Volvo Cars introduced the Volvo V50 at the 2003 Bologna Motor Show as the station wagon version of the Volvo S40 small family car -- manufacturing both models at their facility in Ghent, Belgium.
Sharing the Ford C1 platform with the European Ford Focus and the Mazda 3, the V50 features interior "theatre" lighting, a floating center stack and "Volvo Intelligent Vehicle Architecture". The V50 T5 AWD features four-wheel drive and a straight-5 2.5-litre petrol engine with a light-pressure turbocharger, valves per cylinder and a DOHC design with variable camshaft timing -- providing 220 bhp (164 kW; 223 PS) and 320 N·m (236 lb·ft) of torque. Diesel options are available in Europe, including a 2.4 Litre turbocharged D5 diesel engine which provides 180 bhp (134 kW; 182 PS) and 350 N·m (258 lb·ft) of torque.
Within the United States, Volvo limits sales of the V50 PZEV cars to states where it is required, including California, Florida, Vermont, Connecticut, Arizona, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, Oregon, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Mexico and Washington.
Volvo Cars Special Vehicle produced a concept car based on the V50, the V50 SV, whose engine produces 340 hp (254 kW) , and debuted at the 2004 Specialty Equipment Market Association tradeshow in Las Vegas, Nevada.
For model year 2008, the V50 received revised front styling, minor modifications to the interior, optional active xenon headlights, audio systems, increased power and torque of the T5 engine, availability of the D5 with a 6-speed manual and a 1.8 Flexifuel engine.
For model year 2009, the V50 T5 is available in the US only as an automatic AWD model with the "R-Design" trim package, and within Europe with both manual and automatic options.