Energetic turbocharged powertrain that likes to work hard
Easy to drive around town
Swank cabin interior design
Safety features abound
Falls short of the mark for a luxury sedan that has premium prices
All-wheel drive no longer offered
Handling isn't up to par of a true sports sedan
Not enough elbow room for back seat passengers
Unimpressive safety scores from a company that has a strong safety reputation
For its 2011 S40 lineup, Volvo has chosen to make some cuts by discontinuing the base 2.4i model as well as the manual transmission and all-wheel drive options. The four-door sedan is now only offered as a front-wheel drive five-speed automatic with a manual shift mode and body styles in two trims.
The T5 and T5 R-Design both feature five-cylinder turbocharged engines that produce 227 horsepower and 236 pound feet of torque, which should satisfy many drivers but could disappoint those seeking a more thrilling and powerful driving experience.
Other features the two models share are 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker audio system, cruise control and an AC system with cabin filter. The R-Design, which starts at $31,150 ($3,400 more than the T5’s MSRP), comes with spoilers, sport pedals and a moonroof.
Boasting a contemporary, minimalist interior, the S40 is “a solid, capable premium-compact car that appeals for its Scandinavian design, solid workmanship and the Volvo brand’s many safety features,” says Consumer Guide Automotive. The variety of safety details include fog lights, traction control, standard and side-impact airbags, anti-lock disc brakes and whiplash protection. “Comfort and quality are top-notch in the 2011 Volvo S40 but the cramped backseat could be a deal-breaker for family shoppers,” notes Car Connection. The same could be said for its cargo space, which is quite limited, at 12.6 cubic feet. In terms of how it does on the road, the S40 is “a lively performer” and “as at home dashing through mountain curves as it is darting in and out of city traffic,” says Kelley Blue Book.
A relatively affordable sedan, the S40 should appeal to younger Volvo fans willing to forgo world-class athleticism in favor of a sporty feel, good looks and upscale materials. Available are three option packages (multimedia, climate and preferred) and several standalone features like satellite radio and Volvo’s Blind Spot Information System (BLIS).