The Volvo S40 is the economy sedan from Volvo. It is the cheapest in Volvos line of luxury sedans and has a base price of only $27,750 which makes it a very affordable option to many American sedans and may even offer a lower sticker price than many. The biggest difference between the S40 and the others in the S series from Volvo is the much smaller size. It is comparable to the size of the Toyota Corolla and this means that the rear seat is not going to offer near as much leg room as the S80 but this is part of the tradeoff that has to be made to achieve such an affordable price. This car is a great for city driving and short trips, but does not offer many of the accommodations that drivers would want for long road trips.
The base engine in this Volvo is an in line 5 cylinder 2.4 liter engine that only offers 168 horsepower. The optional turbocharged engine offers about 60 more horsepower and can make a substantial difference in the overall handling and performance of this small sedan. All trim levels can be equipped with a standard 5 speed manual transmissions or an optional 6 speed automatic.
Engines: 2.4L I-5, 2.5L turbocharged I-5
Transmissions: 5-speed manual, 5-speed automatic, 6-speed manual
Models: 2.4i, T5 R-Design, T5 R-Design AWD
Standard equipment for the 2.4i now includes a 5-speed manual transmission, a leather-covered gearshift with aluminum inlay, electronic climate control, and adjustable front headrests. Options include a navigation system and satellite radio. Standard equipment for the T5 R-Design now includes adjustable front headrests, while the Preferred Packages gain a power glass moonroof, keyless ignition, and a power front passenger’s seat. The T5 is also now available with Ice White paint.
Despite the fact that the S40’s basic sheetmetal reaches back seven years now (with mild freshenings), the small Volvo sedan doesn’t appear dated at all. Proof that there’s nothing like a mix of good proportions and tasteful details.
One of the S40’s highlights is its free-standing, ultra-thin, waterfall ‘center-stack’ that elegantly flows between the front seats — very Swedish. You’ll also appreciate its logical control layout.
While the S40 is a nimble car, its 168 horsepower affords it an estimated 8.4-second 0-60 time – a competent, but middling result. The T5’s 227-hp makes for a much faster S40 – consider a 0-60 mph time in an estimated 6.7 seconds – but this comes with a slight dose of torque-steer under full power. The AWD T5 not only solves that, but provides improved grip in inclement conditions too.
The NHTSA gives the S40 a four-star frontal driver rating, with five stars for the front passenger, side driver and rear passenger. In addition, Volvo’s Automatic Hazard Warning system activates the S40’s hazard lights whenever the airbags are deployed. A tire pressure monitoring system is standard; blind spot detection is optional.
2.4i: 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway (manual); 20 mpg city/31 mpg highway (automatic)
T5 R-Design FWD: 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway (manual); 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway (automatic)
T5 R-Design AWD: 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway (manual); 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway (automatic)
- Classy interior
- Solid handling
- Thoughtful safety features
- Available all-wheel-drive
- Tight rear-seat space
- Aging design
- Mild torque-steer in FWD models
Still attractive despite its age
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