By KBB.com Editors
The S40 is a fantastic way to enjoy the perks of owning a premium brand automobile without having to pay a premium price. For about the same money as a Honda Accord EX, customers can pick up an S40 complete with a frugal yet peppy five-cylinder engine, sporty ride and handling and legendary Volvo safety. For a bit more cash, the S40 T5 ups the ante with a powerful turbocharged engine, the availability of all-wheel drive and a long list of luxury features. While not as sophisticated or adept as an Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series, the S40 nonetheless plays well in this field, offering a nice balance of performance, economy and affordability.
If you like to get the most bang for your buck, the S40 will impress you with its style, content and price. Long known for its emphasis on safety, Volvo carries on the tradition with side-impact and side-curtain airbags, Whiplash Protection Seating System and other safety features.
If you regularly need room for four adults, the S40's cramped rear seat and moderate headroom are a negative. Power in the base car is far from exhilarating and all-wheel drive is available only with the pricier T5.
The 2.4i model receives stability control and a new overhead console, while the front-wheel-drive T5 models now feature a five-speed Geartronic automatic transmission. Optional audio units feature an MP3-compatible CD player and an audio input jack.
Driving Impressions Despite the moderate size, the S40 is one serious automobile, well suited for both the highway and twisting back roads. Stable and solid on the road, the S40 T5's steering...yields sharp, reasonably quick responses. Quiet and refined, the T5 is a spirited performer with its easy-action six-speed manual gearshift and courteous clutch. Except for appropriate engine sounds when accelerating, little noise is heard. The T5's suspension is noticeably stiffer than usual for Volvos, but discomfort occurs only on rougher bumps. On satisfactory surfaces, the ride is smooth enough. Though easy to load, the trunk's size is modest.
Even if required only occasionally, all-wheel drive enhances the Volvo's feeling of security. Most of the time, you don't even realize all-wheel drive is present.
Dynamic Sport Suspension
Standard on the T5 all-wheel drive and optional for the regular T5 sedan, Volvo's stiffer suspension boosts handling capabilities without extracting a significant penalty in ride comfort.
Scandinavian in nature, the S40's interior and dashboard qualify as no-frills. Volvo claims the "ultra-slim" center console is the first of its kind on the market. While the console looks neat, its stylistic slimness would make it difficult to upgrade to an aftermarket audio unit. The company promotes the S40's "ergonomically designed" seats, and their comfort on long drives is undeniable. On the dashboard, temperature and fuel gauges are integrated into the speedometer, but are easy enough to read. Some controls on the vertical console aren't quite as logical as they look, and glovebox space is meager. Compact outside, the S40 is quite roomy in the front-seat area, though it lacks headroom.Exterior
The S40's design evolves from the more rounded shape Volvo started with the S80. Few traces of the old squared-off profiles are left on today's products from the Swedish-based automaker. What Volvo calls Intelligent Vehicle Architecture includes "extremely rigid" cross members for side-impact protection and a considerable amount of high-tensile steel in the structure. Manufactured in Belgium, the S40 bears a close resemblance to other Volvo models. Up front, at least, it's a virtual twin to the new V50 wagon.
Even in the base 2.4i trim, the S40 features air conditioning, anti-lock brakes (ABS), an engine immobilizer, traction control, rear fog lamps, keyless remote entry, heated power mirrors, a CD player and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Upgrading to the T5 adds a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine, automatic climate control and an eight-way power driver's seat.
Popular options are mostly bundled into packages. The base 2.4i offers a Climate Package with heated seats, headlamp washers and rain-sensing wipers. The Select Package adds a power glass moonroof, six-disc CD/MP3 player, upgraded speakers, trip computer and a power driver's seat. Stand-alone options include leather seating and SIRIUS Satellite Radio. The T5 offers bi-xenon headlamps, sport steering wheel, sport suspension, power passenger seat, navigation and Keyless Drive remote start.
The standard 2.4-liter engine is adequate for the casual driver, but lacks the low-end punch needed for quick bursts of speed when passing or merging. If you can swing the extra cash, opt for the T5its turbocharged engine brings the little S40 to life. The T5's six-speed manual is great fun for those who still enjoy shifting their own gears, but the five-speed Geartronic automatic won't disappoint you, either.
2.4-liter in-line 5
168 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 (manual), 22/31 (automatic)
2.5-liter in-line 5 Turbocharged
218 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 (FWD manual), 21/30 (FWD automatic), 20/28 (AWD manual), 20/28 (AWD automatic)
By R on Thursday, March 05, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I just got my volvo this past summer. It is such an awesome car. Unfortunately I was involved in an accident recently and it is totaled. I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW SAFE I WAS DURING THE ACCIDENT. My airbag went off and the front took all the damage but I am a-okay. Very safe car, will definitely be getting another volvo soon."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Kynthiana on Saturday, February 21, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,200overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, great price, low mileage when bought"
Cons: "Had to get fixed within two weeks"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My hubby bought this for me for our anniversary (January 2015). It's a great car and he got it for a great deal. Under 10,000 and when he bought it it was 89,800 miles. Only issue I had with it was the steering lock column when out and had to get it towed and replaced within the second week (over $500) but I still love it. Best car ever, very luxury, very safe, best gift ever,"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By SunshineFL on Friday, February 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "So much fun to drive and driver seat is comfortable"
Cons: "Stay up on the maintenance"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've had two VW vehicles. Volvo has been much more reliable. Excellent driving dynamics, solid and safe car. Still enjoy driving this car eight years later after signing papers. Plan on buying another Volvo. Retains its value and still looks great. No one believes it is eight years old. If you buy one with cloth seats, you can install new custom leather for $1400-1800. Use synthetic oil Michelin tires and premium gas and this car runs so smooth. Change the cabin filter every 15k miles and change the transmission fluid every 30K for best results. Get the sunroof drains cleaned out periodically for $100 and There's a new better quality molding strip you can use around it to prevent leaks."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By francie on Saturday, November 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 185,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I love this car, but I had no idea how high maintenance costs were on a Volvo. So many issues with things that are normally rare. Love it, but it is a money pit"
11 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By Butch on Thursday, May 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 109,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks Sporty"
Cons: "Too many annoying problems"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Things happen to these cars that don't happen to Toyotas and Honda's. Wheel bearing going out at 90,000 miles, leaking AC drain that caused two inches of water in the car twice a year, sunroof motor shot at 75000 miles. Headliner fell apart at 80,000 miles. Interior light console fell off at 90,000 miles. I won't buy a Volvo again."
29 people out of 43 found this review helpful
By Suzanna on Wednesday, May 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very safe!"
Cons: "Sunroof leaks"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Volvo is a great car. I would consider a Volvo for my next vehicle mainly due to its safety, but without the sunroof -it may leak. Repairs take up to two weeks. Visit all Volvo dealerships in your area prior to purchasing."
12 people out of 19 found this review helpful