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The designers of the 2005 Volvo V50 set out to create a car that would be described as sporty, with a youthful attitude, despite it's obvious practical utility.
Henrik Otto, design director of Volvo Car Corporation, is certain they succeeded.
The sporty lines of the new five-door wagon, its intelligent design features and its flexible interior make it a happy combination of 'sport' and 'wagon.'
"The V50 incorporates a consistent design strategy in which the Volvo character has been included in each new model," Otto says. "Our new sportswagon is indisputably a Volvo but, at the same time, it has its own totally individual and distinct profile - with characteristics from classics such as the Volvo 1800 ES and its most recent predecessor, the V40."
The exterior of the Volvo V50 has a softer rear shape than the very pronounced wagon shape of the V70. The combination of rounded roof and extremely abrupt tail is still clearly wagon-functional but a sporty personality is reinforced by the softly rounded nose, the short hood and the marked cab-forward design.
Both track and wheelbase have been stretched, virtually putting a wheel at each corner. This contributes to the sporty appearance as well as the V50's stability on the road. The longer wheelbase also makes wider rear doors possible.
The Volvo V50 is 46 mm longer than the its four-door sedan sibling, the new Volvo S40. That allowed the section behind the rear wheels to be extended for increased luggage space.
"The luggage compartment is not simply spacious," Otto says, "it is also practical and easy to load, thanks to the vertical side windows and the totally flat load floor."
The hood adopts the classical V shape, while the contour lines of the body - the Volvo shoulders, as they are known - have also been inherited from previous Volvo models. From the rear, the distinctive, high tail lamps clearly identify a five-door Volvo.
Inside, a unique, super-slim, free-floating centre stack links the tunnel console with the instrument panel in an elegant, airy manner. This is an entirely new design in the auto industry, first previewed in the Volvo Versatility Concept Car (VCC) and developed for production in the Volvo V50 and S40.
The controls on the centre stack are both ergonomic and functional. Most of them perform several different functions in a logical, easy-to-use way. The top half of the control panel operates the audio unit while the lower half is dedicated to the climate control unit.
The Volvo V50 is 2 mm shorter than its predecessor, the V40, but it is larger in every other respect.
The cabin can be rearranged in the same flexible manner as the Volvo V70. The rear seat splits into two sections and the backrests fold down. The front passenger seat is equipped with a fold-flat backrest. With the seats folded down, the load floor is completely flat.
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