Volvo's estate cars are known for their reliability, safety and their cavernous cargo capacity. In the 1970s and 1980s, only one wagon was offered--brick-shaped versions of the 140 sedan, which evolved over the years into the 240, 740 and 940. Volvo's current line-up includes two estate cars that share similar styling. One doesn't have to be a lifelong car spotter to tell the difference between the compact V50 and mid-size V70, however.
- Skill level:
Look at the car's body first. The V70 is longer and taller than the V50, a fact that will be clear if they're side by side.
Look at the distance from the centre of each wheel to the edge of the front or rear bumpers. This distance is called "overhang," and the sporty V50 has a very short and stubby overhang that is most noticeable at the rear.
Check the grille as well. 2010 models of the V70 have a much larger and more elaborate grille than the V50. The V70 features a larger Volvo badge and distinctive chrome trim, compared to the V50's finer grille mesh and smaller grille opening.
Lift the bonnet and look at the engine. The V50 is available with a choice of five-cylinder engines, while the V70 has a 3.2-litre inline six-cylinder. An engineering degree isn't required, as both engines are covered by plastic shrouds. In 2010 models, the V50's shroud is silver, while the V70's is black.
Tips and warnings
- The Volvo V50 and V70 are identified by badges on the rear tailgate.
- If the Volvo in question has a manual transmission, it's a V50--the V70 is only offered with an automatic.
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