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2011 Volvo S40

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2011 Volvo S40 Review

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There are plenty of compact sport sedans on the market. Some try to win over customers by offering high-end features at a bargain price. Others entice buyers with a combination of European styling, handling and craftsmanship. One car that manages to do both is the 2011 Volvo S40. The 2011 Volvo S40 boasts a 227-horsepower turbocharged engine and long list of standard and available features. While not as polished as an Audi A3 or Lexus IS 250, the Volvo S40 is a viable competitor with either car, thanks to its balance of performance, economy and affordability.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a premium compact sedan loaded with features at a very modest price, spend some time behind the wheel of a 2011 Volvo S40. With its Whiplash Protection System and other safety features, the Volvo S40 will appeal to your need for security, as well.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need all-wheel drive, a backseat large enough to fit two adults or the hands-on driving experience that can only be had with a manual transmission, the 2011 Volvo S40 probably won't make your top 10 list.

What's New for 2011

For 2011, Volvo has discontinued the base S40 2.4i model and dropped the manual transmission and all-wheel-drive option. The T5 becomes the entry-level S40 while the R-Design remains the top-of-the-line offering.

Driving the S40
Driving Impressions

Despite being quiet and refined, the 2011 Volvo S40 T5 is a lively performer. While we found the smooth-shifting five-speed Geartronic automatic transmission adeptly handled the engine's power, the manual...

... shift mode is not as quick or as fun to drive as a manual transmission. The Volvo S40 T5 is as at home dashing through mountain curves as it is darting in and out of city traffic. The Volvo S40 T5's steering yields sharp, reasonably quick responses and the suspension strikes a comfortable blend of sporty and smooth. Those seeking a more-spirited driving experience should opt for the Volvo S40 R-Design, which has a stiffer suspension and a more-aggressive wheel and tire package.

Multimedia Package
Volvo's premium audio system sounds and looks fantastic. From the floating center console that houses the radio controls, to the hidden navigation screen that rises up from the dash, the Volvo S40's Multimedia package is well worth the $2,000 asking price.

Dynamic Sport Suspension
The Volvo S40's R-Design's sport suspension boosts handling capabilities without extracting a significant penalty in ride comfort.

2011 Volvo S40 Details
Interior

True to the long-established school of Scandinavian design, the 2011 Volvo S40's interior is modern yet minimalistic. It includes Volvo's signature ultra-slim waterfall center stack, which is attractive but prohibits the installation of an aftermarket audio system. Volvo's ergonomically designed front seats provide plenty of comfort and support on long drives, but the rear seat is cramped for two adults, especially if the front seats are in their rear-most positions. T-Tec fabric seating is standard on the base Volvo S40 T5. The Volvo S40 R-Design's vividly contrasting white and black seats are striking. An all-black leather package is optional. We like the Volvo S40's easy-to-read gauges, but some of the smaller controls on the floating console are difficult to operate.

Exterior

Once heralded as the new face of Volvo, the aging S40 design now looks a bit conservative, especially when compared to the newest members of the Volvo family, the sleek S60 Sedan and XC60 Crossover. Still, the 2011 Volvo S40 is a handsome vehicle. It's fitted with Volvo's signature grille design, V-shaped hood, and body-contouring tail lights. The S40's body follows what Volvo calls Intelligent Vehicle Architecture, which includes "extremely rigid" cross members for better side-impact protection.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Both the base 2011 Volvo S40 T5 and Volvo S40 R-Design feature a 227-horsepower, 2.5-liter, turbocharged, five-cylinder engine coupled to a five-speed automatic transmission. Other standards include fog lamps, eight-way power driver's seat, keyless remote entry, heated power mirrors and 17-inch alloy wheels. The audio system includes HD Radio, a single CD changer, a USB/iPod interface and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity. Upgrading to the Volvo S40 R-Design adds a body and trim kit, sport suspension, leather seating surfaces, a power passenger seat and a power moonroof.

Optional Equipment

Popular options are mostly bundled into packages. The Climate Package provides heated seats, headlamp washers, an air filtration system, automatic climate control and rain-sensing wipers. The Multimedia Package adds a 650-watt Dynaudio 10-speaker Surround Sound system, HDD Navigation, Real Time Traffic and two map updates. A power moonroof, power passenger seat, and leather seating surfaces are part of the Preferred Package. The Blind Spot Information System and rear park assist are stand-alone options.

Under the Hood

The Volvo S40's turbocharged 2.5-liter engine pumps out 227 horsepower, runs on regular gas and can go 30 miles on a single gallon of gasoline. The five-cylinder design transmits a bit of vibration and there is lack of low-end torque until the turbo kicks in. Enthusiasts will pine for more power, but they're unlikely to purchase a Volvo S40.

2.5-liter in-line 5 turbo
227 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1500-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30

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2011 Volvo S40 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 288 Ratings for the 2004 - 2011 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

Buy with confidence.

By on Monday, April 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Huge value for money; Legendary Volvo safety."

Cons: "Could be more nimble; Too small for some."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is shorter than a Honda Civic, yet somehow much roomier inside, making it a breeze to parallel park in the city while still maintaining a reasonable comfort level. Everyone will think you paid much more for this car than you did due to its styling cues lining up with the larger s60. At the end of the day, this car acts like everything you wish a Ford Focus or a Mazda 3 (they share a chassis, after all) could be. When the rare repair is needed, parts are no more expensive than those others, though labor charges will be higher from a Volvo specialist. Save some money by using a good, non-import specialist mechanic, as these cars are simple enough to be serviced by a non-proprietary mechanic. Usually. There are a handful of things like key fobs and software updates that will mandate getting skinned alive by a dealer, but those things are few and far between."

10 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Classic for Volvo owners or looking for a S40

By on Thursday, November 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This car is a real gem, they are no longer making this series from Volvo. Excellent exterior and Leather interior. Low mileage and well taken care of, all service and maintenance records in tact. Looking to sell, best offer. first come best offer gets her."

11 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Nice Car for Small Family

By on Monday, September 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, easy to park and drive in city"

Cons: "Noisy interior, cloth seats water spot easily"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"The Good: 2.5l Turbo Engine is very strong allowing merging and passing with ease. Brakes are quite strong. Handling is crisp and sure footed. Outside visibility is very good, few blind spots. Gas mileage is good, not great, but 28+ on hi-way, 21+ city in average driving. Will run quite well on 86 Octane Regular gas. Not a "sports" car but is fun to drive. Small enough to park easily and navigate city traffic. Surprisingly large trunk. The Bad: Uni-body construction allows for noisy ride. New tires help. Cloth seats water spot very easily and are hard to clean. Recommend leather. Interior cabin filter hard to replace (in this model year) and requires expensive dealer/shop replacement. Cabin filter can be easily clogged by small leaves and debris. (placed a wire screen over cowl vent screens to avoid this in future). Front seats very comfortable. Back seat space can be tight for large adults over a long trip."

9 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Still satisfied after 9 years

By on Saturday, July 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun to drive, interior quality and appearance"

Cons: "electrical bugs the first year or two"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I still enjoy driving my S40. In my opinion the style is timeless. After working out some initial electrical issues it has been very dependable. Decent but not great gas mileage. With premium I average 24 MPG in mixed driving. One negative is the cost of maintenance."

16 people out of 19 found this review helpful

Last great compact Volvo with awesome styling.

By on Wednesday, July 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,300

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Styling, solid feel"

Cons: "Front/Rear Bumper covers too soft, noisy engine"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I bought this car for my girlfriend to commute in everyday L.A. traffic and so far it has been great. She loves it mainly for all the bells & whistles like Bluetooth hands-free, great audio system with 6 disc changer, digital ambient temp readout, avg fuel readout, very cold AC, warm heater, plus a plethora of other amenities. Though there is also a moonroof but she has never touched it. But the sole reason I bought her this car is the safety rating. First of all it is a very solid vehicle and feels great on the road. The handling is tight and power is sufficient with its 2.4i engine, but most above all - the great styling of the S40! We've owned it for almost two years now. Bought the car with 36,600 miles and now just reached 50,300. The only thing we did was changed the oil from Castrol synthetic-blend to Castrol Edge 0W-30 Full Synthetic. I also replaced all the motor mounts. Didn't really need to but I felt like doing it to get most out of the vehicle. Other items are just accessory upgrades; like rubber mats, trunk cubby tray and luggage hangers, nothing mechanical and so far it has performed great. Gas mileage is average since this is an inline-5 cylinder. It is pretty spot on with the 20 City/28 Hwy claim - though I did get a bit more (apprx 30 hwy) on a road trip at cruising speeds of 80mph. It was a blast to drive and the seats are very comfortable. Car felt very reliable while on the journey in regards to both mechanical and safety - which makes a world of difference."

8 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Needs power seat for passenger with disability

By on Saturday, June 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "Gas efficiency"

Cons: "access is a challenge (for people with disability)"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Interior critique is based on our physical needs as we age. Hard for passenger to access car since seat is very low. Too bad car most manufacturers ignore the older generation in this regard. Otherwise everything about S40 is great! Just went on short road trip and clocked fuel efficiency. On flat interstate we did 48 MPG average at 50 MPH; 45 MPG average at 55 MPH; typically stayed at over 40 MPG average at 60 to 65 MPH. I find this truly amazing considering car is 11 years old and I have just serviced it once a year since we got it in 2004."

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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