After six months of good experiences with an S40, I bought the V50 as a second car. I wanted something with enough space for the occasional trip to Home Depot, but no ridiculous SUV. The V50 provides a good combination of style, performance, and room. I have owned BMW's, Mercedes, and Audis, and the Volvo compares favorably to all. I opted for the Premium, Sport, and Convenience packages, and the very good auto/manual transmission. After 1000 miles, mileage is at 27 highway. The ride is as expected: European firm, but not harsh. There is no noticeable turbo-lag and acceleration is good, but there is some "rubber-banding", requiring a little practice for a smooth lift-off.
Subtle, tasteful styling that will still look good 10 years from now. A high level of build quality, at least so far. An options list that is reasonably priced and allows you to make your V50 as complete as you want it to be.
Interior storage for small items is limited. A cover for the cup-holder, ala the S60, would improve appearances. Audiophiles will want to upgrade to the Premium sound system. Throttle response could be smoother.