From £18,825
A sensibly stylish small eco-friendly estate. Not exciting, though
  • First Drive

    Volvo V50 1.6D DRIVe SE Lux

    A sensibly stylish small eco-friendly estate. Not exciting, though
  • First Drive

    Volvo V50 D5 Sport

    A decent alternative to the T5 petrol, but a tad expensive and still lacking in overall load-lugging capacity.

What is it?

This is the Volvo V50 1.6D DRIVe SE Lux, the third model in Volvo’s eco-friendly DRIVe sub-120g/km range.

Volvo is expanding its DRIVe range, with two-wheel drive versions of the XC60 and XC70, and 1.6-litre turbodiesel versions of the S80 and V70, but the C30, V40 and V50 will remain the most carbon-friendly members of the DRIVe range.

The Volvo V50 DRIVe doesn’t get as many aerodynamic tweaks as the C30 DRIVe, but it does benefit from an air deflector behind the grille, wind deflectors at the leading edge of the front wheels, a front spoiler and a set of natty disc-like aero-friendly alloys.

Low rolling resistance tyres are also fitted, while third, fourth and fifth gears have been lengthened for better cruising economy. Lower-friction gearbox oil has even been used to further enhance engine efficiency.

A stop-start version of the Volvo V50 DRIVe will be available from July (as will stop-start versions of the S40 and C30), which will drop the car’s CO2 emissions down to 104g/km, but for now buyers will have to put up with a still creditable figure of 118g/km.

What’s it like?

The V50 DRIVe certainly isn’t hair-shirt motoring. Even in basic S trim, the V50 DRIVe gets climate control, while highlights of the SE Lux model we tested are leather upholstery, aluminium trim, power-fold mirrors and heated front seats.

In town, you don’t feel short changed in the engine department either. The 108bhp, 177lb ft turbodiesel is refined and pulls the 1436kg V50 along with reasonable gusto. Whether it would feel as enthusiastic with a full load of passengers and luggage is questionable. On the motorway, the long gearing means the V50 DRIVe takes its time to wind up to speed but, once there, it feels relaxed and comfortable at outside-lane speeds.

Like any S40 or V50, the V50 DRIVe isn’t a dynamic delight along your favourite B-road, feeling composed but numb. The ride doesn’t suffer from the low rolling-resistance tyres, although lateral grip does, as understeer will set in earlier than a version wearing more ordinary rubber.

Should I buy one?

The V50 is an odd car. It’s classier than, say, a Ford Focus estate, but it doesn’t feel as good quality as an Audi A4 Avant, and it is nowhere near as dynamically engaging as a BMW 3-series touring.

But if you want something tasteful, understated and green, then the V50 DRIVe makes an excellent choice. Of course, it will be even greener when the stop-start version arrives.

Matt Rigby

Join the debate

Comments
15

6 April 2009

Do you get an attachment from JML direct so those wheels can slice carrots and tomatoes, or are they just for use with firmer vegetables?

6 April 2009

Blimey, over 21 grand for a 1.6 litre estate! I quite like it, but Volvo isn't exactly giving away this thing, is it?

6 April 2009

I drove an un-green one of these recently and it was quite nice , apart from some seriously questionable fake wood around the dash / console.

Leather seats were very nicely done. Trouble is , if someone asked me what I drove, and I had to answer "Volvo" I'd want to crawl away and hide

under a stone.

Someone I know bought a new S40 after years of running Renaults.

After two power-steering failures within 12 months they traded it for a new Laguna.

6 April 2009

[quote Uncle Mellow]Trouble is , if someone asked me what I drove, and I had to answer "Volvo" I'd want to crawl away and hide[/quote]

You appear to be stuck in the 1980's. Volvo have a decent image these days.

[quote Uncle Mellow]After two power-steering failures within 12 months they traded it for a new Laguna.
[/quote]

Why on earth would anybody who wanted a reliable car buy a Renault? They are consistantly at or near the bottom of customer satisfaction surveys. Every single person who I know that has had a Renault has had problems with it, and major problems as well.

6 April 2009

I would have expected an Autocar reader to judge a car on its merits, or otherwise, rather than its supposed image.

7 April 2009

[quote Overdrive]Blimey, over 21 grand for a 1.6 litre estate! I quite like it, but Volvo isn't exactly giving away this thing, is it?[/quote]

Fair comment, but you perhaps have not bought a brand new Volvo (I have bought 3) and list price has been of little consequence, more a case of how much do you want to spend!

Best deal I ever got was a new S60 in the precise spec I wanted (£23K list) for £18K and this was pre-recession at the peak of sales!

7 April 2009

[quote Uncle Mellow]

Someone I know bought a new S40 after years of running Renaults.

After two power-steering failures within 12 months they traded it for a new Laguna.

[/quote]

I own a Mercedes C220 CDI, but I've owned and driven many Volvos. I prefer them to BMW's and Audi's. They are much more reliable cars, but the S40's suck more than a Dyson vacuum cleaner. They use Renault engines and parts... and we all know Renault sux :p

If your friend bought a "real" Volvo, I'm sure he/she wouldn't have had any problems with it :-))

7 April 2009

[quote The Apprentice]

[quote Overdrive]Blimey, over 21 grand for a 1.6 litre estate! I quite like it, but Volvo isn't exactly giving away this thing, is it?[/quote]

Fair comment, but you perhaps have not bought a brand new Volvo (I have bought 3) and list price has been of little consequence, more a case of how much do you want to spend!

Best deal I ever got was a new S60 in the precise spec I wanted (£23K list) for £18K and this was pre-recession at the peak of sales!

[/quote]

You've certainly negotiated yourself a fine deal there, my dear fellow, but consider this; if the list price of the car had been lower to begin with, you might've bagged yourself an even lower purchase price. Yes, I realize the counter argument would be that had the list been lower you might not have got a such large discount, but still.

Also, I hazard a guess that many potential buyers would prefer lower prices as opposed to having to haggle them down. Just human nature to avoid hassle, I guess. And there is the added worry of the impact on depreciation if dealers give away big discounts on cars.

7 April 2009

Volvo cars has nothing to do with Renault. Volvo Trucks owns Renault Trucks but Volvo Trucks has nothing to do with Volvo Cars.

Volvo is owned by Ford and the 1.6 diesel engine is provided by the collaboration of PSA-Forda and is built in Dagenham Ford engine factory.The 2.0D engine is built in Skovde,Sweden as all the 5 cylinder diesels and 5,6 and 8 cylinder gas.

Ford supplies Volvo with small 4cylinder engines and Volvo supplies Ford with the bigger ones like those of Focus RS and ST...

7 April 2009

[quote tolis]

Volvo cars has nothing to do with Renault. Volvo Trucks owns Renault Trucks but Volvo Trucks has nothing to do with Volvo Cars.

Volvo is owned by Ford and the 1.6 diesel engine is provided by the collaboration of PSA-Forda and is built in Dagenham Ford engine factory.The 2.0D engine is built in Skovde,Sweden as all the 5 cylinder diesels and 5,6 and 8 cylinder gas.

Ford supplies Volvo with small 4cylinder engines and Volvo supplies Ford with the bigger ones like those of Focus RS and ST...

[/quote] You are correct, however, with the 440/480 and the old S/V40 Volvo use Renualt M3p/M5p Gear boxs in the 1.6 & 1.8 models, along with variousl other parts.

I should know, the only thing that's gone wrong during my ownership of 3 Volvo's is the crappy Renault M3P box in my 1.6 440!

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