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(2005 model shown)
Volvo's compact V50 is the station wagon version of the S40, and is likewise based on the Mazda3 platform. It also comes powered by either a 168-horsepower, 2.4-liter five-cylinder powerplant, mated to a five-speed manual transmission, or - in the performance-minded T5 model - a 218-horsepower, turbocharged engine that comes with a six-speed gearbox. A five-speed automatic is optional. A Haldex all-wheel-drive system is also available. The vehicle's suspension delivers sporty handling characteristics, thanks to MacPherson struts up front and a multilink design at the rear. As befits the brand, many safety features are on hand and include a stiff structure and Volvo's Side Impact Protection System. A stylish center stack of controls highlights the vehicles' distinctively styled interior. Standard features include four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Emergency Brake Assistance, and front-side and side-curtain airbags. Updates for 2006 include standard steering-wheel audio controls, revised wheels, and improved cupholders.