When it went on sale in spring 2004 as a 2004.5 model, the latest version of the S40 compact sedan was a little shorter, wider and taller than its predecessor � and aimed more clearly at a younger audience. Priced lower than before, the 2004.5 model was billed by the automaker as "new from the ground up."
Safety and crashworthiness are principal themes for the S40, which includes a stiff body and side-impact and side curtain-type airbags. For 2005, the T5 model can be fitted with all-wheel drive. The S40 is manufactured in Belgium.
Although it has more interior volume than the previous S40 and uses a longer wheelbase, the current sedan is 2.2 inches shorter overall. Styling does not veer dramatically away from the prior generation. An upright grille with a diagonal cross-member, a V-shaped hood and large wraparound taillights are installed. Turn signals are integrated into the door mirrors, and the S40's shoulders, which run along the bodysides, enhance its resemblance to other Volvo models.
Alloy wheels hold standard 16-inch tires, but 17-inchers are available. A rear spoiler and pronounced sill moldings can be installed. Built on a 103.9-inch wheelbase, the S40 is 175.9 inches long overall and 57.2 inches tall.
Standard upholstery in the five-occupant interior is said to be inspired by sportswear accessories. The rear seatbacks fold down separately, and the front passenger seat has a folding backrest. Two round gauges on the instrument cluster are surrounded by metal bezels. Leather upholstery is available.
Standard 2.4i equipment includes air conditioning, power windows and locks, a CD audio system, remote-control central locking, a leather-wrapped tilt/telescoping steering wheel and a theft-deterrent system. The T5 sedan adds a power driver's seat, electronic climate control, a trip computer and aluminum interior trim. An optional Premium Package for the 2.4i includes leather seating surfaces, a power moonroof and electronic climate control. Trunk space totals 14.3 cubic feet.
Under the Hood
The S40 2.4i is equipped with a 2.4-liter inline-five-cylinder that produces 168 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. The high-performance T5 edition holds a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five-cylinder that generates 218 hp at 5,000 rpm and 236 pounds-feet of torque at 1,500 rpm. The 2.4i comes standard with a five-speed-manual transmission, while the T5 uses a standard six-speed manual. Both models can be equipped with a five-speed automatic that includes Geartronic operation for manually selected gear changes.
All-disc antilock brakes, side-impact airbags and side curtain-type airbags are standard. Dynamic Stability and Traction Control is optional.
The S40 accelerates with some spirit even when equipped with the automatic transmission, though the engine growls when pushed. Despite a taut suspension, ride comfort is generally satisfactory, but the sedan can hit some bumps rather hard.
The S40 is stable on the road, maneuvers easily and delivers appealing control. Curves produce only modest body lean, and the sedan corners crisply. Driveline whine is noticeable at times. Despite ample cushioning, drivers tend to sit on top of the seat as opposed to in it.