Volvo V50: Premium or mainstream

Unsightly handbrake

Volvo markets its car range as premium products. It's one thing for the marketing department to claim this, but another for the 'market' to accept it.

I think most customers would see Volvo as a cut above mainstream brands such as Ford, Vauxhall, Renault and Toyota, but perhaps only in the same way that Volkswagen is viewed in the UK.

It's true that many aspects of the V50 are in-keeping with other premium products. The damping of many of the controls and switches, the gas strut under the bonnet that means there is no need to mess around with a manually operated prop, and it's also worth mentioning that Aston Martin uses some of Volvo's switches - electric windows and mirror controls, for example - in its products. A hangover from when both companies were owned by Ford.

However, the Volvo V50 handbrake, when applied, is one of the most unsightly I've ever seen.

It looks fine when not in use, but pull it up and the handle is attached to a horrible looking curved tube.

The V50 shares some components with Ford, and the C-MAX, which was developed alongside the Volvo, is available with an electric parking brake operated with a switch on the centre console.

I wonder why Volvo didn't consider this as an alternative to the poor looking item in the V50.

I may be nit-picking, and have been otherwise impressed with the car so far, but it does rather spoil the impression of a premium product created by many other of its features.

Current mileage: 3492

Average mpg: 47.4