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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My daughter is in her final year of high school. We would like to get her a newer (but used) car for college. After talking about a XC-70 for a while, we've refocused on a V50. She really wants a wagon and the consensus on the XC70 forum is a V50 would be a lot easier to park at college, use less gas, yet still haul stuff when needed. We agree.

Safety, operating expense, and reliability are our top focus. We're focusing on 2010 and 2011 models. Four questions.

1) Living in Texas and going to school in Texas, AWD isn't needed most of the time. In a FWD configuration, the 2.4i Vs. 2.5T appear to be about the same in operating expense (aka Fuel Economy). Are we overlooking anything?

2) Performance aside, are there any significant advantages between the 2.4i Vs. 2.5T in reliability?

3) What are the common things to look for in shopping for a used V50 (beyond the regular stuff for any used car)? Suspension parts (Cv boots, ball joints, lower control arms bushings) and engine mounts appear to be issue on most P1 platform vehicles. I know to ask about the PCV replacement and timing belt at 105K. Also know to check the AC cutting out issue. What else?

4) What other advice would you offer? We're on our second Volvo but new to the V50. You wisdom is HIGLY appreciated.
 

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1) The acceleration of the 2.5T is significantly more than the 2.4i

2) If MPGs are equal, 2.5T all the way even though you fill up with premium fuel

3)Fuel pressure sensor, sun roof drains

4)Manual transmission is excellent. R-Design is worth it.
 

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Conventional wisdom would probably say that the less powerful/less moving parts of the non turbo is the way to go for reliability. I found my S40 T5 fwd to be very reliable and at no point did I wish I had opted for the less powerful 2.4i but I have seen many 2.4i owners wanting a turbo or wishing they had a T5. I found it to be a really great car, I bought a 2005 in 2010 and kept it for just under 5 years as intended.

I replaced the lower torque mount, passenger side engine mount, lower control arms (the whole arm was more economical than the bushings alone) and FPS (fuel pressure sender). The following items may have been needed due to hard driving and performance beyond stock, exhaust (slight rattle gave me an excuse to go aftermarket for more power), TCV & CBV, clutch setup and front bearings.

I averaged 24-28mpg, I hope this helps.

The T5 is also the only engine in the C30 and I believe still being sold by Volvo in the S60 & XC60. The T5's are very reliable.
 

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I've owned my S40 T5 for 3 years now and it has ~120k miles. With the exception of the PCV (which was covered under extended warranty), it's been extremely reliable. The only money I've spent on the car has been preventative/scheduled maintenance.

One thing you might want to look for is to see if the car is equipped w/ DSTC. I believe it was standard on the AWD models but was optional on FWD.
 

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I fully recommend taking the car to a Volvo dealer or indie dealer that can scan every module for faults and not just the odb, and check out the whole car. For a car that new I would hope that it doesn't have torn boots or worn suspension parts but it depends on miles and the previous owners I suppose. If you're going into it blind at least get a scanner like the icarsoft so you can scan it yourself for any faults that might be present since there's like a couple dozen different modules in the car. Volvos can get very pricey when things go wrong.

I would go with the t5 personally. It's a great engine that's been around a long time. One of the worst things about volvos is the lack of aftermarket parts. Pretty much you're stuck with oem or something very close to it in price, so if you're factoring in the price of ownership take that into account. You can cheap out on some things like a window switch or whatever but suspension and bearings, sensors, etc.. Actual wear items, nothing beats the oem brand and the made in China copies are pretty terrible and aren't really a trusted alternative. If i were looking for a reliable fwd car for my kid I'd probably be looking at a Honda. We have volvos because we live in NY and need the awd and there really aren't many options in cars especially.

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I definitely would want more power from my 2.4i, but my s40 has been the most reliable car our family has owned. Bought at 115k miles, now at 155k with only needed to replace 1 coolant line with a slow leak.

Of course other maintenance was performed, but nothing else has gone unexpectedly wrong.
 

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We have owned both the 2.4 and the T5. From our experience, both have been reliable, but are not comparable (obviously) in the power department. As someone said, there is likely less that can go wrong or require attention from the 2.4 but the T5 is also a Volvo staple in terms of design and longevity. If possible, look for one with leather as the cloth (referred to as t-tec) is a nightmare to keep clean unless you are ridiculously impeccable and obsessed with your car. Ask me how I know. :)

Good luck!
 

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I would argue that the T5 is not only better, but safer. Someone mentioned a honda accord, I remember having my learners permit and trying to drive a 99' 4cyl accord. It was an easy car to drive, but there were 2 times when I got into a situation where i needed to get out of the way of another driver, i floored it because there was no option to stop, and well, foot to the floor and not going anywhere, i didnt make it out of the way on time. so i got hit because that V-tec just didnt kick in, Yo.

Anyway, having some power to get out of a bad situation i think is safer than having a car that cant get out of its own way. And depending on how the owner drives the car -- I know some people who Floor it between every stop sign , and other people like myself who cruise casually between them -- Gas mileage in a T5 could possibly be better than the 2.4i.

you may not need to worry about the PCV system on a 2008+ V50. If your buying a lower mileage car, i wouldnt worry too much about service history, but if your buying a higher mileage, then you'd want one thats been serviced and documented. In my experience, You can buy a volvo and not take care of anything other than the essentials like oil changes, belts, tires, and whatever happens to break, and the car will probably last a long time, but if you do some preventative maintenance and keep up with these, they will last a very long time and will be enjoyable that whole time too.
 

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I would go 2.4i, not play on the stereotype that she may not be to car savvy cause she's a girl but unless your gonna be the one checking oil, water, coolant etc I'd say the less thing to worry about the better. The 2.4i isn't as fast as the T5 but I don't think anyone here moving to much faster than a 2.4i with out mods which I don't see a first year college student needing.




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T5


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T5 owner here. The T5 is a great engine, but as another posted mentioned conventional wisdom would suggest the nonturbo to be less complex in the long run. With that said, I've never had a problem with my T5 and neither did the previous owner, other than the PCV recall done at the Volvo dealership (I can verify this because I bought it from a good friend, not a random stranger).

My advice: don't focus on the engine type or FWD vs AWD. Focus on price, mileage, condition, service history, a clean title and availability. When I went looking for an XC90 the first time, I actually bought my V50 because it was the right car/price/condition/etc and there were no "good enough" XC90s to be found. When my wife's other non-Volvo car became unreliable, I went looking for XC90s once again but found the right one. Now we have two Volvos, haha.
 

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2.4i. Is great and less parts to replace. Just take a look at the T5 problems in the forums. That said some t5 owners have great experiences with their car. To each his own. I still prefer my 2.4i
 

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I drove both 2.4 and a t5, I bought my 2004 t5 r design almost a year go. Love every bit of it. Comfortable, reliable, good on gas. Powerfull. I built a 95 getta vr6 turbo before this volvo, jumping from 400bhp to 215 hp up in colorado at elevation was a change for me. But t5 is great in mountains.

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Great feedback... We really appreciate your wisdom and insight.

We'll make sure to drive both and keep the T5 in consideration as an option, if available. I learned long ago that having a knowledgable mechanic check everything over is a good investment.

Now we need to find one not too far away... Something not as easy to do as a run of mill Ford.
 

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I'm piggybacking on OP's thread, but, I'm basically sold on the V50. I've been looking around at the S40 as well, but I'd like the bigger space. I've found an '05 V50 T5 with more of the premium features (heated seats, power passenger seat, etc) and low miles all for almost half the price of a 2011 model. I haven't seen many 2.4i models locally that are fully loaded. I don't need the AWD for where I live, but there's enough open highway in my daily commute that I'll go for the turbo.

I know it's anecdotal, but I believe my situation is comparable. For the prime choice amenities, and the added boost, I'll be making my first Volvo purchase in a couple days.
 

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I have a 2007 S40 2.4i with 103k. It's been pretty reliable and has never left me stranded but it's no Honda Civic. For me, a T5 6spd would be better because... speed (but worse for my wallet because... mods).

One thing I didn't see mentioned is the front suspension. It tends to go early on these cars for some reason. I HAD to replace both outer tie rods, front strut, endlinks, passenger side motor mount, and both front hubs because they went bad. I've replaced more than that to get my suspension "perfect" but keep an ear out during test drives for clunks/clicks etc.

As others have mentioned, the PCV system commonly goes bad and you would hear a "whistling" sound at idle. As far as I know this is still covered under extended warranty and mine was replaced for free. Other common issues are end link failure and engine mounts/ transmission mounts. These are all easy and cheap to fix with basic hand tools, a torque wrench and jack stands.

In the end I love my S40. It's comfortable, efficient and fun to drive. Most importantly, it's safe. I would put someone I love in the driver's seat of my Volvo.

With any car a clean title, price, mileage, service history, and condition are the keys. Good luck with your search and you can always check the classifieds for cars too.
 

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I've owned both the S40 2.4i and the V50 T5 - the T5 (with an auto) is not an overly aggressive engine. Functionally it's the 2.4i but with 50 more hp and torque (btw, the t5 torque curve peaks at 2500 rpm + or -). I've found that Volvo tends to favor refined power over brute power like a Ford mustang might provide. i.e. power is progressively built vs. abruptly delivered. That's a long way of saying, lots and lots of women drive t5 autos daily - it wouldn't be too much for your daughter. A cheaper choice would be the 2.4i and depending on your daughter, it may be the smarter choice.
 

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My gf drives the t5 s40 and loves it. She wouldn't drive it if it had 500hp lol.. Its still a pretty low power engine. But it has enough power to pass quickly on the highway and hop onto parkways. But I would seriously get a Honda or Toyota if cost is a concern. You can get a car with a third of miles and half the age for the same price. Volvos are great, but we kinda throw budgets out the window for them, and repair costs and specialty indie shops aren't cheap. If you do your own work you can save money, but I mean for the cost of my xc90 arms I can pay someone else to install honda arms. My timing belt is 1200 bucks plus the pcv another 1k or more depending on if they drop the pan, and our 08 Toyota corolla timing belt was 550 bucks installed.

It's up to you obviously, but I always try to be realistic with people. One of my friends is looking for a used car and she wanted to get an awd volvo but she doesn't have more than 6k and can't afford repairs after that so I told her to get a Subaru. I like volvos and all but they aren't the car you get to save money lol

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Well, my only retort would be - for the money, it's hard to beat the secondary (used) car market value of a Volvo. Amazing leather seats, great styling, premium sounds, etc. for the same price as a plane-jane honda civic. And ya, they are one of those cars you'd be better off knowing how to wrench / willing to wrench on it vs. paying dealers to fix. They get expensive, fast. So do Subarus, etc., but they aren't as finicky.
 

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The only downside to older (late 90s mid 2000s) Subarus is their head gasket issues. But they have tell tale warning signs like exhaust pressurized radiator hoses that will bulge up way before they overheat on the older models, and noticeable external coolant leaks on the newer ones, so you'll see the steam way before you run out of coolant. And even getting it done at a dealer is only 1200. An indie would do it between 700 and a grand depending on where you are. I don't know if the ones above 2010 have the same issues... Subaru claims to have fixed it and the shops are definitely not seeing them blown in the 50s and 60k range anymore so it appears they found a solution. I helped my mechanic do my dad's years ago and it wasn't that bad. I recommend them for awd cars. If you want fwd and are concerned with budget I say stick to the Hondas and Toyotas, they will be much cheaper and cost a lot less to maintain. Now, if you love volvo and don't mind the added cost of the car plus the maintenance costs, then go for it. Personally I've always liked volvo, but it's iffy if I actually recommend them for somebody.

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