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TheCarConnection.com's editors drove the new Volvo V50 in order to give you an expert opinion. TheCarConnection.com's car enthusiasts researched available road tests on the new Volvo to produce this conclusive review and to help you find the truth where other car reviews might differ.
Volvo’s small V50 wagon returns for the 2009 model year with significant revisions inside and out.
A longer list of standard and luxury features highlights the changes for the 2009 Volvo V50 sport wagon. The base 2.4i receives a high-performance sound system with six-disc in-dash CD player and MP3 capability, Sirius Satellite Radio, 17-inch "Spartacus” wheels, aluminum inlays, power moonroof, front fog lights, power driver's seat, and Bluetooth.
For 2009 the front-wheel-drive V50 T5 was discontinued, but the T5 AWD remains and is enhanced with standard aluminum roof rails, power driver seat memory, heated front seats, Bluetooth hands-free phone interface, and auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass. The T5 AWD also receives a unique grille with matte silver surround and R-Design logo, a sport body kit with color-coordinated side skirts and front and rear spoilers, Off Black Flextech/Crème premium leather seats, aluminum sport pedals, sport shift knob, R-Design inlays, watch dial instrument cluster, and sport steering wheel.
The 2.4-liter inline five-cylinder engine powering the V50 2.4i makes 168 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque, and it's mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. At 31 mpg on the highway, fuel economy is especially good in the 2.4i. The higher-powered V50 T5 models take on the turbocharged, 2.5-liter inline-five, which functions especially well with the five-speed automatic; the engine increases from 218 to 227 horsepower.
The 2009 Volvo V50 T5 AWD model has the latest version of the electronically controlled Haldex all-wheel-drive system. The system relies on slippage from the front wheels before torque is sent to the rear, but responds well to the V50’s needs on wet or slippery roads.
In general, the 2009 Volvo V50 has the refined responsiveness of a larger sport wagon. Both the 2.4i and T5 models offer impressive stability and poise during high-speed cruising and when navigating curvy mountain roads. Though the ride of the T5 can be somewhat pitchy at lower speeds, the handling of the T5 feels markedly sportier than Volvo’s larger sedans. Road noise is not the problem it can be in other small wagons and sedans, although the T5 is a bit louder in TheCarConnection.com's experience.
The interior design of the 2009 V50 is especially distinctive with a thin, "flat panel" center control stack housing audio and climate control functions. A pass-through area between the driver and passenger foot wells provide a feeling of greater spaciousness. In front, generous seats permit an upright, near-perfect position for most, but the backseat area is quite limited in legroom.
Active bi-xenon headlamps, which swivel in the direction the car is steered, are available on the 2009 Volvo T5 AWD, as are a navigation system and keyless drive. Safety features are by no means forgotten; Volvo’s Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) is an option on the V50, along with a new integrated child booster-seat system—a Volvo exclusive.
The 2009 Volvo V50 has not been crash tested, but standard safety features on the V50 include front side impact airbags, side curtain bags for front and rear outboard occupants, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control.