The Volvo S40 continues to enhance Volvo's reputation as a maker of superb sports sedans. The S40 looks and acts like a sports sedan. The Volvo V50 is the wagon version and our impressions carry over here. The V50 looks like a sport wagon and drives like one, which is to say it drives just like the sedan.
Volvo is a leader in safety engineering and it's clear the company put a lot of effort into building a structure designed to protect its occupants. The S40 and V50 models come loaded with active and passive safety features to help drivers avoid accidents, then protect them if there is a crash. This may be the safest car in this size class. Smaller than most luxury sedans, the S40 is much easier to park in tight spaces and it's easier to maneuver on narrow roads.
On the open road, the S40 and V50 are stable and relaxed. They can easily run with the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, even at high speeds.
The S40 T5 comes with a turbocharged engine that's wonderfully smooth, offering quick but linear acceleration performance. The entry-level 2.4i engine feels nearly as quick and is just as smooth. The five-speed automatic is smooth and responsive. The suspension is firm but not jarring, offering an ideal balance of ride and handling, and the brakes are excellent.
The design is clean and elegant, Scandinavian simplicity. Inside, the S40 represents a sharp departure from previous Volvo designs, but above all is comfortable and full of convenience features.
New for 2007: Dynamic Stability Traction Control comes standard on all models. All 2007 models get a new overhead console. Volvo V50 and S40 T5 models come standard with the five-speed automatic Geartronic engine. Options packages have been revised.
The Volvo S40 2.4i ($24,240) and V50 2.4i ($26,690) use a five-cylinder engine making 168 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm, on premium fuel. The S40 2.4i comes standard with a five-speed manual, and an optional five-speed automatic transmission called the Geartronic with an Auto-Stick that allows clutchless manual shifting. The V50 2.4i has the five-speed Geartronic as standard equipment.
Standard equipment includes air conditioning and power windows and door locks, cruise control, leather steering wheel with audio controls, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels, remote entry, in-dash CD system, theft-deterrent system and two cup holders in the center tunnel console and two in the rear seat armrest.
The Select option package (S40 $1,975; V50 $2,025) includes an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat, power tilt/slide sunroof, a premium Dolby Pro-Logic surround sound stereo system with six-disc in-dash CD changer and 12 speakers, a trip computer, simulated wood inlays, and for 2007, auxiliary input and MP3 capability. The Sport option package ($875) includes Dynamic suspension, and sport alloy wheels. A Climate package ($675) includes rain-sensor wipers, heated front seats, and headlamp washers. Stand-alone options include a variety of metallic paints, five-speed automatic for the S40 ($1,250), leather seating surfaces ($1,200), dual integrated child booster seats ($300) for the V50, and Sirius satellite radio ($295). New for 2007 is a Body Styling package ($1,195) with front, rear and trunk-mounted spoilers, side skirts and lower door edge molding.
The S40 T5 ($28,390) and V50 T5 ($29,590) use a slightly larger 2.5-liter turbocharged version of the engine, making 218 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque over the wide range of 1500 to 4800 rpm. The T5 adds as standard equipment fog lights, a power driver's seat, leather gearshift knob, and trip computer. Standard are 16-inch alloy wheels; 17-inch alloys are optional. For 2007 both models come standard with the five-speed Geartronic automatic, which replaces the six-speed manual transmission.
Option packages for the T5 include a Premium package (S40 $2,350; V50 $2,395) with a power tilt/slide glass sunroof, leather seating surfaces, eight-way power adjustable passenger seat with lumbar support, and memory for the power driver seat. For 2007 the Premium package adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and Homelink transmitter. The appropriately named Dynamic Trim package ($1,995) increases the dynamics and the dynamic look of this model with a front chin spoiler, rear lower valance spoiler, trunk-mounted spoiler, side skirts, and 17-inch Scotia alloy wheels. For 2007 Volvo adds the Dynamic suspension to this package along with a sport steering wheel and gearshift knob. The Audio package ($895) includes a 325-watt Dolby Pro-Logic II surround sound system with 12 speakers and an in-dash six-disc CD player. A Climate package ($675) includes rain-sensor wipers, heated front seats, and headlamp washers. Stand-alone options are similar to the base car's except for the notable additions of bi-xenon headlamps ($700), DVD-based navigation system ($2,120). New stand-alone options for 2007 include Sirius satellite radio ($295), keyless drive ($450) and 17-inch Zaurak ($1,495) and Sagitta wheels ($550).
The S40 T5 AWD ($28,990) and V50 T5 AWD ($30,190) feature an electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system. T5 models come standard with a six-speed manual; the five-speed Geartronic automatic is optional ($1,250). The same packages and stand-alone options as above are available.
Safety is a top priority at Volvo, and all S40 sedan and V50 wagon models come with side curtain and side-impact airbags, projector-type headlamps, a rear fog light, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution. The addition of Dynamic Stability Traction Control (DSTC) for the 2007 models adds some peace of mind to w