A brisk, fun drive on all but the most basic cars
Comfortable and stylish
Plenty of safety kit to reassure drivers
Get set for hassle-free motoring
Can't match rivals for passenger and boot space
Every car gets excellent equipment as standard and there are plenty of extras too
There is just the one mainstream petrol engine - a 2.0-litre unit - although there's also a high-performance 2.5-litre unit thats reserved for the range-topping T5 R-Design model. Nevertheless, the smart money goes on one of the 1.6- or 2.0-litre diesel engines, and even the least powerful of these is quite punchy.
The S40's front seats are comfortable, with plenty of shoulder and thigh support, and theres a wide range of adjustment for the steering wheel, as well as a good view to the rear. The controls are small and fiddly and the information display could be clearer. There's plenty of leg- and headroom in the front seats. However, things aren't so good in the back; there's reasonable legroom, but headroom is tight and similarly priced cars like the VW Passat give you significant extra space.
The cabin is trimmed with good-quality fixtures and fittings, giving it a classy feel, and it appears to be well built. The five-cylinder engine, also used in the S60 and S80, is well proven and reliable. In the 2012 JD Power customer satisfaction survey, and the S40 was its best-performing model, third in its class.
The Volvo is not cheap for a small family car, but the S40's quality and high levels of standard equipment justify the pricetag to a degree. For £100, owners can buy a three-year/36,000 mile package that covers all scheduled servicing costs, while the sub-100g/km DRIVe models bring low rates of company car- and road tax.