2008 Volvo S40

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Key Specs
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Overview
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Key Specs

of the 2008 Volvo S40. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    22-24 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    168-hp, 2.4-liter I-5 (premium)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Rich feel
  • Nimble
  • Relative interior space
  • Safety features galore
  • Blind-spot detection option
  • Large trunk opening

The Bad

  • T5 manual transmission discontinued
  • Below-average reliability
  • Side-impact crash test could be better
  • Premium gas preferred
  • Backseat a bit tight

Notable Features of the 2008 Volvo S40

  • Lightly restyled
  • T5 engine gains power
  • Cabin storage increased
  • Front- or all-wheel drive
  • New safety features
  • Wagon version (V50) offered

2008 Volvo S40 Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview
Volvo's smallest sedan, the compact S40, comes in 2.4i and T5 trim levels, the latter offered in all- as well as front-wheel drive. A few years past a full redesign, the S40 and its V50 wagon sister have been substantially freshened for 2008. The exterior is refinished, cabin storage is improved and there are new safety and convenience features. The T5 gets more power from the same engine but loses its choice of transmissions. Competitors include the Audi A3, Subaru WRX and Volkswagen GTI.

Exterior
For 2008, the nose and tail are modified, and though Volvo says it has changed the headlights and taillights, it seems limited to the elements within, such as taillamp LEDs and lens colors, and not a change in overall shape. The V-shaped hood bulge runs down into a more sculpted nose, and the lower air intake is broader. The unmistakable diagonal cross-member grille is even less mistakable, with a 50 percent larger Volvo logo. In contrast to the nose, the door sill and bumper extensions have been smoothed out. A Dynamic Trim Package option for the T5 adds a trunklid spoiler, side skirts and spoilers for the "chin" and below the rear bumper.

The S40 was an early adopter of side mirrors with integrated turn signals. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels are standard, but 17-inchers are available on either trim level.


Interior
The standard upholstery in the five-occupant interior has a slightly coarse woven feel said to be inspired by sportswear. Leather upholstery is available. V...
Vehicle Overview
Volvo's smallest sedan, the compact S40, comes in 2.4i and T5 trim levels, the latter offered in all- as well as front-wheel drive. A few years past a full redesign, the S40 and its V50 wagon sister have been substantially freshened for 2008. The exterior is refinished, cabin storage is improved and there are new safety and convenience features. The T5 gets more power from the same engine but loses its choice of transmissions. Competitors include the Audi A3, Subaru WRX and Volkswagen GTI.

Exterior
For 2008, the nose and tail are modified, and though Volvo says it has changed the headlights and taillights, it seems limited to the elements within, such as taillamp LEDs and lens colors, and not a change in overall shape. The V-shaped hood bulge runs down into a more sculpted nose, and the lower air intake is broader. The unmistakable diagonal cross-member grille is even less mistakable, with a 50 percent larger Volvo logo. In contrast to the nose, the door sill and bumper extensions have been smoothed out. A Dynamic Trim Package option for the T5 adds a trunklid spoiler, side skirts and spoilers for the "chin" and below the rear bumper.

The S40 was an early adopter of side mirrors with integrated turn signals. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels are standard, but 17-inchers are available on either trim level.


Interior
The standard upholstery in the five-occupant interior has a slightly coarse woven feel said to be inspired by sportswear. Leather upholstery is available. Volvo says storage space is improved both in the door pockets and center console. The center armrest is modified for greater comfort, and the handbrake handle is smaller and less intrusive. The T5's instruments are redesigned for 2008 with watch-style gauges. Nordic Light Oak trim is now optional on the 2.4i; the T5 has aluminum trim.

The rear seatbacks fold down separately, and the front passenger seat's backrest also folds flat. Standard 2.4i equipment includes air conditioning, power windows, power locks with remote keyless entry, and a leather-wrapped tilt/telescoping steering wheel. The S40's auxiliary stereo input for MP3 players is now standard equipment. A single-CD player with steering-wheel stereo controls is standard, but buyers can upgrade to an in-dash six-CD changer. Sirius Satellite Radio is standard on the T5 and optional on the 2.4i and includes six months of free service.

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 T5 includes leather seating surfaces, a power sunroof and a power passenger seat, among other items. T5 options include keyless ignition, a sport steering wheel and gearshift knob, a new premium stereo, a GPS navigation system and active xenon headlights that swivel in the direction of a turn. The previous option's were fixed.


Under the Hood
A 2.4-liter inline-five-cylinder produces 168 horsepower in the 2.4i. High-performance T5 editions employ a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five-cylinder that now generates 227 hp (up from 218 hp) and 236 pounds-feet of torque. The 2.4i comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission, while the T5 comes with a standard five-speed automatic that includes Geartronic operation for manually selected gear changes. All-wheel-drive T5s now come only with a Geartronic five-speed automatic. The six-speed manual has been discontinued. With the addition of the Dynamic Trim Package, T5 models gain a sport suspension, sport steering wheel and a shift knob with aluminum trim.

Safety
The S40 has earned good crash-test scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Specifically, it scores Good (the best possible) in frontal and rear impacts and Acceptable (one ranking below) in the side-impact test.

The wealth of standard safety features includes side-impact and side curtain airbags, all-disc antilock brakes, an electronic stability system with traction control and a tire pressure monitoring system. Advanced options include the Blind Spot Information System, which lights an indicator just inboard of either of the S40's side mirrors when a car occupies its corresponding blind spot.


Driving Impressions
Even when equipped with the automatic transmission, the S40 2.4i accelerates with spirit, though the engine growls when pushed. Despite a taut suspension, ride comfort is generally satisfactory, but the sedan can hit some bumps rather hard. We have yet to drive the newly upgraded T5.

Stable on the road, the S40 maneuvers easily and delivers appealing control. Curves produce only modest body lean, and the sedan corners crisply. Occupants tend to sit on top of the seats rather than in them, but they still prove supportive and comfortable during long drives. The cabin is impressively roomy — roughly the same volume as the larger S60 sedan.



Latest 2008 S40 Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.6)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(4.3)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

Poor man's beemer.

by EverettW from Everett on January 25, 2018

I've only owned it a week but what a car...tight smooth and quick. Im getting 27 mpg city/hway combined. Most comfortable seats I've ever experienced on the road. 100k and it looks and drives like new... Read full review

(4.0)

Great Car

by volvo guy 1 from nashua, nh on October 19, 2017

I am a taller person and the added shoulder room is nice. This car is heavy so you feel safe but it is quick to the spot so you get the thrill if you like to drive fast. Decent on gas mileage. ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2008 Volvo S40 currently has 2 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2008 Volvo S40 2.4i

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
marginal
Overall Side
acceptable
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The S40 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker