From £18,825
A decent alternative to the T5 petrol, but a tad expensive and still lacking in overall load-lugging capacity.
  • 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’s new?Volvo has slotted in a version of the five-cylinder turbodiesel (previously seen in the S60, V70, XC70 and XC90) into the S40 saloon and V50 estates. And it’s the first time it’s offered a diesel in these ranges with an automatic option. What’s it like?The D5 is being pitched as a diesel alternative to the T5 Sport and in V50 form at least it looks every bit as chunky as its petrol-powered brother. The diesel performs well, with a hefty 258lb ft of torque (more than the T5) to pull the Focus-based V50 around.The ride is slightly fidgety on poor surfaces and it is prone to a little understeer but on an open road it’s still a decent drive, helped by weighty steering . Nor is there much diesel clatter either, even if the low-frequency hum can’t compete with the T5’s burble. Should I buy one?A worthwhile alternative at the top end of the baby Volvo ranges. Just bear in mind that it has the same lack of overall load capacity as the T5 and that at the thick end of £25k, it’s not cheap. John McIlroy

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