By KBB.com Editors
The 2010 Volvo S40 is a fantastic way to enjoy the perks of owning a premium-brand automobile without having to pay a premium price. For less than $30,000, customers can pick up an S40 2.4i 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 R-Design 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 A3 or Lexus IS 250, 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 2010 Volvo 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, the Whiplash Protection 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 R-Design.
The V40 2.4i now comes standard with a five-speed manual (last year's standard five-speed automatic is optional.) Other new features for the base model include electronic climate control and a leather gearshift knob with aluminum inlay.
Driving Impressions Despite the moderate size, the 2010 Volvo 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 smooth-shifting five-speed Geartronic automatic transmission adeptly handling the engine's power. The Geartronic manual shift mode is not as quick or as fun to drive as a manual transmission, which thankfully is now standard on both the base and AWD variants. 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
Volvo's 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's "ultra-slim" center console is a prominent feature shared with the C30 and S80. 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 good rear-seat headroom.Exterior
The 2010 Volvo S40's design evolves from the more rounded shape that now defines Volvo cars. 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 V50 wagon.
Even in the base 2.4i trim, the S40 features automatic air conditioning, side-curtain airbags, front seat side-impact airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), five-speed manual transmission, an engine immobilizer, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC), front and rear fog lamps, eight-way power driver's seat, keyless remote entry, heated power mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels, high-performance audio with six-disc CD changer and auxiliary audio input, a USB/iPod interface, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel. Upgrading to the T5 R-Design adds a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine, R-Design body and trim kit, leather seating surfaces and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, while the R-Design AWD adds a six-speed manual transmission.
Popular options are mostly bundled into packages. The Climate Package provides heated seats, headlamp washers, an air filtration system and rain-sensing wipers, while the Multimedia Package brings a 650-watt Dynaudio 12-speaker Surround Sound system with SIRIUS Satellite Radio. A power sunroof, power passenger seat and Keyless Drive are part of the Preferred Package, while hard drive-based navigation, leather seating surfaces (2.4i), Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and Active Bending dual xenon headlamps serve as standalone options. A five-speed Geartronic automatic transmission is available on the 2.4i and T5 AWD.
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 T5 R-Design – its turbocharged engine brings the little S40 to life. The T5's optional five-speed Geartronic automatic is not as quick as Audi's DSG manual-shift transmission, but it's the only choice for those who require an automatic transmission. The six-speed manual in the T5 AWD, on the other hand, is a true joy and a must-have for the enthusiast driver.
2.4-liter in-line 5
168 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 (manual), 20/31 (automatic)
2.5-liter in-line 5 turbocharged
227 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1500-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 (FWD), 20/27 (manual, AWD), 19/28 (automatic, AWD)
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