Volvo’s chunky new V50 compact estate was unveiled last week at the Bologna Motor Show. With a starting price likely to be under £17,500, the V50 is designed to bring V70 style to the masses.
Volvo is emphasising sporty appeal rather than practicality with the V50. To enhance the driving experience the V50 has turbocharged engines, a bodyshell stiffer by 34 per cent and uses the next-generation Ford Focus platform.
Spearheading the range will be the turbocharged 2.5-litre, five-cylinder T5, which delivers 220bhp through the S60/V70 R’s six-speed manual gearbox and can be specified with optional Haldex electronic all-wheel drive. Other engines include a 125bhp 1.8-litre four-cylinder and a 170bhp 2.4-litre five-cylinder petrol, each mated to a five-speed manual. The 136bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder common-rail turbodiesel comes with a six-speed manual gearbox. All models are available with an optional five-speed adaptive automatic.
The V50 is wider and taller than the V40, but a cab-forward design makes it 2mm shorter – despite having a 46mm longer tail than the saloon to boost luggage space.Inside the cabin is the same ‘floating’ centre console as the new S40, with a slim panel for stereo, navigation and climate controls and unusual storage space behind. Another S40 feature carried across is the IDIS (Intelligent Driver Information System), which prevents such distractions as the integrated telephone ringing, by delaying the signal until the driver completes a manoeuvre.