V50 DRIVe SE Start/Stop
V50 DRIVe is a hidden gem
for tax dodgers… well, not exactly
tax dodgers; just us motorists who
want a sensible, medium-sized car
of high specification with a desirable
OUR CAR MUST HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO PERFORM well, to be comfortable and fuel-
and CO2-frugal, which of course leads to us being clobbered for less tax: less
road tax for retail buyers; less Benefit-in-Kind tax for company car users.
And less fuel tax for all of us. And for those travelling to London in a V50
estate, it's now free of the Congestion Charge because of its 99g/km
CO2 emission level.
Food for thought the Volvo V50 DRIVe, because of its 99g/km emissions,
is in VED road tax band A, the same as a Toyota Prius hybrid hatchback meaning
no road tax plus it's roomier and nicer to drive.
The V50 DRIVe is also lower for VED than a Honda Insight Hybrid hatchback which
costs £20 a year. Unfortunately, not being a Hybrid means 13% BIK company car
tax instead of the 10% the Prius and Insight incur. No wonder Volvo claims the
V50 DRIVe to be the most versatile sub-100g/km vehicle on the market today.
V50 is no 'spring chicken' in the Volvo range it's about five years old
but the DRIVe, with the new 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine, has given it
a fresh lease of life although other 2.0/2.5-litre petrol and 2.0-litre turbodiesel
models are still in its line-up.
Cycle fuel economy is an
and during my brief test
drive over busy
country roads, the V50
DRIVe returned a very
It's a medium sized estate car, just over 4.5-metres long with a five door layout;
five seats and with load space of 417 litres with all seats in position and
1,307 litres with the rear ones folded flat.
V50 prices range from £19,495 to £26,260 with ES, SE, SE Lux and R-Design specifications
depending on which engine is chosen. The DRIVe versions with ES, SE and SE Lux
levels of specification and all these fuel-frugal models have Start/Stop as
standard. The new DRIVe 1.6-litre turbodiesel models range in price from £22,425
The V50's main competitor is, ironically, probably Volvo's own new V60 estate
launched at the end of last year. The V60 model is slightly larger than the
V50, looks more modern, costs more to buy and as yet does not have a DRIVe version.
Other rivals for the V50 include the smaller Audi A3 Sportback, BMW 3 Series
Touring, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate, Ford Focus Estate and the new Vauxhall
Astra Sports Tourer. None, however, match the tax savings and low CO2 emissions
of the V50.
Inside, the V50 DRIVe estate there is no saloon version there
is ample room for five adults and the estate load area, while not huge, is perfectly
adequate. It's well put together and it is very comfortable.
The specification is relatively high but not modern-day glitzy; a bit bland,
in fact, but it has all the core essentials such as electrically-operated windows
and door mirrors, air conditioning, a good sound system, loads of safety equipment,
steering wheel remote controls and alloy wheels and it feels solid and
well made. Stability and traction control systems are standard-fit items.
The handling and ride comfort are exactly what most people want a very
comfortable ride quality. The suspension ironed out potholes with relative success
and it felt well planted on the road, if not quite as sharp or as uncomfortable
as its modern day competitors.
it's in the performance versus running costs equation where this DRIVe version
excels. Initially, before looking at the specification, the turbodiesel engine
felt like a 2.0-litre unit rather than the new 1.6-litre engine.
The new 1.6-litre
turbodiesel felt like a
2.0-litre unit and
with 113bhp it was very
responsive with good
torque so very flexible at
low speeds and quick
to react when
more was asked of it...
With 113bhp it was still very responsive, with good torque (177lb ft from 1,750rpm)
so it was very flexible at low speeds and quick to react when more was asked
of it. And strong enough to tow a braked 1,300kg.
The six-speed manual transmission works well with this unit and even top gear
can be used at relatively low speeds driving over winding roads. On the open
road, it felt relaxed and unruffled at high speeds.
The official Combined Cycle fuel economy is an amazing 74.3mpg and during my
brief test drive over busy country roads in Berkshire and Hampshire, the V50
DRIVe returned a very creditable 55.5mpg.
The figure that sticks out most though is the 99g/km of CO2 emissions which
means a £0 cost for road tax. For a car of this size and class that is remarkable
and company car drivers will also enjoy the low 13% Benefit-in-Kind tax charges.
Top speed is a not-insignificant 121mph and zero to 62mph acceleration takes
a brisk 11 seconds. For the record, the Start/Stop system worked really well
and I didn't find it intrusive in the least.
For an estate car of this size and quality, the V50 Estate DRIVe is brilliant
for fuel economy, with very low CO2 emissions, no road tax costs, low BIK company
car tax, no London Congestion Charge and it's stylish and good to drive.
It is just a pity that with all the fuel and tax savings costs the V50 DRIVe
offers, the SE specification model I tried costs £24,240, so to really save
money I'd go for the ES version at £22,425 which still has all the equipment
that most drivers can happily live with in today's cost conscious world.
Volvo V50 DRIVe SE Start/Stop | £24,240
Maximum speed: 121mph | 0-62mph: 11 seconds | Overall Test MPG:
Power: 113bhp | Torque: 177lb ft | CO2 99g/km