VOLVO'S SPORTY HEAD TURNER; In association with motorswales.co.uk.
While there are many transports of delight which provide that type of spaciousness to warrant familycarrying credentials, my favourite still remains the good old estate car.
As the name suggests, its early years were spent on estate duty being the type of transport used for carrying staff and guests to and from the action during the grouse shooting season. Also referred to as a station wagon, being, in the middle part of the last century, the link between the country houses of the landed gentry and the long-distance transport system of the railways, the estate car was very much the workhorse of a world in which Volvo became the accepted wagon masters.
However, the gargantuan, boxy-shaped, sharp-edged Volvos of old were beginning to show their age in the latter part of the last century, so Volvo, owned by Ford since the late 1990s, began to reinvent itself introducing the thoroughly modern V50, a load-lugger most stylish and dynamic to the eye while bearing the name Sportswagon to further enhance its raison d'etre and individual identity.
With more than 7,500 models sold, the V50 Sportswagon became Volvo's UK best seller in its first full year on sale in 2005 and certainly turns heads with a sports oriented design.
However, incorporating contemporary and classic styling cues it is still a Volvo while the likes of a softly rounded nose, short bonnet and cab forward and subtle modifications to the chrome grille all help the V50 to assert its own identity.
There are six engine options, four petrol in 1.8-litre 123bhp, 2.0-litre 143bhp, 2.4-litre 168bhp and 2.5-litre 217bhp turbo formwhile diesel power comes via 2.0-litre 133bhp and 2.4-litre 177bhp units.
Four trim levels are available with S, Sport, SE and SE Sport delivering some generous kit standards at each level. The Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) is a very effective driver safety aid.
Luggage space, with rear seats folded expands from a generous 417 litres to 1,307 litres.
While the V50 does have the sporty estate-like firmed-up feel it is by no means unforgiving, smoothing out poor road surfaces with ease to deliver a comfortable ride.
This is another fine effort in the new vogue of Volvo road-runners and load-luggers.
Volvo V50 2.0D
Price: pounds 20,995
Mechanical: 133bhp, 1,997cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6spd manual gearbox
Max speed: 127mph
0-62mph: 9.6 secs
Combined mpg: 48.7
Insurance group: 10
CO2 emissions: 153g/km
BiK rating: 20%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 mile, 3yrs paint, 8yrs anti-rust
Volvo V50 2.0D R-DESIGN Sport