Used Volvo for

family budgets

Volvo V50, front
Volvo V50, side
Volvo V50, rear
Volvo V50, interior

VOLVO'S S40 and its stablemate V50 estate are still good buys and an accomplished pair of family cars.

Production ended in 2012, when the current V40 hatch was unveiled, and there is a wide range of engines to choose from.

Most are front wheel drive but there are some four wheel drive estates, which I remember having great fun with when I was lucky enough to drive one in snow and on a frozen lake in Lapland a few years ago.

Both saloon and estate are good looking from all angles and share their chassis with the Mazda3 and Ford Focus of the same era.

The handling is safe and sure, safety is up with the very best and road-holding sticky and sporty.

This is offset by a ride that can be unsettled at times - especially if very low profile tyres are fitted.

Engines range up from a 1.6 petrol with 98bhp to the 2.5 from the Ford Focus ST with 220, and diesels go from 110bhp to 177bhp.

Gearboxes are five or six-speed manual or five-speed automatic, the clutch is a little on the heavy side in manuals and the power steering is excellent at all speeds.

My engine of choice for economy would be the 1.6 Drive-E diesel which was borrowed from Peugeot.

On cars up to 2008 it is capable of 62mpg with low emissions then after that it got stop-start and further refinements, which boosted consumption to 72mpg.

There is high quality fit and finish throughout the interior with plenty of style and hip hugging seats.

Both saloon and estate have comfortable room for four, but five is a squeeze, and the saloon's boot is not that big, even though it does have folding rear seats to make it more versatile

Equipment is never lacking even in the lower end ES models, with climate, CD stereo, alloys and electric windows all round.

FAST FACTS

Price: Pay £5,400 for a '10 10-reg SE saloon, or £9,450 for a '12 12-reg SE Lux estate

Mechanical: 115bhp, 1560cc, 4 cylinder diesel driving the front wheels via a 6 speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 121 mph.

0-62mph: 11.3 seconds.

Combined MPG:72.

Insurance Group: 21

C02 emissions: 99g/km

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