Matt B SuperDork
Sept. 26, 2014 12:18 p.m.

So, my wandering eye noticed that these seem like they might be under-appreciated gems at first glance. 218hp/236ft/lb compact turbo wagons with available (but Haldex) AWD, handsome-enough styling, with a more usable hatch than a WRX. Unfortunately the manual versions seem to be unicorns, but the wife seems to be ok with the idea of an automatic at least for a few years (I'll probably stick to driving the GSR). Some other magazine tested them and they were faster than the 325ix and A4 Avant 3.0 Quattro in 2005. Only the WRX/Saabaru beat them in that test.

That said - reviews online point to a bunch of nickel-n-dime problems, but nothing catastrophic unless you count the guy with auto tranny issues. I guess it could be the usual vocal minority, but I'm not really sure since I've never heard a peep about them otherwise. We would be looking at 05-08 examples with 75K-125K on them for under $10K if it matters. I guess I'm curious if the used ones are usually a problems-sorted-by-now situation or a sword-of-damocles thing.

Given the choice, I'd take one like this:

xflowgolf Dork
Sept. 26, 2014 12:48 p.m.

We've got an '08 with 140K on it now. We bought it in 2010 I think with roughly 50K on it. T5 fwd auto trans.

Wife drives it as it's her car.

It's been flawless. Never no-started. never left her stranded. Drives great.

Only ever worked on it for preventative maintenance. Timing Belt/fluids/brakes/etc. Nothing failed earlier than would be expected.

The A/C just went out on it this past summer, that's probably the only hickup we've had.

It's been flawless otherwise, and is surprisingly quick (then again I drive a diesel... so lots of things seem fast). ha.

Back when we bought it, the only real knock on it was it was overpriced relative to competition. Volvo depreciation buying used nullifies that. Far more luxury fit/finish than a comparably sized Subaru. These were basically the same underpinnings shared with Ford/Mazda/Volvo that underpinned the Euro Focus that was raved about at the time.

We'll probably sell it in the next year, as we've got 2 kids now, and the oldest is in kingerdarten, starting sports and after school activities, so my wife wants to be able to play mom taxi with a 3-row vehicle, and the Volvo gets real tight real fast trying to take a friend anywhere with our youngest in a rear facing toddler seat.

Doing wagon things:

Interior is nice IMO.

Matt B SuperDork
Sept. 26, 2014 1:54 p.m.
xflowgolf wrote: ...the Volvo gets real tight real fast trying to take a friend anywhere with our youngest in a rear facing toddler seat.

So, I assume this means the front passenger seat room gets compromised with a rear-facing rugrat bucket?

Thanks for the review btw!

Junkyard_Dog SuperDork
Sept. 26, 2014 4:15 p.m.

I foolishly passed on a Silver/Black V50 T5 AWD 6MT a few years ago because the dealer was an shiny happy person. They ARE out there.

bmw88rider HalfDork
Sept. 26, 2014 4:52 p.m.

See the thread we had on the S40/C30. They are all of the same. I have a C30 and its been mechanically perfect. It's been a good car. Not the world's most exciting thing but a great DD and can make you smile.

Streetwiseguy PowerDork
Sept. 26, 2014 4:54 p.m.

Having driven both, I'd take the automatic, but I have big feet, and the pedals are tight, plus its a Volvo, and Volvos are for soccer moms, not sports car people.

xflowgolf Dork
Sept. 26, 2014 8:22 p.m.
Matt B wrote: So, I assume this means the front passenger seat room gets compromised with a rear-facing rugrat bucket? Thanks for the review btw!

While that is also true, I meant more in reference to width wise across the back. With a rear facing and a booster seat, cramming a 3rd person back there is a tight squeeze. These aren't big cars, but that is part of the appeal.

It definitely also is tight in the passenger seat with the rear facing car seat behind it. At 6'2" I can barely ride there, knees in the dash style.

With one kid, or no kids, it was great. The rear cargo space is far better than most of the small CUV's on the market.

curtis73 UberDork
Sept. 26, 2014 10:18 p.m.

Earlier models had a tendency to get a blocked oil return line from the turbo and it would blow oil past the seals, but I can't say whether or not they dealt with it adequately. I'm sure that much of that problem had to do with maintenance, but its something to research.

Matt B SuperDork
Sept. 28, 2014 3:44 p.m.
Junkyard_Dog wrote: I foolishly passed on a Silver/Black V50 T5 AWD 6MT a few years ago because the dealer was an shiny happy person. They ARE out there.

Good to hear, but they seem even more rare than BMW manual wagons. I'll keep an eye out though.

Matt B SuperDork
Sept. 28, 2014 3:45 p.m.
curtis73 wrote: Earlier models had a tendency to get a blocked oil return line from the turbo and it would blow oil past the seals, but I can't say whether or not they dealt with it adequately. I'm sure that much of that problem had to do with maintenance, but its something to research.

Thanks, I'll look into that

Riley_88
Riley_88 New Reader
Sept. 28, 2014 9:27 p.m.

A friend of mine is the Business Manager for a Volvo dealer and he speaks very highly of them. He seems to suggest going front wheel drive versus all wheel drive. About the only issue he mentioned is availability. They don't kame an appearance on the used market too often.

nepa03focus HalfDork
Sept. 28, 2014 9:58 p.m.

I was wondering about these as well. There is a fwd r title one on my local cl I was wondering about too. It's got horrible stick on Buick port holes and trashed front seats but looks good other wise and is under 4k. I may take a look at it.

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