I am sorry but I don't agree with these comments.
I have a 1.6d and I am very happy with it. Yes, the engine does not have a huge amount of power, but if you wanted power, why did you get the smallest DIESEL engine.
I bought the car because I wanted a good-looking, SAFE car for my wife that is cheap to run. I think that the V50 1.6d fits the bill perfectly.
If I had wanted a sportier car, I would have bought the D5 version or the T5.
Don't complain that a car is not powerful enough when you buy the smallest version. This is like complaining that a 50cc motorbike does not perform as well as a Harley!
The 1.6d engine is VERY quiet, and my one is very smooth. I have just done a 1000km trip on one tank of fuel (45 liters). You would NOT be able to do that with the 2.0d or the D5 (I know because my mother has a 2.0d and my father has the D5).
Please be fair when you write a review about a car. Make sure that you are not expecting more of the vehicle that it was ever intended to give!!
Why on earth would you buy a 1.6 diesel?? The big clue is that just about everybody else who makes anything decent comes in at around the 2litre mark.
It does beg the question why Volvo make that model in the first place.
I've driven a Golf IV 100bhp/240Nm before the Volvo V50 (109bhp/260Nm), and the Golf felt (was) much quicker.
Either the Golf is under spec, or the Volvo is over spec (I think it's the latter). Also, I got about 5,8l per 100km with the Golf (not driving economically), and I really couldn't get the V50 under 6.8. (mix 50/50 city and highway).
PSA HDI engines do seem to have a discrepancy between the announced and actual MPG rating. A TDI is definitely more economical and quicker then a HDI. Noisier too, but that didn't bother me at all.
Now I have an older Mitsubishi Carisma 1.9DI-D (102bhp Renault dCI engine). It's pretty much like the V40. I quite like it. It's not as agile as a V50, but it's more economical (saves about 1l/100km), has less torque on paper, but it actually does reach 100km/u faster, with far less turbo lag than the V50. Also the turbo hole is less (it picks up nice from 1400-1500 RPM, where the 1.6D was inert to about 1800RPM, where it suddenly got all it's power - not nice to drive at all...). The Carisma also has a rather nice stereo, given it's the standard Mitsubishi CD-player. It's sound quality is far better than the tin box they've put in the V50, and it goes more than loud enough without distorting (also a problem with the tin box from the V50). And, the engine makes less noise, especially when cold (even at -15 C° it starts flawlessly and doesn't rattle like some diesels do).
Finally, for a car that's 8 years old, it doesn't squeak. The floating panel thing in the Volvo resonated with the engine at 2900-3200 RPM, which was really extremely annoying on longer trips on the highway.
You get a 1.6 diesel because your employer is a cheap a** (taxes).
The 1.6 diesel engine fitted to the V50 is a Peugeot HDi!! Get your facts straight. The chassis is a Focus chassis, which means it will leave the Golf et al for dead on the twisty bits!! Modern (European) Ford chassis' are the best bar none. But, I mean, who buys a 1.6D Volvo for performance. Should have stumped up for the 2.0D. Much better performance and no turbo lag as quoted above. I worked for Volvo 4 years ago, and the 2.0D was considered a bit too quick by former TDi keepers. Chassis is streets ahead of anything VW had at the time (2005).
On Golf being more lively: why would you expect this to be different?
I just tried V50 coming from Touran 1.9 105. I say, whoo-hoo, this Volvo is alive! But I remember my old Golf 1.9 100, too, and that's surely quickest of the three.
The difference is the weight. Golf - under 1300, Volvo - just under 1400, Touran - over 1500. Simplest of physics: it's about weight, and engine differences are irrelevant in this particular case.
I compared the Volvo V50 to a Golf IV Variant 1.9 TDI, which is in fact about 100kgs heavier than the V50 1.6D. So it's not only a question of weight.
After driving a chipped Pug 207 1.6 HDi with 140bhp, I can only say that even a chipped 1.6D isn't as punchy as a VW 1.9TDI. The 2.0HDi is a fine engine though, so save up for that one if you want a V50 (the 1.6D just wastes the car).