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Volvo V50 T5 SE – on sale now

Volvo

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Review

It’s ironic that Volvo, a carmaker that was once renowned for making big, boxy and very sensible vehicles, is now well known for producing estate cars that manage to combine sharp styling and performance while still retaining an ambit of practicality.

The T5 variant has become the epitome of this. First seen in the 850 range, it has now made its way into the new V50 line-up. And as the Swedish would say, it’s kvick, very kvick.

The 220bhp engine is smooth and along with the slick gearbox makes driving in traffic very easy.

But when you change down a gear and plant that right foot, it’s a very different beast. The five-cylinder unit growls into life like Satan awakening all his legions and the T5 turns from tea with the local vicar into punk rock live. On narcotics.

The in gear performance is just as affecting and makes overtaking more of a moral compulsion rather than a chore. And there’s the handling, which appears to have forgotten its part of an estate. Even in the wet it is sublime with just a whiff of torque understeer to add to the fun and on high-speed corners the V50 just oozes confidence, with plenty of feedback from the steering.

There is a price to be paid for all this performance though. The T5 is thirsty. 32mpg may be the official figure, but even with plenty of motorway driving it’s difficult to get it above 29mpg. But then if you wanted economy the diesel would be your first option.

The quality of the interior is excellent with an upmarket and very modern feel including the floating centre console from the new S40 while the exterior looks stylish while still retaining that sturdy Volvo-esque appeal.

Price: £29,042
Engine: 2.5-litre 220bhp
Transmission: 6-spd manual
Performance: 0-62mph 6.9sec; top speed 149mph
Efficiency: 32.1mpg combined; 209g/km CO2
Rivals: Alfa Romeo 156 GTA Sportwagon, Audi S4 Avant, BMW 330i Sport Touring, Jaguar X-Type Estate

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