Volvo V50 T5

Andrew Foster 'I may do a Polestar upgrade to stave off any pesky tuned D5s'

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  • Year: 2009

  • Mileage: 118,000

  • Acquired: 2018

  • Dream car: Volvo 850 T5-R


Why did you choose the car?

My mother had a 480 Turbo and a 940 when I was growing up. They were both brilliant (a holiday to France in the 940) and flawed (the 480’s electrics) in equal measure; they also divided people plainly into lovers and haters. 

Later, my friend’s father had a Volvo 850 T5 that was fantastically quick and made a glorious warble, which I’ve craved ever since.  

I’d owned two V50s before (a dull 2.0 D and a very torquey D5) and was always in search of the more iconic T5 badge and engine. A 2009 high mileage one popped up in brilliant condition at a very dodgy dealership for a stupidly low price on the same day I received my new credit card. It was a foregone conclusion and I drove away with it on the same day.

Later, I discovered on one of the online forums about T5 ownership, that my very car was being discussed back in 2014. I got in touch with the former owner and he told me the car’s whole story.

What’s the best bit?

When you switch it on and are greeted by that brilliant in-line-five sound and a slight crackle from the exhaust. Then there are the knowing looks from other Volvo aficionados (and disapproving ones from purists who condemn it as a less competent Focus ST). Other Volvos also park next to it in the work car park.

What’s the worst bit?

It’s still a V50, so it’s plagued with rattles, squeaks, fragile air conditioning and Beko tumble-dryer quality electrics.

What’s it like to run?

It’s early days, but I expect all the usual V50 expenses relating to the Ford made parts and none relating to the engine and transmission. Fuel economy isn’t as awful as you might think.

Any modifications?

I intend to keep this car mint; they're rare enough to hold their own. In the future, I may have to do a Polestar upgrade to stave off any pesky tuned D5s.

Any advice for buyers?

Only bother with later models (e.g. 2009 onwards) as the older cars come with eye watering road tax (£580).  High mileage is fine, but beware of tatty interiors and cars with sunroofs.  Set aside a grand or so for a mechanical refresh and maintain it thereafter like a Boeing.

Lewis PlumbVolvo, V50, T5, Volvo V50 T5