The V50 sport wagon tested by Car and Driver is the top of the line version, with a 2.5 liter turbocharged engine making 218-hp and a Haldex AWD setup that runs like a front-driver until slippage is detected. Except for the dearth of a six-speed transmission that will arrive in December, the V50 is adored by the C&D crew in almost every way. It's quicker than Audi and BMW all-wheel-drive wagons, it has a terrific suspension and brakes that likewise outperform those of the aforementioned, and the aesthetics are back up to the handsome austerity of the old pre-Ford Volvo. The interior is roomy and comfortable for front-seat passengers, but the back seat is snug and better suited for children and dogs. The only other quasi-complaint is the additional 500 pounds added to the curb weight of vehicle, which looks like a lot on paper, but is quickly overcome on the road by the peppy engine and controlled handling dynamics. The test car is loaded to the gills save a navigation system, and stickered at nearly $35,000. It may seem like heavy coin for a non-Teutonic nameplate, until you realize that the V50 spanks the Germans in nearly every way, except for perhaps cachet.


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