Volvo V50 (2004 – 2012) Review

Volvo V50 (2004 – 2012) At A Glance


+Classy-looking compact estate with very good ride comfort and tidy handling. A fine long-distance cruiser. The UK's most popular Volvo.

-Not everyone gets on with the floating dashboard. Boy Racer packages like the expensive R pack not suited to Volvo clientele. Expensive problems with diesels more than three years old.

Insurance Groups are between 16–32
On average it achieves 84% of the official MPG figure

Last year I wrote a rave review of the new Volvo S40. It was the first time for a long time a car had exceeded all my expectations. That test covers the 170bhp and 220bhp 5- cylinder automatics, so if they are the engine and gearbox combinations you are interested in, you'd better read it after this.
Here I look at the new Ford/PSA 2.0 litre diesel version of the V50, which is anticipated to account for 50% of V50 sales, and the All Wheel Drive 220bhp V50 T5, which arrives later in the year.

There's no doubt it's a gorgeous looking car. Like the Audi A4 B6 Avant which is its most direct competitor, the V50 has even more eye appeal than the saloon. It's attractive from all angles; beautiful at the front, neat at the side and butch at the back.

Volvo V50 2004 Road Test

Car seat chooser

Child seats that fit a Volvo V50 (2004 – 2012)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

Real MPG average for a Volvo V50 (2004 – 2012)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

24–68 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

Satisfaction Index

Satisfaction Index What is your car like to live with?

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Ask Honest John

I want to replace my Ford C-Max soon - what Estate do you suggest?
"I'm thinking of replacing my Ford C-Max next year. The contenders are a Volvo V50, Skoda Octavia Estate or VW Passat Estate? What are the pitfalls of purchasing a high mileage vehicle (75,000+ miles and around 10 years old.) I need an estate with enough room for a large dog crate and comfortable enough for someone with a bad back."
Provided they've been serviced regularly, you'd probably be better buying a high-mileage diesel than a low-mileage one. Diesels are best suited to regular motorway driving to clear the diesel particulate filter. I'd be worried about buying one with low miles that's mainly been used for local journeys around town. Bear in mind that a 10-year-old car with 75k on the clock will only have covered 7500 miles a year, which is pretty low. Out of your shortlist, the Octavia represents the best value for money.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Should I go for petrol or diesel with my next car?
"I'm thinking of replacing my 2012 diesel Volvo V50 with a 3 or 4 year old Porsche Macan. Should I go for the 2.0 petrol rather than the diesel variant? We will not be towing anything so don't need the extra grunt. It would be a long term keeper, too."
It depends on your mileage. If you cover lots of motorway miles (12k a year or more) then a diesel makes sense. For shorter mileages or lots of town driving, go for the petrol.
Answered by Andrew Brady
I recently bought a faulty Volvo V50 - the dealer won't respond to me, so how can I reject the car?
"I bought 2009 Volvo V50 on 11 November and it went to my Volvo garage for a service on 21 November. Pre-service showed numerous faults, some serious. I have contacted the trader asking for my money back with no reply. What is my next step as I am aware this is time-sensitive (within the 30-day rejection period)? "
Formally reject the car by letter, outlining the reasons, sent to the trader by Post Office Special Delivery, telling him that you will be returning the car to him on a specific date within the 30 day period and that you want a full refund of everything you have paid him or you will sue. Take a copy of the letter and staple to it the Post Office Certificate of Posting so that becomes a matter of record. Assuming the cost of the car was less than £10,000, if the trader does not refund our money you can sue him for it using:
Answered by Honest John
Is the dealer liable for not doing the recall on my Volvo V50?
"Recently, I had an issue with my Volvo V50's fuse box/electrics smouldering causing smoke to enter the cab and the fire brigade being called. The car is now a write off and the insurance company will not pay out as it's classed as an electrical fault. I have since discovered that Volvo issued a recall (Recall No: R39247) which was made two months before I purchased the car. The dealership I brought the car from did not do the recall. There is a chance that the fault is directly linked to the recent issue with the fuse box/wiring. The dealership I purchased the car from have offered to have a look at the car but if the issue is not as a result of the recall fault I would have to pay a hefty bill for their investigation work. Also if I do go down the route of having the investigation work done how would I know if their results are true as I have been told that to prove what caused the wiring/fuse box to melt would be extremely difficult. Could they refuse liability because I did not get the vehicle serviced with a Volvo dealer? What would you recommend, should I limit my losses and walk away or continue with the claim against Volvo? I purchased the car in 2012 and although not worth much it is still frustrating to lose an important asset."
If you took this to Small Claims against the supplying dealer simply on the basis that it had failed to carry out vehicle safety recall work on a car it then sold to you in a known, unsafe condition, I think there's a chance you would win on that basis alone. Not guaranteed, but a chance. The dealer knowingly sold you a car in an unsafe condition contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. Small Claims here:
Answered by Honest John
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