously good deal , I didn't hesitate.
I had owned a 2001 V70, and while I found it to be well constructed and safe, it was dull as dishwater to drive. This V50 is a whole different animal. About as good as it gets when striking a balance between luxury, utility and sportiness. It is extremely stable and predictable, even at high speeds. The steering is a little heavier (which I prefer) and therefore demands a more input from the driver than an Audi or BMW, but the handling limits of this car are VERY high. The turbo charged engine has very little lag and loads of torque. There's very little understeer due to the AWD. The car feels nimble, tossable. You don't don't just drive in the V50, you "maraud". It's too tempting NOT to test this cars limits.
The shifter is excellent and the clutch very light. Even in the worst LA traffic, I never get that crampy feeling in my clutch foot. A little practical touch that shows you how well Volvo knows their customers: you can basically roll to a complete stop before you need to depress the clutch and keep the car from stalling. So even in bumper to bumper traffic, you don't need to constantliy shift. You can nearly run the car down to 0 MPH before you must push in the clutch. Build quality is outstanding. Cabin ergonomics are excellent. While many German sedans have become busy looking and hard on the eyes, Volvo design elements are iconically Swedish with a subdued elegance. Sporty and attractive, not nouveau rich-y "look at me! look at me!".
No, it's not a Porsche, but I can't fit my three year old and two Weimaraners in the back of a 911 either.