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Volvo S40



  • Getting back to safety, one reason that Volvo consistently gets high marks for occupant safety is due to the non-adjustable seat-headrest design. IIHS ran tests of the BMW 5 series 2 or 3 years ago and gave a conditional endorsement of the 5 series' seats based on which model of seat was in the car. It seems that the standard seats did not provide as much protection from whiplash injury as the upgraded seat (not the Sport seat).

    Also, the new S40 did even better than the S60 in IIHS tests. The S60 had some drivers side footwell intrusion which might cause injury to the driver - the S40 did not have any passenger compartment intrusion.

    In regard to back seat room, I would have to agree with Lev - the back seat room in the 3 series is tiny. Maybe it is okay if the seats are non-power and the passenger is 5'11" or smaller, and the passenger takes off their shoes to fit into the back; but that strikes me as having to make compromises to meet an objective. The new S40 with powered front seats can definitely fit a 6'1" back seat passenger (and you don't have to take off your shoes to fit).
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "Getting back to safety, one reason that Volvo consistently gets high marks for occupant safety is due to the non-adjustable seat-headrest design. IIHS ran tests..."

    Adjustable headrests most likely have to be lowered all the way during the crash tests by assuming that passengers are as dumb as the dummies for not raising the headrests accordingly. I remember seeing the brochure of the '80 Audi 5000 w/ VW-like height-adjustable front headrests. But the actual car sold in America had some thick wrapping to keep the headrests permanently extended. Appearantly Audi tried to achieve a higher crash-test rating.

    But making the Volvo's headrests height adjustable to tailor different individuals will only make the car not just more comfortable, but safer as well!

    Not long ago, I was rear ended in my '90 Protege LX by a senior citizen driving an Avalon. Thanks to my pickiness, I had the non-contour headrest re-padded w/ towels to match my neck contour. So I was pretty much ok w/ only very little discomfort briefly the next day. I totally dismissed the accident charge & let the guy go, so his insurance rate won't go up. If every one behaves like me, then our insurance rates will go down.

    Except for blocking the rear passengers' visibility, it's still no big deal that Volvo's contour-shape headrests are a little too high for you. 'cause you can always wrap some additional paddings to support your neck. But if it's too low, then some people might even try to remove the whole headrest all together. That's why Volvo even made them unremovable.
  • Peter,
    You need to visit the Volvo safety center, or at least read Volvo's safety related publications to appreciate how much attention does Volvo pay to the passive safety and how much research efforts went into their seat design. I was rear-ended twice in my Volvo S80, once pretty severe by large GM SUV (I could not remember the exact model, and because of the exception seat design neither I nor my wife felt any discomfort, while the rear end of my car was pretty much destroyed (so, unfortunately, I could not let the other party go).
  • I just bought an S40 2004.5 with 2.4i
    Automatic transmission, premium package, climate package, flint grey, offblack lather interior with aluminum center control panel&
    for $25,800.00.
    I got 1.9 financing for 3 years. I think I did OK.
    I would appreciate any comments. It's my first Volvo and I want to keep it for as long as I can.
  • The s80 is a superb riding car unless a) it's one of the early ones with bad bushings b) the tires are terribly overinflated c) something's out of calibration. Since the s80 was rented perhaps something was out of calibration. I don't know.

    The s80's strong point is its gentle, slow-motion ride without much float. Creak, try another one, this is an old model but one with a superb overall feel. I dont' know about the 4C model, however.

    The xc70 isn't my favorite but it rides OK. I don't care for the rebound and float. It does really well on smooth roads and gravel roads but feels a bit "blobby" to me over large bumps, uneven roads and bumps with dips.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    That AWD S80 sure didn't have any slow-motion ride. Make sense, since Volvo has to reserve the more pampering ride for the 6-cyl FWD S80, which costs about $10k more than the 5-cyl AWD S80.
  • Peter,
    Check the prices - the actual difference between S80 2.5T and S80 T6 FWD will be maybe $3500 - 4000, and when you option them comparably, the 2.5T and T6 will be maybe $1500 apart (do not take my word for it, do the math at There are some additional incentives for T6, so I would not be surprised, that somebody will be able to buy T6 cheaper than 2,5T.

    My S80 non-turbo 6 cyl. 2.9 (with that "slow-motion" ride) was even less expensive than 2.5T AWD.

    What you refer to - is so called Premier version, with stretched room in the rear, DVD entertainment, f ridge, etc. but it is rather exotic, and is not sold much here.

    We were referring to the "regular" S80 FWD which is, once again either less expensive or a bit more expensive due to the bigger engine and longer default option list.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    So the AWD S80 & especially the AWD S70 got disappointing ride motion/comfort. Could it be that Volvo AWD models automatically get a more jittery-tuned suspension? I didn't have a chance to compare to their FWD counterparts.

    This doesn't seem to apply on the S40/V50, does it?
  • I can't comment about the S80 AWD and its ride. However, I have owned both an S70 AWD (MY 2000) and presently own an S60 AWD (MY 2002), and both had/have a great ride. My only complaint about the S60 AWD is the bloated turning circle (39 feet curb-to-curb).
  • Dough,
    Do not be upset with the turning radius. It's just as good (or bad, whatever your general perception of life is) as any modern leading brands of the same size.

    See my posting ##1820 on S60 board.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    39 is pretty large. The s40 is 35, which is significantly better. It sounds like a trifle, i know, but my car having small turning circle is something i'm glad of fairly often.
  • Check out the October issue of Car & Driver - there is a comparo that puts the S40 T5 2nd, right behind the Acura TSX. The Audi A4 1.8T was a distant 4th. The TSX has a 40 foot turning circle, which is absurd for a car in this class. I've driven the TSX, and I just test drove an S40 T5 with the six-speed yesterday... I'm in love. I think I'm going to have to order an S40.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    & I hate the S40 w/ sport suspension even more. So that S40 T-5 deserve to be ranked behind the TSX in that test.

    But I do love the S40 w/o sport suspension. It just need to include the charcoal filter for American-spec cars. As the AWD V50 tests all proved to you that the comfy non-sport suspension equipped w/ the optional 17"s still handles great.

    The 5-cyl's turbo lag is worse than Subaru's 4-cyl turbo, though, per C&D.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    I read that test-and to be honest, it seemed specious to me to place the TSX first. It was entirely based on subjective areas such as "fun" and "looks." Persoanlly, i think the TSX looks rather bland, but, oh well. What the test says has no real impact on me.

    I really like the a4, but i agree that it's quite underpowered compared to what's available now.

    I am surprised the TSX rated so highly for its ride comfort, as i've never been too impressed by acuras in this area. But people have diferent ideas of what ride comort is.

    I didn't realize there was no charcoal filter. I wonder why not?

    I'm pretty interested in the s40 but not looking to buy exactly now.

  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    No car in that test rides well, not even the Audi. Audi's engine layout is a faulty design, & even the engine location of the next model probably only shifts slightly backward due to a more compact transmission. So either the ride or the handling has to be sacrificed.

    The TSX is a thoroughly competent car due do a suspension with longer travel than the Mazda6 but tauter, which means it'll almost never run out of travel even when cornering hard over bumps. As far as the steering being not communicative, you're hot date in the passenger seat won't know when you impress her going through challenging roads.

    "I didn't realize there was no charcoal filter. I wonder why not?"

    I believe Americans don't carpool much, & hence most of the time don't need anything larger than an S40. So in order to sell the other Volvo's, they might as well ruin the S40 here by making it the only model not available w/ the auto-recirculate charcoal filter.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    IAQS and the filter are 2 different things.
    The S40 has a filter, it lacks the IAQS.
    IAQS is a monitoring system that will put the car into recirculate mode if the sensor detects carbon monoxide or other unpleasant gases entering the cabin in sufficent quantity to do harm.
    This is different from the filter that was designed to remove dust, pollen and smoke from the air entering the cabin.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    "I believe Americans don't carpool much, & hence most of the time don't need anything larger than an S40. So in order to sell the other Volvo's, they might as well ruin the S40"

    So, americans don't like big vehicles, and are adamant about charcoal filters?
  • Lev, the subject of the S60's turning circle has been lively. I have made numerous comments about it in the S60 forum. The basic issue that gives me grief is that I have a Yukon Denali with a 116 inch wheelbase and it can do a 38 foot curb-to-curb turning circle. That extra 1 foot is the difference between a three-point (sometimes more) turn in a parking lot. The S60s turning circle has been an issue for me since I traded an 850 Turbo (with if memory serves, a 34 foot turning circle) for the S60. When the second gen S40 was at the dealer, I took the demo out for a long drive - parking lot turns, twisty roads, etc. To net out the experience, if an AWD version of the S40 had been available, I would have bought it on the spot. Now, I have an S40 AWD on order. My only gripe with the S60 has been the turning circle; when the S60R came out with a 42 foot turning circle, there was no way that I as going to get it.
  • Not having the IAQS in the 2005 S40 is a disapointment. I also would have liked the In Car Entertainment system to have had a provision for an Aux-in capability so that I could connect either an XM satellite receiver or an iPod to the unit.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    The narrow rear visibility of the newer Volvo's is even more annoying than the turning circle, 'cause you need that visibility all the time for lane change & 2-lane-hwy passing, & hence SAFETY as well. Losing a chance to change lane or passing can be lethal. Volvo people aren't top experts when comes to accident prevention.

    These broad shoulders make the car look tough for side protection & also remind you of the good old 200-series from Volvo's glory days. But unlike the good'o 200-series, these newer Volvo's modern tapered rear width ruins the wide rear view thru your inside rear view mirrors. & that's also why I can't stand any wagon or hatch except the exceptionally designed '92-95 Civic 3-dr.

    Volvo concept car's see-thru A-pillar is a great idea for accident prevention. But Volvo's blind-spot alarm isn't really necessary. That warning system does not tell you the whole picture of the size or movement of the obstacle. The driver-side mirror of a foreign-spec car these days has the outer edge curve outward to cover the blind spot completely!
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    “"I believe Americans don't carpool much, & hence most of the time don't need anything larger than an S40. So in order to sell the other Volvo's, they might as well ruin the S40"

    So, americans don't like big vehicles, and are adamant about charcoal filters?”

    I should have said "big sedans", 'cause Americans love Hummers.

    My guess is that Volvo realized they have to ruin the S40 by the time they introduced the car in America 'cause the S60 has no advantage over the the S40 -- room? safety? price? ride? steering? style? parking ease? etc.

    Or maybe foreign countries are too crowded that about the only Volvo people are willing to buy is the small-exterior S40, so Volvo better include the charcoal filter to attract all the buyers they can.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "This is different from the filter that was designed to remove dust, pollen and smoke from the air entering the cabin."

    The pollen filter, which is also found in the Civic/Accord/TSX/CRV, filters out solid particles including the smelly diesel soot. It is most likely done by an electrostatic ionizer.

    Gaseous smell needs charcoal to absorb away. Mercedes has a charcoal switch w/ a timer, 'cause the charcoal life gets used up too soon if you keep it on all the time.

    Volvo's customer service told me that if the recirculate button has both "M" & "A"(auto recirculate) on it, then it has a charcoal filter.

    Here's why, according to BMW, as the CO & HC detector senses these pollutants, it will switch to recirculate mode automatically for up to several minutes, then the charcoal filter gets to turn on to suck out these pollutants already entered the car.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    I still don't buy it--the s60 does have an advantage--it has a significantly more upscale interior.

    Volvo is trying to grab sales away from BMW, audi, etc. If it though the s40 would kill the s60, they'd either not ship the s40 here or withdraw the s60. No sense in shipping a crippled car here.

    90% of buyers don't even know what a charcoal filter is.

    The entire idea is nonsensical.

  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "I still don't buy it--the s60 does have an advantage--it has a significantly more upscale interior."

    One big reason I recommended most people the S40 T5 over the S60 & even the 325i is the throne-like driving position. It makes you feel like a king when you can relax your left elbow resting on the high door armrest even when you sit high. & at the same time your left hand is holding a 9-o'clock steering wheel spoke w/ turn signal stalk w/in the reach of your index finger & the cruise buttons just a thumb away. So your right hand doesn't have to touch the steering wheel 100% of the time, which means you can either leave it on the shifter while operating the stereo/HVAC the same time, or simply just busy working on your hot date! ;-)

    I do hate the American-spec S40's manual/cloth seat's lack of adjustment features on the passenger side. Can't impress your hot date with it!

    "90% of buyers don't even know what a charcoal filter is."

    Charcoal filter used to be a $1000(or $500) option on the Mercedes S-class. The non-turbo S40 is already almost $5000 more expensive than a similarly equipped TSX & hence belongs to the premium compact class.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Volvo Customer service was incorrect(big surprise)
    They were probably confused about the IAQS system.
    The giveaway on the IAQS is the M and A buttons on the recirc switch.

    Honestly, most of our consumers don't know what IAQS is or could almost care less about it.
    The fact that its not offered on the S40 hasn't cost us any sales that I'm aware of.
    Heck, we don't outfit the S40's w/ half of whats available just due to price concerns.
  • But for those that do know what IAQS is, it is a disappointment that it is not at least offered as an option. The non-availability of IAQS did not cause me to not place my order; I just wish it was available as an option, because I would have ordered it.
  • Does anyone have this option on their car? I'm curious how much it cuts noise levels, if at all. As a fairly inexpensive stand alone option, I'm thinking it might be worth getting.
  • I have this option on my S60 AWD and there is a noticable quieting of outside noise. From a qualitative perspective, the noise that a motorcycle at throttle makes is reduced from not being able to have a cellular telephone conversation to being able to have the conversation. The laminated side glass does not eliminate the sound; but it does cut the sound intrusion.

    I have included the option on the S40 AWD that I have on order.
  • guyfguyf Posts: 456
    After much consideration, we will be leasing an S60 rather than the S40. Reason is the great deals going on the last 2004 models.

    For $10 more per month, this is what we get on the S60 2.5T with premium and sport packages compared to a S40 2.4 with climate and premium package.

    Low pressure turbo engine
    Automatic transmission
    17" wheels
    Sun roof
    Fog lights
    Bi xénon headlamps
    Speed sensitive steering
    Trip computer
    Wood trim
    Air outlets to rear passengers in B pillars
    Power passenger seat
    Auto dimming rear view mirror

    We prefer the outside look of the S40 but prefer the interior of the S60. Since we will be inside the car and not looking at it from outside, the choice was easy.
This discussion has been closed.