2011 Volvo V50 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent front seats
  • stylish and well-made interior.
  • Not quite a luxury car despite premium pricing
  • handling falls short of true sport wagons
  • all-wheel drive is unavailable.
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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2011 Volvo V50 is a stylish and spacious premium wagon, but there are better choices available.

Vehicle overview

Last year's base-model Volvo V50 was powered by a 2.4-liter five-cylinder engine but it didn't deliver the premium experience you'd expect from a Volvo. Now the base V50 shares the powerful, turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-5 found in the pricier T5 R-Design trim. With this upgrade, it's now more affordable than ever to get your hands on a very nice V50, plus the price of speed is more reasonable than before.

Roominess is certainly one of the 2011 Volvo V50's strong points. A wagon version of Volvo's S40 sedan, the V50 boasts an impressive 63 cubic feet of cargo space with its rear seats folded, placing it ahead of crossovers like the Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLK and wagons like the Audi A4 Avant. Fuel economy is another strength, with the V50 being more frugal at the pump than many rivals in the premium wagon and crossover segments.

Not to be overlooked is the V50's unique Swedish styling. Reflected in both its sheet metal and its cabin is a minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic that sets the wagon apart from the rest. The thin "floating" center stack looks as chic and modern today as it did when the V50 debuted back in 2005. In true Volvo fashion, the V50 also offers supremely supportive and comfortable front seats, as well as the latest in safety technology.

Within the small-wagon segment, there are only a handful of rivals. The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen isn't as quick as the V50, but costs less and delivers comparable interior quality and better fuel economy. The 2011 Audi A4 Avant and 2011 BMW 328i wagon, meanwhile, cost more than the V50, but are sportier and more engaging to drive. The roomier 2011 Subaru Outback is another solid pick. Overall, the 2011 Volvo V50's mix of style and comfort make this wagon a respectable choice, but we recommend shopping around before making a final decision.

2011 Volvo V50 models

The 2011 Volvo V50 is a five-passenger compact wagon that comes in T5 and T5 R-Design trim levels.

Standard equipment includes 17-inch wheels, heated side mirrors, cruise control, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an eight-way power driver seat with memory settings, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, neoprene-like T-Tec upholstery (also known as Dalaro), Bluetooth and an eight-speaker stereo with CD player, auxiliary audio jack and USB/iPod audio interface.

The T5 R-Design adds aluminum roof rails, a sunroof, sporty exterior trim, a sport-tuned suspension, partial leather upholstery, a power passenger seat and special R-Design floor mats, steering wheel, gauges and shift knob.

A Preferred package is offered for the base T5 and adds a sunroof, a power passenger seat and leather upholstery. The Climate package is available with both trims, and includes headlight washers, automatic wipers, automatic climate control and heated front seats. The Multimedia package adds a navigation system and a 12-speaker premium surround-sound system that includes satellite radio. Stand-alone options include a blind-spot warning system, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, integrated rear booster seats, keyless ignition/entry, satellite radio and rear park assist.

2011 Highlights

For 2011, the base Volvo V50 2.4i is replaced with a T5 trim that is similarly equipped, but offers a turbocharged engine. All-wheel drive and a manual transmission are no longer offered.

Performance & mpg

All 2011 Volvo V50s are powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-5 good for 227 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a five-speed automatic with manual-shift capability. Volvo predicts a 0-60 sprint of 6.8 seconds, and estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined.


The 2011 Volvo V50 comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and whiplash-reducing front head restraints. Optional features include integrated rear booster seats and a blind-spot warning system.


The turbocharged engine is a good performer, and it makes this car a kind of Mazdaspeed 3, only with a more refined chassis and powertrain. When the road is winding, the 2011 V50 is stable and confidence-inspiring, and it doesn't give up much to the more expensive Audi A4 Avant and BMW 3 Series. Sadly, the discontinued all-wheel-drive option makes this car less attractive for those who live where weather is a serious issue, but the added cost had limited its appeal. Altogether, the Volvo V50 Wagon is often overlooked, yet it delivers the experience of a European-tuned wagon in a very compelling way.


If you like to shop at Ikea, or at least admire the company's modern designs, then the 2011 Volvo V50's interior should strike your fancy. The centerpiece is the slim center stack suspended between the console and the dash. Nearly everything about the S40's interior design is a direct challenge to the relatively austere interiors found in competing models. The R-Design in particular features cool two-tone seats and blue-faced gauges, although the overall effect is high-tech, not luxurious.

Most of the controls are straightforward to operate (the navigation system being the major exception) and the ergonomically designed seats are extraordinarily comfortable and supportive. The rear seat folds 60/40 to reveal a maximum cargo capacity of 63 cubic feet, just a shade less than the Jetta Sportwagen's rear cargo hold.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2011 Volvo V50.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

bigger and better
I have an 04 V40 with 70K miles and have had exactly 1 mechanical (one of the tumblers on the ignition lock failed). The V40 was a Mitsubishi joint venture and that car feels more Japanese than the V50. The V50 is bigger, heavier, roomier, safer, more powerful and gets about the same mpg's. Both cars have an elegant simplicity to them. The V50 is understated and easy to live with. If I drive slow I average 25 mpg with a mix of highway and around town. If you need power its there. The 5 cylinder turbo has been in production for years and should be reliable. 5 years 60K mile bumper to bumper warranty and free maintenance is unmatched. Like all Volvo's = many safety features.
A good car, but could be better
Owned v50 for over a year. Styling is excellent. After a year, still like looking at the car. The interior is unequaled in this class, high-end minimalism, nothing annoying visually. Power is not one horsepower more or less than 'average'. Wish it had 5 more horses at least, but not bad. Disappointing mileage--18-19 city, and maybe 22 highway. Should be better! The handling is so-so. The suspension takes bumps fairly hard, and feels 'rough' on dips and larger bumps or road imperfections. Just stable enough. Feels European, in a good, but not great way. Good utility. Good space. Visibility is compromised by FAT pillars. Overall, recommend this car. But... don't love it really.
Sadly we're mostly disappointed
Well in a little over a year and I'm done with this car. The quality is just not there for the money. Things break inside and out. Examples: The plastic cap on the e-brake pops off and is now floating around the car; the rear tow hook bumper plug broke and fell out, so thats now missing; the front seat covers on the back that are roll under and clipped in pop off and are lose. The engine is loud... almost sounds broken. The brakes give off sooooo much dust if you don't wash the wheels twice a week in a month they'll be black. The tires that came stock, out of a list of 30 different tires are number 27... almost the worst you can get. Not exactly Safe+Sound!!! Snow tire are a must!!!
Factory delivery is the best!
Irecently picked up my car at the factory in Gothenburg, Sweden, and cannot say enough for the quality of that experience alone. Volvo goes all out to take care of every detail. This is my second time signing for the car in Sweden. My 2nd experience was as flawless as the 1st. Now to the car..WOW! A beautifully built car, wonderful to drive even on the snowy streets and freeways of Europe in a major snowstorm. I kept up with the best of the experienced drivers on the "fast" Autobahn in Hamburg, Germany. I bought the R design and it is stunning, inside and out. Try the overseas program Volvo offers, it truly is the best in the world. Now, about the local dealership in Monterey, CA.. The best!

Features & Specs

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More about the 2011 Volvo V50

Used 2011 Volvo V50 Overview

The Used 2011 Volvo V50 is offered in the following submodels: V50 Wagon. Available styles include T5 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 5A), and T5 R-Design 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2011 Volvo V50?

Price comparisons for Used 2011 Volvo V50 trim styles:

  • The Used 2011 Volvo V50 T5 is priced between $8,888 and$8,888 with odometer readings between 114861 and114861 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 2011 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) 2011 Volvo V50 for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2011 V50s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,888 and mileage as low as 114861 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 2011 Volvo V50.

Can't find a used 2011 Volvo V50s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volvo V50 for sale - 4 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $21,654.

Find a used Volvo for sale - 10 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $14,439.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volvo V50 for sale - 8 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $12,124.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volvo for sale - 5 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $15,101.

Should I lease or buy a 2011 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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