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Volvo S40 Buyers Guide

The Volvo S40 is reminiscent of Ford Focus in a lot of ways. Still, it comes out as a great car on its own. The S40 is well equipped and is just right for its value. Although it doesn’t come across as the flashiest in the segment, buyers will agree that it suits their preferred combination of comfort, safety and style. The S40 may be smaller than other saloons, but it proves it can compete well with others in the segment.

Pros

For a small saloon, the S40 is equipped with powerful engine choices and a few other ample engines for urban use. As with other Volvos, the best engine for the price is the DRIVe 1.6 litre diesel, a highly fuel-efficient car at 63mpg. The 2008 models come equipped with a Start/Stop technology, which even improves the economy of the car at 72mpg. Body roll is kept to a minimum, and cruising is smooth and feels refined.

The cabin is very stylish, and the interior layout is quite minimalist but reasonable, another great application of Volvo’s unique modern styling of its cars. The driver’s seat is very comfortable and luxurious with leather options in higher trims.

Buyers will be happy to know that the car has passed Euro NCAP rating with five stars, thanks in part to the car’s rigid framing and features. Airbags for all passengers and the driver is included in the standard trim. Other technology includes traction control and immobiliser. Isofix child seat anchor points are also available starting with the 2007 models.

The standard equipment is impressive with climate control, electric windows, and alloy wheels. For higher trim levels, other options include leather upholstery, CD multichanger, folding mirrors, and dynamic chassis system. The Sports models also come equipped with their own unique features, including 18-inch alloy wheels and sports steering wheel and gearstick.

Cons

Despite the aerodynamic size and the powerful T5 and D5 engine variants, the S40 can feel sluggish and bigger than it is. The response is a tad slow and steering feels light, making it not fun to drive. Getting DRIVe also means that the engine is more laid back than it is, an attribute that not all drivers may want for a saloon. The diesel engines can also come across as noisy.

One big downside of the S40 is its rear seats. The seating is made for three passengers, but two may already find it a bit cramped. The space for the rear passengers are compromised by the size of the car, and the result is that not a lot of adults will find the space adequate enough for a comfortable long ride. The boot is prim for a saloon, and owners may find themselves wanting more space than there is.

Like being forced to choose between the comfortable front seat and the uncomfortable rear seat, buyers are torn between two great options with the Volvo S40. One feature is sacrificed for another, making the S40 effective and disappointing in a lot of ways. The merits of the S40 are a matter of driver’s preference.

What do you think?

(Average rating: 5 , Total rates: 2 )

A History of the Volvo S40

The first generation of the Volvo S40 was released in 1995 as the Saloon or sedan and the Versatility/estate or V40 station wagon cars. The V40 was designed by Volvo’s Design Director, Peter Horbury. The car was introduced to markets in the Far East, Australia, and both North and South America. This first generation was upgraded in 2000 with several features in the 40 Series. These included more safety implements, new front suspension and steering design, larger tires, direct fuel injection of diesel, and a wider track width. The exterior was modified with bigger headlights and rear light clusters.

 

The Volvo S40 has been the recipient of several awards, commended for the sleek look of its five-door station wagon and four-door sedan. The car also wields efficient and strong power via its four-cylinder engines that contain 1.9 turbo diesel. The second generation has also received several awards, such as South African Car of the Year and Canadian Car of the Year. This modified version was introduced in 2004 and was produced in the Volvo factory located in Belgium. Some of its features are likened to the European Ford Focus and the Mazda 3. Some of its upgraded features include a 2.5L five-cylinder engine for the turbo. 

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