Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Volvo isn’t an exciting car, but being a wagon and powered by a smooth five-pot mill, it’s a bit intriguing at the very least. Let’s see just what kind of money this sort of mundane is mandating these days.
Ferraris are far from mundane, but if one were to squeak you’d probably get annoyed at it. I mean, that can be maddening. Squeaking, however, is just what last Friday’s 1990 Ferrari 348 TS did, albeit so only in our vote. That car’s $55,500 asking price squeaked by with a narrow 51 percent Nice Price win, and that was without the maintenance history so valued when purchasing a finicky exotic. It also suffered a cracked windshield that the seller comically suggested would be “cheap to fix.”
Let’s be upfront for a moment, may we? Nothing in the automotive market is cheap at the moment. Fuel is expensive. Componentry is expensive or unobtainable. And, due to the global pandemic straining supply lines, even whole cars and trucks are increasingly hard to come by. That’s led to some crazy prices on the newest and most desirable models— I’m looking at you, reprehensibly opportunistic RAV4 Prime dealer.
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Seeing as most gray clouds don’t actually have silver linings — whatever that even means anyway — asking prices on pre-owned cars have been dragged upward by this up-swell as well. That has led to spikes on the asking prices on even the most mundane of older cars — the sort that one might buy for a teenager as their first car in reward for getting good grades or for not getting a trendy face tattoo. We have to ask ourselves, has this gotten totally out of hand?
To help answer that question, here we have a 2010 Volvo V50 with an automatic transmission and a naturally aspirated 2.4 liter five-cylinder engine. With its red exterior and charcoal insides, it does come in an appealing color combo, and with just 111,000 miles on the clock, it doesn’t appear to be over-used. In fact, if you were to be so inclined as to peruse the current selection of used V50s on the market, you’d discover that this is one of the nicest appearing of the lot, and that it carries lower than average miles.
That’s all on a car that is so middle of the road that people probably always think it’s making left turns. These were not nearly as popular in the automotive zeitgeist as was the larger V70, and they often can be mistaken as the same due to the familial styling. The V50, along with its S50 sedan sister, was engineered during the period of time when Volvo was owned and operated by the Ford Motor Company. That benefitted both company and car as it opened Volvo up to the vast cornucopia of the Ford parts department. The result was a car that rides on a platform shared with the contemporary Ford Focus among others but with uniquely Volvo styling cues, and, of course, the Volvo engine.
Unlike the V50’s immediate predecessor, the V40, which was a joint effort with Mitsubishi and looked more like its Japanese counterpart than any other Volvo of the period, this car looks like a Volvo through and through. It also comes with some neat features like the tall tail lamps hugging the hatch and a nifty floating center stack. The latter is fun to talk about at parties but is of little other value. With a moonroof, power windows, locks and mirrors, this V50 is also pretty well equipped.
As I noted, this one is about the nicest you’re likely to find, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. The pictures show that the handle on the driver’s door is missing the rear cap. Good luck finding that in red. There’s also some curb rash on the otherwise handsome alloy wheels and the steering wheel shows a good bit of ‘10 and 2' wear.
That’s all to be expected in what is an otherwise decent-looking 12-year-old car with a clean title that has been reasonably well maintained. What exactly should something like this cost?
If you’ve been following closely, then you’ll get that today’s vote won’t be a slam dunk. At $8,900, today’s V50 isn’t just one of the nicest you’ll find, it’s also one of the priciest.
As we all know, you typically try to buy the best vehicle you can afford since doing so tends to stave off unexpected future expenses. Is this V50 priced to prevent those future Magic 8-Ball wallet emptyings while still being a deal in today’s crazy car market? Or, is that $8,900 price tag just plain nuts?
Ventura, California, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.
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