2010 Volvo S40

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2010 Volvo S40 Review

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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2010

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 the S40
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.

All-Wheel-Drive Availability
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.

2010 Volvo S40 Details
2010 Volvo S40 photo Interior

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.

2010 Volvo S40 photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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)

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