The V50 Sportswagon belongs to Volvo's versatile V-range, along with the Volvo V70, and is produced at Volvo's plant in Ghent, Belgium. The Volvo V50 is the best selling Volvo model in the UK selling 9,429 units in 2008. It is also Volvo's best-selling model globally with 62,085 in total sold in 2008.
The Volvo V50 is a thoroughly modern Sportswagon. Stylish and dynamic with typically simple Scandinavian style, yet versatile and great value compared with many other premium brands, it appeals to customers who need a Sportswagon to enhance their active lives.
While instantly recognisable as a member of the modern Volvo family, this Sportswagon asserts its own strong identity. Viewed from above, the Volvo V50 has a boat shape with a curved front tapering down to the rear, and this, coupled with its cab-forward proportions, helps to emphasise its sporting aspirations. While the stacked rear lamps and near-vertical tailgate are familiar, the car has a softer, more sculptured rear end than a more traditional estate, such as the Volvo V70. Subtle modifications to the grille and front fog lamps also help differentiate it from its saloon car sibling, the Volvo S40.
Inspired by classic Scandinavian design themes and high-tech electrical equipment, the interior has a layered construction that focuses attention on a unique, ultra-slim, free-floating centre stack. This houses the controls for the audio system and climate control, and includes a display for a menu system that allows the driver to personalise preferences for door locking/unlocking, and audio settings, etc.
The Volvo V50 is 46mm longer than the Volvo S40 saloon, with an overall length of 4522mm. At 1457mm in height and 1770mm wide (not including wing mirrors), sitting on a wheelbase of 2640mm, it offers a spacious cabin environment for up to five adults. With the rear seats in place, there's a generous 417 litres of cargo space and this can be extended to a maximum of 1307 litres by folding flat the split/fold rear seats. The front passenger seat back also folds forwards to allow extra-long loads to be carried.
The Volvo V50 appeals to younger, professional people. Its most obvious rivals are other premium brand compact estates, such as the Audi A4 Avant and the BMW 3-series Touring. They are attracted by the Volvo V50's combination of style and design, practicality and, above all, premium brand quality.
The Volvo V50 is a Sportswagon - a sporty, dynamic, youthful five-door car with a smart, modern design. The rear of the Volvo V50 Sportswagon has a softer, more sports-orientated design than a typical Volvo estate, such as the Volvo V70. This effect is also enhanced by the softly rounded nose, the short bonnet and the cab-forward design.
Designed by Volvo's talented design teams in Gothenburg, Barcelona and California, the V50 captures Volvo's premium values in a more compact package. The result is instantly recognisable as a member of the modern Volvo family, but also asserts its own, distinct identity and takes the Volvo design language in a new direction.
The Volvo V50 is 2mm shorter than its predecessor, the Volvo V40, but its front track is 63mm longer, while its wheelbase is 78mm longer. The wheels are pushed out to each corner, which benefits the styling, the interior packaging and the car's dynamic stability.
Viewed from above, the body resembles the shape of a boat hull, with a rounded prow, a broad midship section and a narrowing stern. "We wanted it to look solid and efficient, which is why it has a boat shape," explains a Volvo designer.
In combination with Volvo's familiar broad shoulder line, this ‘boat shape' promotes an impression of power and dynamism as well as contributing to the Volvo V50's smooth aerodynamics: the drag coefficient is Cd 0.31.
Customers who wish to emphasise the sporting credentials of their Volvo V50 are offered a choice of R-DESIGN and R-DESIGN SE models with fully integrated bodykit including front and rear spoilers, side skirts and a rear roof spoiler, all of which are painted to match the colour of the car.
For 2009 Model Year, the Volvo V50 benefited from a larger and more widely spaced exterior emblem on the boot lid making the Volvo brand easier to spot from a distance. The car experienced a few more changes in 2008 Model Year where it moved closer to the Volvo V70 estate, with a sportier new grille and headlamp layout and distinctive three-part front air intake and features Volvo's deep-set chrome-collared grille and larger Volvo badge. The V50's distinctive rear styling benefited from slimmer tail light units that are equipped with LED brake lights, enhancing the car's shoulders. A new boot handle, restyled bumper and a revised pair of exhaust pipes complete the look. Restyled lower door mouldings and side sills also underline the visual changes between old and new Sportswagon models.
The Volvo V50 Sportswagon is available with a range of six modern engines that reflect its role as a premium alternative. The lowest CO2 emitting 1.6D DRIVe engine boasts 119 g/km and 62.8 mpg and is available across all trim levels. To lower this figure even further to just 104 g/km and up to 72.4 mpg this engine is also available with extra efficiency enhancing features and Start/Stop technology - these enhancements are only available on the 1.6D DRIVe in S, SE and SE Lux trim levels.
1.6D DRIVe with Start/Stop
1.6D DRIVe without Start/Stop
16v, 4-cyl turbodiesel
22.4 (20.9 G)
44.1 (43.5 G)
32.5 (31.4 G)
37.2 (36.2 P)
58.9 (56.5 P)
48.7 (47.1 P)
8E to 10E
8E to 10E
Min kerb weight
Steering/turning circle, m
Rack and pinion; 10 - 6 all models
5-speed manual: 1.6, 2.0, 1.6D
6-speed manual: 2.0D, T5
5-speed Geartronic: T5
6-speed Powershift: 2.0D
Brakes: Front discs:
1.6, 2.0, 1.6D: 15in - 278mm ventilated; 2.0D: 16in - 300mm ventilated
T5: 16.5" - 320mm ventilated
280mm (all models)
Load capacity: litres
Rear seats up
Rear seats down
Load length: rear seats up
Load length: rear seats down
Width (inc mirrors)
Front/rear track width
1457 (exc roof rails)
12,500-mile/1-year (whichever is first)
Full technical data, prices and options information available in price lists, or downloadable at http://www.media.volvocars.co.uk/
The 2.0-litre petrol delivers smooth performance (0-60 mph in 9.0 seconds) together with respectable fuel economy (a combined figure of 38.2mpg), a maximum speed of 130mph and CO2 emissions of 176g/km.
The five-cylinder petrol powerplant is based on the low-friction units found in larger Volvos, but was extensively revised and repackaged for installation in the Volvo V50. The latest generation is called RNC, with the ‘C' indicating Compact.
The 2.5-litre T5 is available with optional five-speed Geartronic transmission and boasts four valves per cylinder and dual overhead camshafts, together with CVVT (Continuously Variable Valve Timing), to maximise torque at low engine speeds and to reduce exhaust emissions.
The performance flagship of the Volvo V50 range is the 2521cc T5. Equipped with a light-pressure turbo, it generates a potent 230 PS at 5000rpm and emissions of 203 g/km. The peak torque output of 320Nm is available all the way from 1500-5000rpm, proving that top-end thrust need not be achieved at the expense of mid-range flexibility. The manual T5 rockets from
0-60mph in just 6.4 seconds and will reach 149mph. But despite its high performance, it still achieves an excellent 32.5mpg on the combined cycle.
The 1997cc 2.0D features second-generation common-rail technology, delivering an unbeatable combination of power, refinement and frugality. The 2.0D has a maximum power output of 136 PS, while the peak torque of 320Nm is available at just 2000rpm; it covers the 0-60mph increment in 9.0 seconds and reaches 127mph.
But while the 2.0D's acceleration is petrol-like, its economy underlines the value of diesel power. With this engine, the Volvo V50 Sportswagon returns an outstanding average of 48.7mpg and its carbon dioxide emissions are just 153 g/km. This is not only great news for the environment, but also provides company car drivers with useful tax savings. The engine complies with Euro IV emissions regulations. A Volvo Powershift transmission was introduced as an option in early 2008, this six-speed unit features twin wet clutches to provide the gear changing comfort of a fully-automatic transmission with the performance of a manual gearbox.
The 1.6 petrol engine offers good performance and economy - and value for money. The 1.6 provides 100PS and 150Nm of torque, 0-60mph in 11.4 seconds, emissions of 169g/km and 39.8mpg on the combined cycle.
The DRIVe sub-120g/km CO2 range
The DRIVe sub-120g/km CO2 range showcases Volvo's ability to produce increasingly efficient vehicles with outstanding economy to rival even the smallest diesels. With the help of special DRIVe wind deflectors and a lowered chassis, the V50 with the highly efficient 109 PS 1.6D DRIVe engine boasts CO2 emissions of just 119 g/km, enabling customers to benefit from the low £35 per year tax band C. The fuel consumption now offers up to 62.8 mpg on the combined cycle.
All DRIVe models benefit from a lowered chassis - ride height on all three models has been dropped by 10mm. This lower ground clearance reduces fuel consumption at the same time as lowering the centre of gravity that, consequentially, has a positive effect on the car's handling. Front airflow deflectors have also been moulded into the body ahead of the front wheels to help channel airflow and a lower, front lip spoiler has been added.
Road wheel design was another area of development and drag has been cut with the adoption of a new, flush-style 16-inch diameter alloy wheel dubbed the Diamond Cut Libra (optional upgrade to alternative alloys available). As for tyres, Volvo worked closely with Michelin to develop a compound with uncompromising handling and wear characteristics coupled with low rolling resistance.
Further economy benefits were made by optimising engine and gearbox management software and introducing electrohydraulic steering. There is also a Gear Shift Indicator that informs the driver of the optimum time to change gears and achieve better fuel consumption. The final ingredient is a low friction transmission oil used in the gearbox. Individually, the modifications may seem small, but combined they produce a dramatic effect on overall efficiency.
The DRIVe enhancements are available across all trim levels including the sports inspired R-DESIGN specification to offer low levels of emissions and the highest levels of visual appeal. The changes detailed above enable the cars to keep the full R-DESIGN bodykit including front and rear spoilers, lower door trim and side skirts as well as roof and lip spoilers and 17-inch five spoke alloy wheels. The interior also carries all the familiar R-DESIGN features such as upholstery in cream leather and off black Flex-Tec, R-DESIGN centre stack and blue instrument dials.
Volvo V50 1.6D DRIVe with Start/Stop lowing CO2 emissions to 104 g/km
In order to reduce CO2 emissions to 104 g/km, the V50 1.6D DRIVe model is also available with further efficiency enhancing features. One of which is an intelligent Start/Stop function that allows the engine to switch off when the car is at a standstill.
The Volvo V50 1.6D DRIVe with Start/Stop all feature the same modifications as the standard 1.6D DRIVe cars, but they also benefit from underbody panels for improved aerodynamics, a covered grille and a DRIVe rear spoiler.
This DRIVe model has also been equipped with two intelligent new features. The first is a Start/Stop function that allows the engine to switch off when the car is at a standstill.
When the driver puts the gear lever into neutral and releases the clutch while at a standstill, the engine switches off. The next time the driver presses the clutch, the engine starts up again. This technology has reduced fuel consumption and thus CO2 emissions by 4-5 per cent in mixed driving conditions. Start/Stop technology is particularly effective in urban traffic, when the saving can be as much as 8 per cent.
When the car is at a standstill and the engine is switched off, some electronic systems such as the air conditioning step down to standby level in order to save fuel. However, Volvo's Start/Stop system continuously monitors the comfort level and automatically reactivates the air conditioning if, for instance, the temperature increases in the passenger compartment. The system does not set any limits for comfort-focused features such as the sound system or other facilities that the occupants will want to maintain.
This innovative monitoring system has been made possible due to an additional small battery which supports the larger battery by providing extra power. Thanks to this extra battery, Volvo's DRIVe models also feature particularly quick and smooth start-up. The audio system also remains unaffected when the starter motor is activated. This distinguishes Volvo Car's solution from other systems offered by the competition. The standard larger battery has also been upgraded to handle up to 175,000 Start/Stop cycles.
The driver continuously receives feedback about system status via the in-car information display. The Start/Stop function can be engaged and disengaged via a DRIVe button in the centre console and in the default setting, the function is activated.
The second new feature in the V50 1.6D DRIVe with Start/Stop is a regenerative charge facility. This charges the battery as soon as the driver releases the accelerator or brakes while a gear is engaged. By harnessing the car's kinetic energy, the alternator does not have to use diesel fuel as a power source to recharge the car's battery. Fuel savings of between 2 and 3 per cent have been achieved with this function.
The compact Volvo V50 Sportswagon delivers an engaging, dynamic driving experience with a high level of active safety. To achieve this, it makes use of a sophisticated suspension system, a high level of torsional rigidity, a wide track and the latest electronic stability systems.
"A modern Volvo should obey the driver's slightest command - immediately and without fuss," says Peter Ewerstrand, the Volvo V50 project manager. "It should be as enjoyable to drive as it is safe. We had particularly high ambitions for the Volvo V50 and we're more than pleased with the result. This is a car you'll truly look forward to driving whenever you get the chance."
The body of the Volvo V50 is 34 per cent stiffer than that of its Volvo V40 predecessor thanks to advanced body design and the use of high-strength materials, including Ultra High-Strength Boron Steel. This high level of torsional rigidity allows the suspension to do its job properly and its provision was integral to the car's design. It benefits not only the ride and handling characteristics of the Volvo V50, but also its crashworthiness.
A further contribution to the Volvo V50's exceptional stability is provided by the wide track (1535mm front, 1531mm rear) and long wheelbase (2640mm). The former helps improve the car's balance, enabling it to cope with high cornering forces, while providing clear and consistent feedback to the driver.
The long wheelbase, meanwhile, contributes to a balanced weight distribution with a low minimal moment of inertia. In practical terms, this enhances the steering response and helps ensure that the Volvo V50 responds in a controlled, predictable manner in all circumstances, making a major contribution to active safety.
The advanced, independent suspension system employs spring struts at the front, the geometry of which has been carefully calculated to provide quick and precise steering response, enhancing the car's sports appeal. The rear suspension is a sophisticated multi-link system, which permits a small degree of passive rear wheel steering when cornering. This helps to maximise stability and control. Anti-roll bars also feature at both ends.
DSTC, EBD and EBA
The carefully honed mechanical set-up is supported by the DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control), which is standard on every model. Arrays of sensors monitor the car's behaviour and if it starts to skid, DSTC will automatically brake individual wheels to help the driver regain control. The traction control element also works to alleviate the problems of wheelspin, ensuring that the Volvo V50 delivers a safe, positive driving experience in all weather conditions.
Every Volvo V50 benefits from ABS brakes with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) and EBA (Emergency Brake Assist) which senses an emergency stop and automatically brings the car to a halt in as short a distance as possible.
STEERING, BRAKES AND TRANSMISSIONS
The Volvo V50 Sportswagon has an electro-hydraulic power steering system that has been developed to optimise driver feedback and response. This helps the driver place the car accurately on the road and to assess the available grip.
Ventilated disc brakes are fitted at the front and rear.The disc size is adapted to engine power and wheel rim size, up to a maximum diameter of 16.5in (320mm). As you'd expect from Volvo, an anti-lock braking system is fitted as standard and this is joined by EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution), which constantly distributes braking power between the front and rear wheels to ensure maximum retardation regardless of the road conditions or how the car is laden.
Every Volvo V50 model is also equipped with EBA (Emergency Brake Assist). This system automatically senses when an emergency stop is required and adjusts the braking pressure so that the car comes to a halt in the shortest possible distance.
The 2.0 petrol engine is mated to the latest generation of Volvo's five-speed manual gearbox, which has a triple synchromesh to provide faster, more positive changes.
The range-topping T5 uses a six-speed manual gearbox. The ratios have been carefully matched to the engine's characteristics so as to combine strong acceleration with a high top speed. The gearbox has a triple synchromesh and a reassuringly direct shift action.
The 2.0D offers six forward ratios, but this gearbox is not the same unit as that fitted to the T5. The ratios have been chosen to complement the diesel's 320Nm of torque and to provide effortless pull throughout the engine range. The V50 2.0D is also available with the new Volvo Powershift transmission which was introduced as an option in early 2008, this six-speed unit features twin wet clutches to provide the gear changing comfort of a fully-automatic transmission with the performance of a manual gearbox.
Operating as two parallel manual gearboxes, Powershift has twin wet clutches that work independently of one another. One clutch controls the odd gears (1, 3, 5 and reverse) while the other handles the even ratios (2, 4 and 6). The two clutches operate alternately with one engaging while the other disengages, like a slip clutch. This means that at the same time as the engine gets full power and maximum thrust in first gear, second gear is placed ready to be engaged. And when second gear has been engaged, third gear is readied, and so on. This gives a continuous flow of power without any disruption in power delivery or any torque loss. This results in extremely fast and smooth gear changes whilst maintaining acceleration allowing 0-60mph to be reached in 9.2 seconds and boasts a top speed of 127mph.
Apart from gear changing comfort and high performance, Powershift also contributes to delivering improved fuel efficiency. The Powershift Automatic offers an impressive combined fuel consumption of 47.1mpg and a CO2 figure of 159g/km in the Volvo V50.
Powershift gives the driver an automatic transmission that permits sequential gearchanges, just like with Volvo's Geartronic transmission. The difference is that with Powershift even manual gearchanges take place without any time or power losses. Also, unlike a conventional automatic transmission, Powershift does not need a torque converter, planetary gears or multiple wet clutches, there is also none of the added torque losses that these features bring.
The Geartronic system is available as an option on the T5. The Geartronic system is fully adaptive - it automatically adjusts its shift patterns according to an individual's driving style and can be shifted into ‘manual' mode if required.
The interior of the Volvo V50 represents nothing less than a revolution in car design. Its focal point is an ultra-thin central instrument stack, which appears to be free-floating in space. This is a world first for the automotive sector and was previewed on the Volvo VCC (Versatility Concept Car). It is a reflection of Volvo's Scandinavian design heritage and its commitment to premium quality. "The super-slim format is the ultimate icon of the car and a revolution in itself," says its chief designer, Guy Burgoyne.
Volvo's design team were influenced by the Scandinavian design tradition of clean surfaces and uncluttered lines. They drew inspiration, for example, from the elegant simplicity of the classic compression-moulded Series 7 chair, designed by the world-famous Arne Jacobsen. Trends in high-tech electrical equipment, such as cameras, audio systems and computers, were also studied. Notes were taken on how the designers use and combine new materials so that they form part of the user-experience. These disparate influences - classic Scandinavian style and high-tech innovation - were combined to create a radically different interior concept.
The interior is built up of several visual layers. The first is an edge that flows around the base of the windscreen and along the door frames, trimming the entire interior. This provides occupants with the impression that they are safely ensconced in a cocoon.
The second layer is the primary fascia, which is minimalist. The air vents and secondary controls are positioned in individual islands, while the main instruments are grouped in two round gauges, surrounded by contrasting metal bezels. The choice of fascia finish is also significant - Volvo has eschewed the traditional leather look in favour of a new texture that conveys a sense of cutting-edge technical innovation.
The ultra-thin central instrument stack forms the uppermost layer. Boasting a prominent position in the centre of the car, it fulfils the role of a remote control unit in a contemporary home entertainment system. Constructing such a novel feature was no easy task: "It required considerable ingenuity and hard work to find a technical solution for this super-slim format," explains Burgoyne. But no-one will doubt that the hard work has paid dividends. The slim design creates a feeling of luxurious space and the effect is enhanced by ‘theatre style' illumination, which discreetly draws the occupants' attention to the unit.
The centre stack has a Bauxite grey metallic finish in S models and aluminium in SE and SE Lux models. R-DESIGN and R-DESIGN SE models have the unique R-DESIGN Deco Aluminium finish. Introduced in late 2009 is the new Oyster Burst inlay, which boasts a colour which shifts subtly from light to dark back to light again, and is available as a no cost option on SE and SE Lux models and a cost option on S.
Comfort and convenience
While the interior of the Volvo V50 Sportswagon places an emphasis on style, form has not been allowed to take precedence over function. The fascia ergonomics have been carefully designed and drivers will find that the controls are sensibly sited and within easy reach. The driver's seat is multi-adjustable and the steering wheel adjusts for both rake and reach, ensuring that drivers of all shapes and sizes can get comfortable.
The orthopaedically designed seats benefit from a range of fabrics, including Boda textile for S models, Dalarö T-Tec for SE and Leather/T-Tec fitted to R-DESIGN models. T-Tec is a material that has been specifically developed for Volvo and was inspired by sportswear and travel accessories. Hardwearing but comfortable, the leather T-Tec trim option features the R-Design logo highlighting the car's dynamic appeal. SE Lux benefits from Leather faced upholstery as standard.
Customers will also be delighted to discover an interior packed with clever solutions. The development of the ultra-thin technology, for example, enabled Volvo's designers to introduce a useful storage area behind the central stack, which can be accessed from both front seats.
There is also plenty of room for passengers. At 1770mm wide (without mirrors) and 1457mm tall, with a 2640mm wheelbase, the Volvo V50 offers excellent interior space. Five occupants can travel in comfort and they all benefit from a full three-point safety belt system and a head restraint.
The new Volvo V50 is self-consciously a Sportswagon: "The emphasis has been placed on attractive design and a sense of sportiness, with a ‘bonus' in the form of practical details and extra luggage space," said Volvo Car's then President and CEO, Hans-Olov Olsson at the V50's world debut.
But the size of this ‘bonus' should not be underestimated. The Volvo signature stacked tail lamps and near-vertical rear door create a wide aperture through which large, awkward items can be loaded.
The versatility of this space is enhanced by the split/fold rear seats, which fold to provide a completely flat load surface. The front passenger seat also folds forwards to allow 3m long items, such as a surfboard, to be carried.
QUALITY AND EQUIPMENT
A passion for high quality lies at the heart of the Volvo brand's core values. It is inherent not only in the build quality that reflects the ruggedness, durability and reliability for which the marque is renowned, but also in the choice of trim materials.
From the exquisite, free-floating centre instrument stack to the discreet ‘theatre lighting', the Volvo V50 exudes a feeling of quality and well-being. The switchgear has a solid, chunky feel, reminding occupants that they are enjoying a premium product. Plus, like other Volvos, the V50's interior is emissions-free as all interior trim materials conform to Oeko-Tex standards and are allergen-free.
Customers in the premium sector don't compromise. They expect a high level of luxury equipment and the Volvo V50 does not disappoint, especially when compared with many other premium brand rivals. For example, every Volvo V50 includes an Electronic Climate Control with Volvo's Air Quality System (AQS), alloy wheels, key integrated remote locking and alarm, DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) as well as all the expected Volvo safety features - including SIPS (Side Impact Protection System), IC (Inflatable Curtain), and WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System).
Volvo offers five trim levels for the V50:
Even the entry-level ‘S' model specification includes:
The 'R-DESIGN' model offers the same specification as the ‘S', but adds:
The ‘SE' trim boasts the following enhancements over the ‘S' model:
The 'R-DESIGN SE' combines the features of the 'SE' model with the sporty enhancements of the 'R-DESIGN Sport' and adds silver roof rails.
In addition to the features of the 'S' and ‘SE', the luxurious ‘SE Lux' model has:
The Premium model is the ultimate upgrade. The combination of Leather-faced upholstery and Satellite Navigation System (RTI) is designed to complement the existing high levels of specification on SE, SE Lux and R-DESIGN models with the 2.0 and T5 petrol and 2.0D diesel engines.
Every Volvo V50 features Volvo's Intelligent Driver Information System (IDIS). A car industry first, IDIS uses technology derived from fighter aircraft.
The IDIS function continuously analyses the driver's activity by monitoring steering wheel movements, the position of the accelerator pedal, the indicator function and so on. This information is then processed and each moment is assigned an activity level.
Under normal circumstances, the driver is able to receive phone calls, traffic information, text messages (not while driving) and system warning lights. But when the road conditions require full concentration - such as when they are braking or overtaking - all non-essential signals from the telephone and peripheral systems are withheld until the incident is past.
IDIS is pre-programmed to accommodate future information and communication systems. The more infotainment functions the car possesses, the greater the benefit of IDIS.
The sophisticated electronic networking that makes IDIS possible also allows owners to personalise their Volvo V50's security and audio settings. For example, the Volvo V50's central locking system can be programmed via the menu option on the centre stack to offer the following options:
The settings for the audio system's functions can also be customised - news and traffic alerts can be prioritised, for instance.
Customers can pick from a vast range of optional extras, and some are conveniently grouped together to offer better value, such as the Winter, Family, and Communications packs:
Heated front seats, headlamp cleaning system, luxury floor mats
Integrated booster cushions x 2, power child locks and Passenger Airbag Cut Off Switch
Satellite navigation system (RTI) (with RDS-TMC, map data on hard disk), Keyless Drive and Bluetooth® Hands Free System
There is also a vast range of options designed to accommodate the varying needs of Volvo V50 owners. Active bending headlights, integrated GSM telephone in the dashboard, integrated child booster cushions for the rear seats, and the added convenience of ‘Keyless Drive' which, as long as the key is within a certain radius of the car, allows automatic unlocking of the car without using the remote unit and then using a switch on the dashboard to start the engine.
Other practical accessories include ski, surfboard, towbars, or bicycle carriers. And it's even possible to specify a table for the rear centre armrest, which is great news for customers with young families. Each item is designed and built with the same attention to detail as the rest of the car and integrates beautifully into the overall package.
Volvo employs its own audio development team, rather than relying on an outside supplier. This ensures the audio systems are tailored to suit the acoustic properties of each model.
The standard, high-quality Performance can be further upgraded with the optional High Performance and Volvo Dynaudio Premium Sound system.
The Dynaudio Premium Sound audio system features Dolby Pro Logic II Surround SoundTM with centre speaker and digital sound processor, 5x130w amplifier with a total music output of 650w, 1xCD and a total of 12 speakers, as well as MP3/WMA compatibility and an auxiliary jack input to enable customers to connect personal MP3 players. The result is extraordinary resolution and perfect sound dynamics. These components have been tuned to produce the best possible surround sound everywhere in the car. Even rear occupants are able to hear the sensation of surround sound over the entire music frequency range.
The Dolby Pro Logic II system produces five unique sound channels. Listening to surround sound from the Premium Sound audio system is like sitting in the best seat in front of a live orchestra -you feel you are actually there.
RTI with RDS-TMC
Satellite navigation systems are becoming increasingly popular. Volvo's Satellite Navigation System (RTI) includes RDS-TMC (Traffic Message Channel) which pre-warns of traffic problems and can re-route the driver, if necessary.
The RTI system uses a large, eye-level, remote-controlled colour screen that retracts into the fascia when not in use. It is linked to a hard disk system that can display route information for the whole of Europe, and can be controlled using a joystick-style switch on the back of the steering wheel or by passengers using a remote control.
Volvo On Call
Volvo On Call is a valuable personal safety and security feature using advanced telematics. The system uses an integrated GSM telephone with a built-in GPS unit for satellite positioning, and ensures help is always close at hand.
Volvo On Call - safety package: Volvo On Call comes with a safety package. If an airbag or seat belt pre-tensioner is triggered in the event of an accident, Volvo On Call automatically calls the Emergency Services via BT999 and can also provide data of your location. Alternatively, pressing the red ‘SOS' button on the integrated GSM telephone will put you straight through to the Emergency Services.
Also, if the car breaks down or you need help, pressing the Volvo On Call button will put you straight through to a Volvo On Call operator who is only a call away at any time of day to offer personal services such as route guidance or to guide roadside assistance to you.
Volvo On Call - security package:An optional Volvo On Call security package offers the added benefits of a remote door unlock facility if you lock the keys in the car, notification if the alarm is activated and vehicle tracking if the car is stolen.
In the future, there is great potential for Volvo On Call's services to expand; they could include automatically contacting your local dealer when a service is required.
As you'd expect, the Volvo V50 Sportswagon is supported by a comprehensive warranty. The standard mechanical warranty is three years/60,000 miles (whichever comes first), plus there's a three-year unlimited-mileage warranty on the paintwork and 12 years' cover against rust perforation. In addition, all Volvos are covered by one year's free RAC cover, which provides full breakdown and recovery assistance, anywhere in Europe, 24 hours a day.
Volvo's commitment to safety is as old as the company itself. As Assar Gabrielsson, one of the founders of Volvo, declared: "Cars are driven by people. The guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo, therefore, is - and must remain - safety."
The engineers' safety target for the new Volvo V50 was as simple as it was challenging: to replicate the high level of safety offered by the much larger V70 estate and Volvo S80 saloon.
"This was a tough challenge and one that we approached in an entirely new way," says Thomas Broberg, Senior Safety Advisor for Volvo Car Corporation. In a compact bodyshell, the deformation must be absorbed in a much shorter distance than it is in a large car. The torsional rigidity of the Volvo V50 is 34 per cent greater than its predecessor, the Volvo V40, which improves its crashworthiness. However, to achieve the desired deformation characteristics, Volvo's engineers had to adopt a novel and ingenious approach to the design of the frontal structure.
The structure of the Volvo V50 Sportswagon has been divided into different zones and different grades of steel were employed in each area. The outer zones are responsible for most of the deformation, while those closest to the passenger compartment are designed to remain largely intact, protecting the occupants. The zonal system is one of Volvo's many patented safety designs.
Low-speed deformation zone - The front bumper incorporates a rigid crossmember of Boron steel (Ultra High-Strength Steel). This section takes the form of a ‘crash box' which is capable of absorbing the forces of a low-speed collision without damaging the rest of the body structure. The crash boxes can then be replaced individually, reducing repair costs.
High-speed deformation zone - The straight sections of the side members are made of High-Strength Steel, which is extremely ductile and optimised for high energy absorption. The addition of upper side members provides significant protection should the vehicle collide with, for example, a truck. This zone accounts for most of the deformation in a collision.
Back-up zone-The section around the A-pillar acts as a barrier for the passenger compartment. Made of extra high-strength steel, this structure is extremely rigid and also helps to prevent the front wheels penetrating the cabin.
Three-way attachment-A rigid cross-member connects the A-pillars and the lower side members. On each side they form a rigid three-way attachment, which helps to maintain the integrity of the cabin in a severe crash.
The Volvo V50's high-tech transversely-mounted engines also make a valuable contribution to its crash performance. The five-cylinder units are 200mm slimmer than those found in the larger Volvo saloons and this helps liberate space between the engine and passenger compartment. In a collision, the engine can be pushed 150mm rearwards before the engine block makes contact with the cross-member near the bulkhead.
Many of the advanced interior systems from the Volvo S80 have been incorporated into the design of the Volvo V50. The steering column deforms by up to 140mm in a horizontal plane, so that the driver's airbag remains in the optimal position. In the event of a severe impact, the pedal assembly will also collapse to prevent injury to the driver's lower legs.
The two front airbags are ‘intelligent' and deploy in two stages according to the severity of the accident, alleviating the risk of facial injuries caused by the occupants' faces impacting with the airbag. They are complemented by three-point safety belts with tensioners, which are fitted for all five occupants. The tensioners activate within a few thousandths of a second in the event of a collision and tighten the belt for maximum protection. The front seat safety belts then release a little so that the driver and passenger are cushioned by the airbags in a controlled manner. A seat belt reminder system is fitted in the front and rear of the car - an audible signal is activated if any of the occupants fail to buckle their seat belt.
The Volvo V50's side impact protection is no less impressive. The Volvo V50 is 54mm wider than its predecessor, the Volvo V40, which liberates extra space for deformation in the event of a collision. The dynamics of the SIPS (Side Impact Protection System) are shared with the larger Volvo S80. A large part of the force of a collision that would otherwise penetrate through the side of the car is dissipated by SIPS via beams, pillars, the floor, the roof and other parts of the car body.
The side impact airbags play an important role in protecting the chests of the occupants. They are fitted in the outer edge of the front seats, not in the door, which ensures that they're always securely positioned next to the occupant's side, whatever the position or angle of the seat. They are also larger than they were in the previous-generation Volvo V50 to provide more effective hip and chest protection.
Further protection is provided by the IC (Inflatable Curtain) airbag, which sits in the headlining and protects both front and rear occupants. In the event of a side impact, the Curtain inflates in a few thousandths of a second and then remains inflated for about three seconds in order to provide maximum protection throughout complex collision sequences.
Volvo introduced WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System) in the S80 saloon, and it is now fitted across the Volvo range and helps prevent neck and back injuries in a rear impact. In the event of an accident, the entire backrest moves rearwards to reduce the strain on the occupant's back and neck. Then, when their back has been safely restrained by the backrest, it inclines backwards in order to reduce the force that would otherwise throw their head forwards. WHIPS reduces acceleration forces on the neck by about a half.
The WHIPS front seats have been made deliberately robust so that they can withstand high loads from items such as unsecured luggage, but they are also capable of yielding in the event of a severe crash, when strength and flexibility are both required. "Our seats are far sturdier than those usually found in the compact segment," says Broberg.
Volvo's engineers have also made special provision for protecting the next generation. Both of the outer rear seats can be fitted with integrated child booster cushions for children above three years of age. The front passenger airbag can be disabled with a key and the front passenger seat is factory-prepared for fitting a rearward-facing child seat - it has special anchorage loops so that it can be attached using the seat belt.
The Volvo V50 Sportswagon has been designed to minimise the risk of injury to pedestrians and cyclists in the event of an accident. The smoothly shaped front has an energy-absorbing structure ahead of the bumper which serves to reduce the risk of leg injuries.
The bonnet and front wings have also been designed to absorb collision energy and the petrol-engined models have a generous 70mm of free space between the top of the cylinder head and the bonnet, which reduces the risk of pedestrian head injuries.
A passenger airbag cut off switch is available to enable a child seat to be carried in the front of the car, while, in the rear, Volvo has also paid special attention to child safety.
Two integrated booster cushions are available for the rear seats for children aged between 4 and 10 as part of the optional 'Family Pack', which also consists of the Power Child Locks and Passenger Airbag Cut Off Switch.
Volvo's holistic approach to vehicle design also extends to the field of personal security, and it has won overall ‘Best Manufacturer' in the annual British Insurance Car Security Awards (BISCA) two years running (2004 and 2005).
The Volvo V50 Sportswagon was engineered in association with Thatcham, the world-leading automotive and technology centre, and the car is fitted as standard with a wide range of features designed to protect occupants from burglary, theft and assault.
An electronic immobiliser makes it impossible to start the car without the correct key. If a thief does manage to get in, via a window, for example, the deadlock system makes it impossible to open a door from the inside. The Volvo V50 is also equipped with electronic ‘anti-theft' marking and uniquely identified control modules, while the audio equipment is an integral part of the on-board electrical system. As an option, laminated side windows may be specified, which are extremely difficult to smash. This is an unusual feature on a car in this segment.
The sophisticated locking system of the Volvo V50 Sportswagon can be individually tailored across a wide range of settings via a menu system on the centre stack. For example, the remote control can be set so that a single ‘plip' opens all the doors, or just the driver's, and the indicators can be set to flash when the doors are locked or unlocked. It is also possible to set the doors to lock automatically when the car pulls away and to open and close the windows with the remote control.
Another important contribution to personal security is provided by the Home Safe and Approach lighting system. By pressing a button on the remote control when approaching the car, the driver is able to turn on the inside lights, the side marker lights and the lights in the rear-view mirrors. On leaving the car, a tweak of the headlight stalk activates the dipped-beam headlamps, lighting a path to the door. The headlamps can be set by the driver to stay on for 30, 60 or 90 seconds.
Volvo On Call
Volvo On Call is an advanced telematics system and another valuable personal security feature. The system uses an integrated GSM telephone with a built-in GPS unit for satellite positioning, and ensures help is always close at hand.
Volvo On Call comes with a standard safety package. If an airbag or seatbelt pre-tensioner is triggered in the event of an accident, Volvo On Call automatically calls the Emergency Services via BT999 and can also provide data of your location. Alternatively, pressing the red ‘SOS' button on the integrated GSM telephone will put you straight through to the Emergency Services.
Also, if the car breaks down or you need help, pressing the Volvo On Call button will put you straight through to a Volvo On Call operator who is only a call away at any time of day to offer personal services such as route guidance, or to guide roadside assistance to you.
The optional Volvo On Call security package offers the added benefits of a remote door unlock facility if the keys are locked in the car or lost, notification if the alarm is activated and vehicle tracking if it is stolen.
These simple but effective security features combine to offer considerable peace of mind and contribute to the comfort and convenience of owning a Volvo V50 Sportswagon.
Volvo's ‘Clean inside and out' programme represents a holistic approach to the environmental impact of the car. It focuses on health, resource utilisation and the ecological consequences of the production, use and disposal of the vehicle.
Volvo's annual Corporate Sustainability reports, along with information on all Volvo Car's environmental activities, is available at www.volvocars.com/citizenship.
The Volvo V50 has been designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible. It is being built at the Volvo Car Corporation's Ghent factory in Belgium. Over 340 million Euros have been invested in the facilities and both the manufacturing processes and the substances used have been chosen to minimise the environmental impact of production. For example, the plant uses chromium-free body material pre-treatment, water-borne exterior paints and CFC-free materials.
The materials used in the manufacture of the Volvo V50 have been equally carefully chosen. Eighty-five per cent by weight of the car can be recycled. The plastic components are marked to facilitate recycling and recycled felt and wood-fibre materials are used in some interior trim components.
The Volvo V50's on-board systems have also been optimised for environmental efficiency. For example, the catalytic converters are located close to the engine, the oxygen sensors (Lambdasond) are located both up and downstream of the catalyst and the Volvo V50 has a system for recovering evaporated fuel vapour (EVAP).
The five-cylinder petrol engines fitted to the Volvo V50 have been developed to minimise emissions. For example, the manifold and turbo unit in the T5 engine have been cast together in a high-alloy cast steel that has a high level of heat resistance (1050 degrees). It requires less petrol to cool it so the engine can be run with a leaner mixture, promoting lower fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.
Low CO2 emitting DRIVe range
Reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emission level offers a range of benefits, both for the environment and the buyer's pocket. The full DRIVe range now includes the XC60 crossover, V70 and XC70 premium estates and S80 executive saloon. The C30 SportsCoupe, S40 saloon and V50 Sportswagon all offer outstanding CO2 emissions of 104 g/km thanks to the introduction of an intelligent Start/Stop system.
Volvo's holistic approach does not rest with the vehicle's exhaust emissions. While most drivers are familiar with vehicle emissions and air quality issues, many do not know that the air inside their cars may also be harmful, or that the metals, textiles and leathers used in car interiors can emit volatile substances, which activate allergies and skin conditions. But not in a Volvo.
The interior of the Volvo V50 has been designed to comply with a strict international standard called Oeko-Tex, which ensures that all the materials used are hypoallergenic and free from hazardous substances. The components on the Volvo V50 that most frequently come into contact with the skin - the door handle, ignition key and safety belt locks - are also compliant with Oeko-Tex and allergen-free.
Every Volvo V50 benefits from Volvo's Air Quality System (AQS) and pollen filter. This constantly monitors the cabin environment to minimise odours and pollutants entering. It uses an activated carbon filter to ensure that the air inside the car is always cleaner than that outside. The air-conditioning system also incorporates an air filter that prevents dust, pollen and exhaust gas particles entering the car.
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