For 2007, the Volvo V50 wagon receives minor updates. T5 models received new Cursa-style 16-inch wheels, while the optional Sport Package comes with new Zaurak-style 17-inch wheels. The T5 and 2.4i models equipped with the optional Audio Package now have an auxiliary audio input jack. All models receive a new overhead console design and new rearview mirror, and an $800 Keyless Drive system is now available as a stand-alone option.

The wagon version of the S40 sedan, the V50 is built on a global platform also used by the Mazda3 and European Ford Focus. It’s available as the 2.4i, with a 2.4-litre, naturally-aspirated inline five-cylinder engine, or as the T5 with 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine. The T5 also comes as the T5 AWD, with a Haldex electronically-controlled system that delivers most of its power to the front wheels until it detects slippage, whereupon it sends torque to the rear wheels. The 2.4i uses a five-speed manual gearbox, the T5 a close-coupled six-speed manual; both can be optioned to a five-speed automatic with manual mode.

The 2.4i includes 16-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors with puddle lights, rear fog light, 60/40 folding rear seat, cruise control, manual climate control, power windows with auto up/down on all four, tilt and telescopic wheel, and CD player with six speakers.

The T5 adds stability and traction control, 16-inch alloy wheels, colour-coordinated door mouldings, power sunroof, front fog lights, height-adjustable folding passenger seat, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, dual-zone electronic climate control, high-performance sound system with eight speakers, and trip computer. The T5 AWD adds traction control and dynamic chassis.

The V50 is an attractive vehicle, with quality materials and workmanship, and with a more practical envelope than its sibling S40 sedan for those who like to haul a little more cargo. But up front, small-item space is sorely lacking; its “floating” centre stack looks great and glows at night, but it contains no cubbies, and the small storage area behind it is difficult to access. Its heater and audio controls are small and fiddly, and requires a bit of a learning curve to figure them all out.

The V50 handles more like a sport sedan, with sharp and responsive steering, and its shifter and clutch are almost organically smooth. But large-shoe buyers beware: the pedals are small and close together, and with the manual, you may find there’s no room beside the clutch for your left foot between shifts.

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