Volvo V50: Punchy performance

My Volvo feels quick. Surprisingly so, in fact. It has also been commented on by work colleagues who have used the car for the occasional long run have also been impressed by its pace.

It actually sent our editor - currently using a BMW 320d Touring - scurrying round to the tailgate to check the engine badge.

Yes, the Volvo comes with a 2.0-litre common rail turbodiesel engine with 136bhp and maximum pulling power of 236lb-ft comes in at 2000rpm.

As well as powering other Volvo models, versions of this engine can also be found in Ford, Citroen and Peugeot models.

It first appeared in the V50 range on its launch in spring 2004 and has been a core model thanks to its appeal to company car drivers with moderate carbon dioxide emissions resulting in modest company car tax liability.

It's probably worth mentioning alongside one of the other cars we are running at present, the BMW 320d Touring, although the BMW's 177bhp engine is probably more closely matched with the next engine up in the V50 range, the 180bhp D5.

I recently drove about 100 miles or so in the BMW and was surprised that it didn't feel any faster than my Volvo.

But on checking the specifications more closely, I discovered that the V50 was about 100kg lighter than the 320d Touring, while the 236lb-ft of torque mentioned above is only marginally lower than the 258lb-ft offered by the BMW.

The manufacturer figures show the Volvo takes 1.5 seconds longer on the sprint from 0-62mph than the 320d, at 9.6 seconds. But it never feels short of power compared with the BMW on the road.

And given that, before options fitted, the V50 2.0D I have is about £6500 less expensive to buy than the 320d SE Touring, it does make you wonder whether the obvious virtues of the BMW (and there are a few) over the Volvo are worth that level of expense.

Current mileage: 5081

Average mpg: 44.5mpg