You can't ask to feel too much safer than when you're driving an AWD Volvo. The somewhat compact V50 T5 AWD is determined to keep you and your passengers safe with safety equipment that they would never consider optional: air bags, ABS, side-impact beams, passenger safety cage, and a whiplash protection system (WHIPS).
The Swedes have also earned their reputation for comfort, which you'll realize when you sit in the ergonomically-designed bucket seats. Convenience has a big role, too; standard equipment found on this higher-priced trim includes a power-adjustable driver seat, trip computer, and dual-zone electronic climate control. The leather gearshift knob and aluminum inlays pretty up the interior, while the polished exhaust end pipes spiff up the view for the guy who's tailgating you.
But let's get to the meat of the matter, the thing that sets this car apart from the other V50s. It's the combination of a relatively efficient 218-horsepower, turbocharged 5-cylinder engine and the confident feeling of all-wheel drive. The engine provides sufficient power for this wagon, but you won't be able to tow more than a ton.
Even a car with this much standard equipment leaves a few decisions to be made. For one, manual or automatic transmission. This is more a question of budget, since the Geartronic automatic also allows manual shifting at the driver's discretion. Cold is a relative concept, so almost everyone at some time appreciates the heated front seats, which come as part of the Climate Package (along with headlamp washers and rain-sensing windshield wipers). The highest-priced option, available on its own, is the Volvo Navigation System, which features a 6.5-inch screen that stows out of sight in the dash when not in use.