2008 Volvo V50 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Cutting-edge style inside and out, sharper handling than you'd expect from a Volvo wagon, ergonomic controls, excellent seats and driving position, available all-wheel drive.
  • Tepid performance from 2.4-liter base engine, gets pricey when options start getting piled on, sport suspension gives it an overly firm ride, below-average resale value.
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Edmunds' Expert Review

With its appealing mix of Volvo safety and Scandinavian style, the 2008 Volvo V50 deserves to be on your test-drive list if you're in the market for a small wagon (or even compact SUV) with a premium feel.

Vehicle overview

Americans have good reason to dislike wagons. Long summers stuffed into the back of a Country Squire will do that to a person with memories still fresh of Dad yelling "don't make me stop this car!" at the top of his lungs. But frankly, those old American wagons were lame, and it's unfair to lump today's small batch of wagons in with them. The 2008 Volvo V50 is one such new-era wagon that should be given consideration. This upscale small wagon provides plenty of interior space, top-notch safety features and plenty of hip, Swedish style that quells the bland image equated with its body style and Volvo nameplate.

For 2008, the V50 has been lightly reshaped front and rear to create a more refined look. Although the original design was always attractive, the changes made to the grille surround and rear bumper are handsome and look more upscale. Inside, the center console has been redesigned to accommodate an auxiliary audio jack, a redesigned handbrake and most importantly, sorely needed additional storage space. The minimalist and 100-percent Swedish cabin design has been left thankfully untouched, but a new Nordic Light Oak optional trim snazzes up the interior with even more of that Svenska style that would be at home in an Ikea catalog.

The turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder of the T5 model has been upgraded by nine horsepower for 2008, bringing its tally up to a healthy 227. This hardly makes the V50 a rocket, but we'll always welcome more power -- especially when it comes with an engine that gets 30 mpg on the highway.

For those willing to sacrifice a little utility for a better driving experience and gas mileage, the Volvo V50 is worth considering in lieu of smaller SUVs like the Acura RDX or Mazda CX-7. Against fellow premium compact wagons, the V50 also stacks up well, offering more cargo space than the Audi A4 Avant but slightly less than the Saab 9-3 SportCombi. These three wagons otherwise compare very closely to each other, so it mostly comes down to which car's overall style tickles your fancy and which best suits your needs. Either way, picking a 2008 Volvo V50 should be more than enough to erase some of those unfortunate wagon memories.

2008 Volvo V50 models

The 2008 Volvo V50 is a premium compact wagon available in three trim levels: 2.4i, T5 and T5 AWD. These names refer to each trim's powertrain. The V50 2.4i comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, an eight-way manually adjustable driver seat, a tilt-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, unusual T-Tec cloth upholstery, manual climate control, full power accessories and a six-speaker Dolby audio system with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack. In addition to its more powerful engine the T5 adds foglamps, an eight-way power driver seat, automatic climate control, aluminum trim, a trip computer and an eight-speaker sound system with in-dash CD changer and satellite radio. The T5 AWD adds all-wheel drive.

Popular options for the V50 are grouped into packages. The Select Package for the 2.4i adds 17-inch wheels, foglights, a power driver seat, a sunroof, Nordic Light Oak wood or aluminum trim, a leather gearshift knob and the T5's upgraded sound system. The T5's Premium Package adds 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, leather upholstery, a power passenger seat, driver seat memory, auto-dimming mirror with compass and Homelink. The T5 also can be equipped with a 12-speaker Dynaudio sound system and the Dynamic Trim package that adds a performance body kit, sport steering wheel and a firmer sport suspension on front-wheel-drive versions. The Climate package available on all V50s includes heated front seats, headlamp washers and rain-sensing wipers.

Leather upholstery is available for the 2.4i, while the T5 can be upgraded with keyless ignition, a navigation system and active bi-xenon headlamps. BLIS is an option on all V50s.

2008 Highlights

The 2008 Volvo V50 receives significant changes. Exterior styling has been freshened and the interior's center console redesigned to increase storage space. Although the base 2.4-liter engine is left untouched, the turbocharged T5 gains nine additional horses for a grand total of 227. An auxiliary input jack is now standard on all V50s, while T5 models gain a standard upgraded sound system with satellite radio. Active bi-xenon headlamps are now an option on the T5, while Volvo's Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) technology is an option on all V50s. The all-wheel-drive T5 is now only available with an automatic transmission.

Performance & mpg

The 2008 V50 2.4i comes with a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter inline-5 rated for 168 hp and 170 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can choose either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic to go with it. The T5 is upgraded for 2008 as its turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-5 now makes 227 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. Both front- and all-wheel-drive T5 models come with a five-speed automatic only. Despite the power increase and the EPA's revised testing for 2008, the V50's fuel economy remains very good. The 2.4i gets an estimated 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway, while the more powerful T5 is nearly identical in both cycles. The T5 AWD gets 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway.


Antilock disc brakes, traction control and stability control are standard on all 2008 Volvo V50s. All models also have front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags along with whiplash-reducing head restraints in all outboard positions. For 2008, active bi-xenon headlights that swivel to illuminate curves are optional on the T5, while BLIS is optional on all V50s.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not crash tested a V50, but its crashworthiness should be similar to the S40 sedan, which earned perfect five-star ratings in side-impact tests, along with four stars for driver protection and five stars for the front passenger in frontal-impact tests. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal-offset testing, the S40 earned a top rating of "Good"; in IIHS side-impact testing, the car rated "Acceptable." These are very good ratings; however, they aren't as tanklike as Volvo's safety-first reputation would suggest.


Although the turbocharged engine in the 2008 Volvo V50 T5 has a somewhat peaky power band and exhibits some lag off the line, it's the better choice for enthusiastic drivers and even gets almost the same fuel economy as the 2.4i. For those looking to keep the price low, the base engine will be perfectly adequate, though. Handling is crisp and entertaining with either the standard or sport-tuned suspension, although some may find the latter's ride a bit too harsh when driving on less-than-pristine pavement.


If you're looking for a hip environment in your compact wagon, the 2008 Volvo V50 is hard to beat. Aside from the handsome new Nordic Light Oak trim, the ultraslim center stack can be adorned in faux metal, real aluminum or an iMac-like white finish. The V50 has more than good looks going for it, though. That center stack features controls that are a model of simplicity, and the materials used throughout are excellent. The ergonomically designed seats are comfortable and supportive, and in concert with the telescoping steering column, provide an excellent seating position. While leather is available, we'd save a few bucks and opt for the standard "T-Tec" upholstery, which breathes very well in hot weather and firmly holds occupants in place during cornering. Cargo capacity is ample at 27.4 cubic feet, and with the 60/40 rear seat folded down, it balloons to 62.9 cubic feet.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Volvo V50.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Love my car... but.
I've had my V50 over 2 years now. No repairs, no problems, some minor issues (buzz in a speaker, vibration here & there) but for the most part, amazing reliability. Tires totally worn at 45,000 miles. Great fuel economy (over 32 mpg on long drives below 70 mph with a/c off). Cargo space limited for a wagon, but fits a lot of stuff. My problem is the seats. No lumbar support, and headrest tilts forward forcing me to push my head forward. Long drives leave me with hip and lower back pain, and now neck pain and headaches. I am having to give up my wonderful car because no amount of padding or support has fixed this. So be very sure the seat supports you fully before you buy.
Great Alternative to others...
When I was shopping a year ago for a nice small wagon commuter car, I looked at many options, VW Jetta TDI, Subaru, Audi A3 and A4. The reviews on this little car swayed my decision to test drive. Owned it a year now and 20k miles later, no disappointments. All cars have quirks, this car has been pleasant. I have had many cars in the past 5 BMWs, 12 VWs and 7 Porsches. I am a car enthusiast, this car has enough character to make it stand out.
Fun little family car
This car drives and feels like a fun little sports car. It has plenty of pep with some room to spare. We have taken it on many road trips loaded down, with a child, dog, and full size stroller. The quality of the workmanship inside and out is spectacular. We have had no mechanical issues whatsoever. A great little family car that gets pretty good gas mileage!
A good move
After 5 E-class Mercedes this was a big step but I'm not disappointed. For 50% of the price I have as much fun driving this car and I don't have to fear being stranded because of quality problems with electronics. The ride is firm but not harsh, a lot like a 3 series BMW. Ergonomics are a bit quirky and I could use more storage space up front. Fuel economy is better than my E500, but not that much! I miss the Bluetooth for the phone. Overall, no regrets

Features & Specs

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More about the 2008 Volvo V50

Used 2008 Volvo V50 Overview

The Used 2008 Volvo V50 is offered in the following submodels: V50 Wagon. Available styles include 2.4i 4dr Wagon (2.4L 5cyl 5A), T5 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 5A), and T5 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Volvo V50?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Volvo V50 trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Volvo V50 2.4i is priced between $4,977 and$4,977 with odometer readings between 128508 and128508 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2008 Volvo V50s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Volvo V50 for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2008 V50s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $4,977 and mileage as low as 128508 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 Volvo V50.

Can't find a used 2008 Volvo V50s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volvo V50 for sale - 9 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $8,819.

Find a used Volvo for sale - 8 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $22,725.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volvo V50 for sale - 6 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $20,256.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volvo for sale - 6 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $21,079.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 Volvo V50?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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