I don't have a whole lot of experience with Volvos. I did try out one or two models from this Swedish automaker, but not over an extended period of time. Therefore, I was anxiously waiting for the opportunity to spend a full week behind the wheel of the 2008 Volvo V50.
Fortunately, I wasn't disappointed. This compact wagon is fairly basic and clean-looking, yet it boasts some obvious qualities.
Even at first glance, you can't mistake the V50 for anything else than a Volvo. Up front, character lines flank the traditional grille and create a raised hood section. Another trademark is the pair of vertical taillights running along the lines of the car.
Overall, the V50 is attractive and refined. Sixteen-inch aluminum wheels complete this cute Scandinavian package.
That being said, Volvo really has to be commended inside. The interior design of the V50 is pure and understated, while the layout is ergonomic and thoroughly thought-out. The available room is quite surprising given the compact exterior dimensions. As for the seats, they're easily among the best in the business; I had no problems with the many adjustments at my disposal.
To make the car more user-friendly, Volvo added radio and cruise control buttons on the steering wheel. I consider this to be a safety feature as it allows you to avoid distractions and keep both hands on the wheel. Ergonomics are impeccable and the various controls are appropriately sized; you can manipulate them with winter gloves. The climate control system, of which the interface is unique to the Gothenburg-based automaker, offers dual-zone settings, ensuring customized comfort for the driver and front passenger.
There are lots of brushed aluminum accents inside this car, including the now-famous floating center console. I find the latter to be plain yet modern and original.
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