2007 Volvo S40

What’s New for 2007
Stability control is standard on all 2007 Volvo S40s, and front-wheel-drive T5 models now come with an automatic transmission only. New package options include an input jack for MP3 players and a ground effects kit (complete with chin spoiler and side skirts). Sirius satellite radio is available as a stand-alone option this year. Inside the cabin, there’s a revised overhead console design.

An antiskid system is standard instead of optional on 2007 versions of Volvo’s entry-level sedans. Volvo offers a wagon version of this car as the V50. Both share some elements of their basic design with the Mazda 3. S40s have a 5-cyl engine and come in 2.4i and sporty T5 trim. The 2.4i models have 168 hp and front-wheel drive. T5s are turbocharged, have 218 hp, and are front- or all-wheel drive. Manual or automatic transmission is available. ABS and traction/antiskid control are standard. So are front side airbags and curtain side airbags. AWD T5s include a firmer sport suspension that’s available for other models. Keyless entry/starting is a new option for all models, which get a minor interior freshening for ’07. Also available are a navigation system with pop-up dashboard screen, leather upholstery, heated seats, and sunroof.

Now in its second generation, the Volvo S40 has become a strong player among compact, entry-level luxury sedans. A mid-2004 redesign transformed it from a bland sedan with middling performance capabilities into a truly stylish car with an entertaining on-road demeanor. The fashion statement continues inside the cabin, where the S40 combines traditional Volvo ergonomics with a contemporary Scandinavian design that looks and feels upscale but isn’t the least bit stuffy. Although competitors like the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series continue to surpass it in driving dynamics and overall polish, the 2007 Volvo S40 is significantly cheaper, which makes it an attractive buy among small, premium sedans.

Volvo sells the S40 in 2.4i and T5 trim levels. Performance from the 2.4i model’s 168-horsepower, naturally aspirated five-cylinder engine is adequate, though unimpressive for a car in this price range. Most buyers will prefer the 218-hp turbocharged engine in the S40 T5, which provides brisk response once you get past the initial turbo lag. The T5 model can also be had with all-wheel drive, making it a good choice for buyers in Northern climates. Volvo also offers two different suspension calibrations on the S40: The standard suspension offers a good compromise of ride comfort and handling competence, while the sport suspension, available as a package option on the 2.4i and front-drive T5 models, turns the compact Volvo into a more serious canyon carver. Unfortunately, it also results in a choppy highway ride on all but the smoothest pavement.

In spite of the heightened focus on style and athleticism in the current-gen S40, it offers all the safety features found in more traditional Volvos, and for ’07, the company has finally made stability control (known as DSTC for Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) standard across the board. In addition to a full menu of airbags, the S40 is equipped with anti-whiplash head restraints and pre-tensioning seatbelts in all outboard positions. Crash test results have been mostly favorable, as the S40 has earned four or five stars in all government tests and a “Good” or “Acceptable” rating in all IIHS tests.

Four years into its model cycle, the Volvo S40 still offers an impressive package for buyers seeking a small, upscale sedan. However, it occupies a very crowded price bracket. Even if you’ve written off the more expensive A4 and 325i, similarly priced cars like the Acura TSX, Mazda 6, Subaru Legacy GT and Volkswagen Jetta 2.0T/GLI offer equal or better performance and as much or more interior room. We still think the 2007 Volvo S40 is a good choice, especially for those who want a car with one-of-a-kind styling inside and out, but we recommend test-driving a few of its rivals before making a final decision.

Consumer Guide  Automotive places each vehicle into one of 18 classes based on size, price, and market position. Premium Compact Cars are similar in size but more expensive than Compact Cars. Premium Compacts have more standard equipment and an upscale image when compared to Compact Cars.

Our Best Buys in the Premium Compact Car class are the Audi A4 and BMW 3-Series. Our Recommended picks are the Acura TSX and Audi A3.

Our road test for the 2007 Volvo S40 includes a full evaluation of the 2007 Volvo S40 from the inside out. We evaluate not only engine and handling performance for the 2007 Volvo S40, but also interior cabin and cargo space. Let our comprehensive road test ratings for the 2007 Volvo S40 help you decide if a 2007 Volvo S40 is right for you.

Acceleration is adequate if uninspiring on the base 2.4i model, but some buyers may prefer its non-turbo engine’s more predictable power delivery. Although the turbocharged engine in the S40 T5 has a somewhat peaky power band and exhibits some lag off the line, it’s definitely the better choice for enthusiastic drivers. Handling is crisp and entertaining with either the standard or sport-tuned suspension, though the standard 16-inch tires are taxed by more aggressive cornering. Those who like to drive hard will probably prefer the firmer sport suspension, but the downside is a harsh ride over anything less than pristine pavement. If you live in a pothole-ridden area of the country, stick with the standard suspension.

Volvo says S40 2.4i does 7.7 sec 0-60 mph with manual transmission, 8.4 with automatic. That sounds adequate, but in practice, acceleration is unimpressive, even with manual, especially up long grades. T5s snappier, suffer little irksome turbo lag. Test manual-transmission T5 did 6.9 sec 0-60 mph. Manual shift action slick, precise. Automatic generally smooth, responsive.

No opportunity to measure with 2.4i models. Test T5s averaged 20.3 mpg with manual transmission, 20.6 with automatic. Test automatic AWD V50 averaged 25.0 mpg with more highway use. Volvo recommends premium-grade fuel for all S40s.

All models firm, but base suspension reasonably compliant on most surfaces. Tauter sport suspension, included with AWD models and optional Sport Package, reacts sharply to bumps, makes for uncomfortably stiff ride in concert with low-profile 17-inch tires.

Assured and predictable, but not quite sport-sedan agile. Steering accurate, has good feedback, but some testers find it too light for best highway-speed control. Tight turning circle aids low-speed maneuvering. Brakes ease speed quickly with fine stability, moderate nosedive.

These 5-cyl engines lack 6-cyl smoothness, suffer intrusive high-rpm thrum, but are OK otherwise. Wind noise modest. Little road ruckus from 16-inch tires except on very coarse pavement; 17s rumble on all but smoothest surfaces.

Mostly user friendly. Ultrathin center stack houses audio and climate buttons that some testers say take time to sort out and are too easily hit by accident while shifting. Windshield-wiper stalk impedes accessing dashboard-mounted ignition switch. Cabin has minimalist design, high-quality materials, and solid workmanship.

Interior not that wide, but furnishes adult-size head and leg room on supportive, well-shaped seats. Standard tilt/telescope steering wheel, available power seat let most drivers get comfortable. Visibility good except to right-rear, where head rests and high deck partly interfere.

The Volvo S40‘s interior is unique and styled to appeal to a young audience. The first thing you’ll notice is the ultra-slim center stack, which has a distinctive Scandinavian design and allows for some storage up front. Interior trim choices include faux metal, faux wood, real aluminum or a transparent material reminiscent of an iMac computer. The ergonomically designed seats are available in different upholstery types, our favorite being the standard cloth “T-Tec” upholstery, which holds occupants in place during aggressive cornering yet still breathes well in hot weather. Adults will find adequate legroom in both the front and rear, but in-cabin storage space is at a premium. Trunk capacity measures 12.6 cubic feet, and the rear seats have 60/40 split-folding capability.

Two adults get decent head and elbow room, but three will feel pinched. Knee space tight if front seats more than halfway aft, but toe room generous. Seat short on thigh support. Narrow door thresholds impede entry/exit.

Good trunk room for a compact sedan, abetted by standard folding rear seatbacks, but volume meager by absolute standards and aperture won’t accept bulky cargo. Interior storage subpar.

S40 may be a bit pricey and not quite sporty enough for the younger buyers Volvo covets. But it’s a solid, capable compact that appeals for its big-Volvo style, solid workmanship, and safety features, plus available all-wheel drive. Just avoid the optional sport suspension/17-inch-tire combination, which compromises ride comfort and does little for roadability.

Antilock disc brakes, traction control and stability control are standard on all 2007 Volvo S40s. All models include front side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags, along with whiplash-reducing head restraints in all outboard positions. Volvo’s OnCall telematics system is also standard. The S40 received perfect five-star ratings in NHTSA side-impact crash tests. In frontal-impact tests, it netted four stars for driver protection and five stars for the front passenger. In IIHS frontal-offset testing, the S40 earned a top rating of “Good” and a “Best Pick” designation; in IIHS side-impact testing, the car was rated “Acceptable.” Additionally, the S40 is one of only a few cars to earn a “Good” head-restraint rating in the IIHS rear-impact test, regardless of whether you get cloth or leather seats.

Scribbled on May 23rd 2008 in Volvo, Volvo S40
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