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Volvo S40



  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    The V50 is the wagon version of the S40. Both were introduced in Europe a few months ago. The S40 has been on dealer lots for about 3 months and V50's just hit this month. Pricing can be found at or if you click New Cars here at Edmunds, you can find the pricing.

    Good Luck.
  • grantchstrgrantchstr Posts: 371
    Thanks, whats the incentive for the V50, if any?
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    So even C&D & MT (rather than just CR) would bother to road test the new compact Volvo w/o the torturous sport suspension. The wagon tested by them did come w/ 17" wheels as a $500 option.

    "...the V50 pulled an impressive 0.85 g, again bettering the performance of the sporting wagons form Audi and BMW..."(C&D)

    Like the "S2000 and RX-8s -- sporty, quick, and fun cars that are relatively affordable", the "V50, too, is sporty, quick and fun..."(C&D)

    "The V50 posted a confidence-inspiring slalom speed of 66 mph, on par with the likes of the much ballyhooed Performance Package-equipped BMW 330i."(MT)

    It's no wonder. Unlike the std 325i, the S40's(both sp & non-sp) I tested, w/ & w/o DSC, had an impressively stable rear end, & hence very easy to toss around at the limit. DSC's intervention comes on smoothly on wet surface & only as a back up when you need it -- this is the Focus style.

    & overall, even w/ spirited handling, ride comfort still...

    "Not only did the Volvo effectively match or beat the (WRX-based)Saab's performance at the test track, the V50 further persuaded us with its higher standard levels of ride quality..."(MT)

    Note: The Subaru WRX already has a more absorbent ride than the BMW 3-series Compact's std sport suspension.

    "We had sneak peak some months back at the V50's new chassis in Mazda 3 guise, so we weren't surprised to find it well balanced. It never felt too harsh driving around Michigan's pocked roads, yet it didn't just lean over and give up when lateral grip began to rise."(C&D)

    "To this formula Volvo adds a perfectly tuned chassis that conceals road blemishes while providing predictable and spirited handling."(C&D)

    This is w/ 17"s, imagine how smooth w/ the 16"s.

    Also, "Freeway running was silent and smooth. Road and wind noise barely registered."(MT)

    "Although the V50 sends 100 percent of its power to the front wheels until slip is detected, torque steer is surprisingly absent"(C&D)

    So the T-5's torque steer is not likely to be a problem even in FWD form.

    "Even with all this power, turbo lag is virtually nonexistent, noticeable only when lightly modulating the throttle from a standing still."(C&D)

    "If there's one thing we wish we could banish from the Volvo portfolio, however, it would be the inline-five turbo's characteristic rubberband power delivery. While this trait wasn't apparent during full throttle blasts, it did make smooth stoplight get away and parallel parking a bit more touchy than we'd like."(MT)

    Maybe the stick version isn't as hard to modulate, but this 2.5 5-cyl turbo engine still isn't that perfectly desirable. Eventhough it's not as noisy as the n.a. 2.4 5-cyl, still this "inline-five produces uninspiring engine drone"(MT). So you might be better off w/ the foreign-market quiet-revving 4-cyl developed by Mazda if you don't need much power.

    Besides, the turbo's boost-built-up time delays the full max torque till about 3000 rpm when you accelerate, & by that rpm you usually already up-shifted to the next gear.
  • OK, so we visit the Volvo dealer, we have the full pricing sheet and option sheet -- we configure a new S40 T5 AWD and it comes to (@full MSRP) a hair over $40,000 (this baby was loaded).

    So next we get to some nitty gritty details, since the price sheet says Standard Equipment as in lower models, plus. . . .

    Here is what is "missing" and these are, from our perspective "fatal, deal-killing, oversights."

    From the ridiculous to the sublime:

    1. No sat radio
    2. No blue-tooth
    3. No in-car phone prep or option
    4. No Volvo On*Call (their version of On*Star)

    Before you say "wah!" Before you roll your eyes and look at me like I've got six heads, let's examine these "inexpensive" (for the manufacturer) features.

    #1 Sat radio -- virtually every car in "this class" offers this technology. Many cars offer it that are well below the Volvo's class and intended customer base. And puzzling as Volvo brags about an umpteen speaker Dolby Pro-logic sound system -- sat radio is becoming an "assumed" feature (standard or optional, I'll grant, but assumed nevertheless).

    #2 & #3 Blue-tooth &/or "cell phone" prep. I'm lumping these together for several reasons. Here's the killer reason -- lawyers and lawmakers. Don't kill the messenger, but within 18 months (mark my words, mark your calendars) there will be bills and individual state laws "put into effect" that will fine drivers who are caught using a "non-hands-free" and possibly "non-hand-and-eyes-free" in car phone. Some states have already passed such laws. The way around this is technically elegant -- or it can be. First you can now acquire for low or no cost blue tooth capable phones, when you are talking on them outside of your car, you hold them and use them in the way we've all grown accustomed to; then, when you get into your blue tooth car, the phone and its controls are automatically transferred to the sound system and buttons on the steering wheel and sometimes even voice activiation goes with the territory.

    A cool toy to be sure -- a big fine if you're caught using the phone while driving in the "conventional way" -- you may cry "big brotherism" you may moan and complain -- just take it from me, Repulican or Democrat or Eye of Newt Party, this law is coming and don't shoot me, I'm just the piano player.

    How could you sell a car in 2005 that has DVD navigation, smart key, 13 speaker Dolby Surround etc etc etc -- and overlook this [love it or hate it] looming safety regulation (especially when you're Volvo?) Fatal flaw, sales wise, in the long run.

    #4 No "On*Call" -- this, frankly, is much more personal; you may hate the notion of "On*Star" or you may think it is a waste of $16.95 per month. Well, Senator, I knew Jack Kennedy, he was a friend of mine, and you're no. . .you know the rest. Having lived with On*star and it's features, such as Virtual Advisor and voice activated hand and eyes free phone integration "dial 555-1212" -- I can tell you this is another one of those things that, like Sat Nav, morphs from cool toy to valuable feature to safety feature. And, if you use your car for business, you can forward your email to your car and the darn thing figures out how to read your text email to you while you're driving.

    You may argue the "need" for such features (1 - 4 above). You should evaluate them, however, in the context of competitive advantage and/or disadvantage. Having them may NOT provide any advantage -- But, NOT HAVING THEM will provide a disadvantage that will be difficult (in this price class) for many potential customers to overlook.

    Even VW's have On*star available for Pete's sake as do low end Chebbies!

    The real killer, however, is that lack of blue-tooth or cell phone prep. When you drive in our medium sized city [Cincinnati] and see more people ON the phone while driving than NOT, you can bet the legislature will soon be putting the kibosh on THAT! Hate to buy a $40K car and then have to after-market-rig a way around that!

    Until they "fix" this thing, take the S40 off [your] shopping list, it's already in minute 16.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    Sat Radio - nice to have but the vast majority of people are not going to pay for the service.

    Blue Tooth - nice feature but I think you're over reaching on the legislation issue. AFAIK, 2 states (NY and NJ) and one county in Ohio have passed a hands free law. Heck, even here in MA the legislature failed to approve a hands free requirement just last week. Further, meeting the law in most cases can be met by using an ear bud or head piece. Lastly, the only vehicle offered now with bluetooth compatability that I know is the Acura TL, so if it's so important almost everybody is behind the curve.

    On-Star - again I think few people are willing to pony up the subscription fee. On-Star is optional on most GM cars bacause GM owns On-Star. Outside the GM family only VW/Audi are really offering it. It's available in the current RL which is on it's out and Subaru isn't offering it anymore.

    We all have our own opinions but to rip into a vehicle because it's not perfect in your eyes is a bit harsh.

    If it makes you feel any better the S40 is available in Europe with the intergrated phone - s/ - click on instrumentation under interior. Perhaps focus groups here in the US nixed that feature.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    The number of competitors to this car when you get an MSRP in the $40k range is just staggering. I simply cannot imagine spending this kind of money for any S40/V50. To each his own...and never mind the missing "features", none of which I would care about...
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    One last thing - how did you get it over $40K? With every box checked for the S40 T5 AWD, it doesn't crack $37K here in Boston. Not a good value at $37K either IMHO.
  • The S40 T5 AWD -- at this moment -- is THE bargain in the range/class that it presumes (and really is) to be in.

    My comments, were not meant to be a rip - and I am aware that the cell phone / hands free facility is available elsewhere (for despite the incredulity I may have elicited, Europe will soon be "hands free" mandated -- and we'll see how far along we are here in NA in 18 months).

    The S40 T5 AWD @ $40K list compares (and content-wise surpasses) favorably with the Audi A4 3.0 and the 3 Series Bimmers. And, when all tarted up like this S40 would be at this price, these competitors cost more, several thousands of dollars more. Perhaps if you thought the VW Passat V6 w/4Motion could be a contender (but the Vee Dub cannot be had with sat nav, e.g.) @ $32K, well you would be right, the S40 is over priced. But this little dude is a fairly high performance European sport sedan with AWD and a 6speed manual transmission and (minus my gripes previously stated) "nearly all the toys" one has come to expect in this price range.

    And, while I certainly agree with the "to each his own" philosophy, I would wonder out loud if you have had these features that I am "on" about -- or better said, how do you know you would not care about them?

    Finally, since Volvo offers phone prep and On*Call elsewhere and on other models, at least understand my suggestion that most of us who buy cars between $35K and $75K have come to expect certain "available" features (standard or extra cost).

    "What once were vices are now virtues. . ." as the song goes.
  • I did not even check every option box on the price sheet and the number, as I recall was $40,165. I think that there was a paint option for $400 bucks that I didn't select, since we were just looking at black -- we did, however, check laminated glass, ground effects, sat nav and every package and upgrade available except metallic paint and gun rack or some other silly thing that was on the "individual option" sheet. Sorry, I left the price guide in my coat pocket, if I remember, I'll post the config and the MSRP's (BTW there was offered a decent discount off MSRP -- but the lack of phone prep was too serious an omission to allow the car, no matter what the price, to remain on the list.) The dealer thinks the "oversights" mentioned previously will be addressed, especially sat radio (very popular) and the phone prep.

    FWIW, the dealer said most who get On*Call don't renew -- I am a fan of On*Star, so color me in the minority.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "Lastly, the only vehicle offered now with bluetooth compatability that I know is the Acura TL..."

    That's the whole point. The S40 is smaller than the TSX, yet cost no less than the TL when equipped liked the TSX.

    The TSX is only a $27k($29k w/ navigation) car, so Volvo's removal of auto-recirculate charcoal filter for the N.A. S40 is unacceptable. That's why neither the 3-series nor the C-class(today) would dare not to include this feature std.

    The main reason this new Volvo excels is because it utilizes the German-designed suspension & steering from the Focus II. Other than that, Volvo is behind in technology. Our '86 top-of-the-line Volvo 760 was so primitive that the turbo compressor wasn't even water cooled, the rear suspension wasn't independent, the climate control didn't even come w/ a recirculate feature, & the right outside mirror didn't have a convexed lens. Volvo eventually corrected them years later.

    I don't mind paying for one XM radio subscription. But I need to take it from one car to another, 'cause I drive multiple number of cars.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    Mark - on I checked off every option including the metallic paint and it came out to $36,865 for a Cincinatti zip code - same MSRP price as in Boston. Did your dealer toss on a bunch of add ons??

    Since I'm looking at a lower priced version of the V50, I'm not as concerned as you are on some of the features.
  • The car that is on the web site is a 2004.5, the one I have the price sheet for is a 2005 S40 T5 AWD w/6speed manual transmission.

    I will post the prices when I pull the price sheet out of my coat pocekt -- which, is not with me at the moment.

    The www is NOT current and doesn't even list the 2005 models yet.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    Gotcha on the MY thing. Then perhaps you should consider OSD program. Pricing for 05 models are at
  • As a follow up, besides the increasing "news stories," anecdotes and European adoption, I have been able to find information that certainly strongly suggests that the in-car phone "controls" and fines are being widely considered and are all but inevitable -- and, despite my re-visitng of this topic (more broadly than just as it pertains to Volvo's S40), I am, to say the least, troubled by "big brotherism" even though I do try to analyze this from a "public expense" rather than personal liberty point of view.

    For clarification, I do not think the government should tell me to fasten my seat belt. I don't need the government to do this -- I fasten my belt before I start the car while it is still in the garage. What I do appreciate, however, is if by virtue of the government's mandating seatbelt usage my insurance costs have been at least minimally contained.

    As of 2002:

    "Legislators in 31 states considered approximately 100 bills regarding distracted driving, down from 43 states that considered more than 140 bills in 2001. A common misconception is that all wireless phone legislation is to ban the use of phones in the car. In fact, in 2002, only five states considered outright prohibitions of all cell phones and other communications technology while driving. More common were proposals to restrict certain types of devices or to improve data collection. Twenty-four states considered legislation to prohibit the use of hand-held phones while driving. Eleven states considered measures to improve data collection or study the relationship between driver distractions and crashes. Five states considered legislation that would have increased penalties or negligence for drivers who crash while using a cell phone. Six states looked at prohibiting school bus drivers from using cell phones, while six states considered prohibiting young drivers from using cell phones. Five states considered measures that would have prohibited all driver distractions including, but not limited to, cell phones."

    Current (2004) info can be found here (click on Distracted Driving):


    And, this as recent as June, 2004:

    "With 31 states either outlawing or considering a ban on cell phone use in a car without a hands-free device, the cell phone and automobile industry turned the negative into a positive bottom line. The latest cars on the market are already equipped with "Bluetooth" -- a wireless technology that uses short-wave radio to connect your phone to your car without cables.

    With a Bluetooth-enabled phone, your car automatically recognizes your phone and takes the call over when you get in, letting you go hands-free. Or if you are driving, the car responds with voice activation and acts like the phone ... you can call out or answer a call as long as the cell phone itself is anywhere in the car -- even the trunk. Certain models from major manufacturers -- Acura, DaimlerChrysler, Lincoln, BMW, Toyota, Lexus, Jeep and Dodge -- all currently have this technology as an option." From findlaw website:


    It is my considered opinion (supported by my relative who is a lobbyist to the Ohio legislature) that outright cell phone bans are unlikely, but "restrictions" on in-car telephone use (perhaps by mandating the device-types that will be allowable) "encouraged by" fines of 3 figures to the left of the decimal point are all but a fait accompli.

    Therefore, Volvo to remain consistent with its "safety" image, should offer such "option" regardless of current interest -- and pound their chest in their marketing lit as to show their "leadership" in this regard.

    Of course, this is just my opinion. See me in 18 months or so.
  • In defense of XM radio, we had it on our 04 Accord EX-L automatic and loved it. We actually loved it enough that when we decided we wanted another manual transmission car we bought another 04 Accord.

    As for the price tag, $40,000 for a Focus/3 is a lot of money considering what kind of cars are available for that price range.
  • Good news, slightly changed news. I could not remember EXACTLY the prices from the official Volvo price list dated August 3, 2004. The prices with package combination discounts are somewhat lower than I had reported previously.

                                                 Running Total

    2005 S40 T5 AWD 6 spd manual $27,710 $27,710
    Premium Package (w/discount) $ 2,195 $29,905
    Convenience Package (w/disoucnt) $ 305 $30,210
    Dynamic Trim Package (no disount)$ 2,025 $32,235
    Cold Climate Package (w/discount)$ 625 $32,860
    Audio Package (w/disount) $ 850 $33,710
    Navigation $ 2,120 $35,830
    Bi-Xenon Headlamps $ 700 $36,530
    DSTC $ 695 $37,225
    Laminated Side Windows $ 300 $37,525
    Shipping $ 685 $38,210

    Metallic Paint $ 450 $38,660
    Automatic Transmission $ 1,200 $39,860
    Rear Seat Cushions (dual) $ 300 $40,160

    Configured by using “package pricing” it is possible to receive discounts of $1,675 – through shipping, the price w/o package combination discounts is $39,885. Some options when configured stand alone will have their prices changed either up or down to accommodate groupings. For instance, headlight washers can be had without Xenon lights, but Xenon lights cannot be had without washers, if the Climate Package is NOT ordered but Xenon lights ARE ordered, the Xenon light option raises in price to $1,068, e.g.

    Now, if VoA will come up with a Volvo brand hands free and eyes free phone system that does NOT require a separate phone line and promises On*Call will come later, perhaps this can stay on your shopping list, if you, like we, are concerned about buying/leasing a technologically behind the curve car (at this price point). Regardless, it does appear that this car is "high value" when put head to head with the A4 3.0 and the BMW 330 xi -- both of these cars, when similarly equipped will be at least $44K and probably more like $45+K using the current on-line configurators, which do not, yet, reflect 2005 (higher, i.e.) prices.
  • avolvofanavolvofan Posts: 358
    I am still working the quote up with the dealer, but for the following equipment level, the retail price is around $34,000 plus shipping ($685):

    2005 S40 T5 Geartronic in Ice White
     + Dark Beige/Quartz Leather Seating
     + Premium Package
     + Sport Package
     + Convenience Package
     + Audio Package
     + Climate Package
     + DSTC
     + Bi-Xenon Headlights
     + Laminated Side Windows
     + Haldex AWD

    The $34,000 plus $685 for shipping translates to basically 2004.5 prices plus $1,800 for AWD. The principal difference between what I am looking at and what markcincinnati has posted is:
     - Metallic paint ($450)
     - A/T is included in base car price ($1,200)
       (Don't know why you are being charged for A/T)
     - Rear seat bolsters ($300)
     - Dynamic trim package ($2,025)
     - Navigation system ($2,125)

    The real question is why an additional $1,200 for the Geartronic transmission - that should not be an additional cost item.... Even at retail, the price for the 2005 S40 would seem to be very competitive with similar configurations from competitors.
  • . . .according to the price sheet I have in my hot little hand, the S40 T5 AWD comes standard with a 6 speed manual transmission.

    Before any discount we are @ $38,210 (Black, not metallic paint).

    We expect the discount to be about $3K, perhaps a little bit more.

    Without a resolution to the phone or blue tooth issue, however, this car is on our Plan B list for the time being.

    Back to Audi for us as Plan A.

    We'll see what shakes out. . . .
  • mmrb02mmrb02 Posts: 2
    Have you checked out the saab 9-3 or infiniti g35, something tells me u can can get a lot more for your money with those two.
  • cheerfulcheerful Posts: 31
    I have the 2001 S40 and I have 2 questions.

    Is it normal for the front 4 fan vents to allow air coming in while driving even when fan is turned to 0?

    Is there any way to raise the seat further and extend the break/gas padel easily? The driver has very small frame.

  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    1 yes, there always is some airflow.

    2 no, not easily. It can be done by a competent shop, although Volvo discourages anyone tampering with the seat mounting.
    Pedal extenders can be purchased and affixed to the pedals.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    A reporter is interested in speaking with former BMW owners or enthusiasts who have found an alternative to BMW. If you would be interested in speaking with this reporter about why you now prefer a different vehicle, please forward your contact information to Pam Krebs, PR, at Please respond by end-of-day Friday, August 27. Thank you.


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    Share your vehicle reviews

  • Has anyone heard anything about Volvo potentially offering an R version of the new V50 wagon? Thanks.
  • cheerfulcheerful Posts: 31
    Are they generic or model specific? How good are they? Are they easy to install (or only authorized persons can do it)?

  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Any company that does handicapped modifications can give you info on pedal extenders.
  • balpernbalpern Posts: 2
    I've been offered the old version of the Volvo S40 2004 (not the T5 or the LSE).

    The offer is $25K in Canadian dollars which is about $17-8K US. It's a dealer demo with only 9K kilometers---I think about 5K miles. It has leather seats and a sunroof but no power seats.

    I believe they are able to take about a $5-6K cut into their original costs....what do you guys think about this deal?

    Are there any concerns I should have surrounding the purchase of a dealer demo or precautions I should take?

  • guyfrguyfr Posts: 55
    Sounds like a good deal. Try to get an extended warranty and you will be covered.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    Last weekend in Chicago, I had a chance to ride in the back seat of the AWD S80 & XC70. The pathetic thing about this top-of-the-line Volvo -- the S80 -- is that my brother rented it as his wedding limo only to find out that it rode much less comfortably than his less expensive AWD 325xi. The XC70 rode, of course, even worse. While another poor-riding Volvo that participated this event -- an AWD S70 -- simply broke down in this wedding day for the n-th time & got traded in. No wonder when people asked me, "What is the safest car for my son?", I always replied, "definitely not a Volvo!"

    I still remember Volvo's most-fun-to-drive car -- the new S40 -- w/o sport suspension rode w/ slower motion than the 325xi & hence just a tad more comfortable at least when bumps aren't extremely deep. I'd still highly recommend this car when the auto-recirculate charcoal filter is included at this price, as long as people don't ask me for the safest car.
  • When I read such posts, I always think - you got to be kidding - back seat of 325 is a joke, no matter what trim you look at, unless you like to ride with your knees pressed against your chin.

    I own S80 for 4 years, and there was no one occasion, when someone new would ride on a back seat of my car and will not praise it for the limo - like feel. The S80 back seat is one of the strongest points of that car.

    Also, I have a friend who drives 530i, and we have mutually agreed long time ago, that we go places together (4 of us - 2 couples), we take my S80 mainly because of the back seat comfort. Even his wife does not want to ride on a back seat behind the front seat moved back. Until this year neither BMW 3 nor BMW 5 had comfortable leg room on a back.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    I'm 5'11" & my bro's 5'11.5". The 325xi w/ manual sport seats can tilt the thigh-support upward so the front seats can stay pretty forward to spare the rear leg room, which is sufficient on the right side if I take my shoes off. & there's no electric motor underneath the front seat to push my feet or shoes off center.

    I was wondering if the AWD version of the S80 has a less comfortable suspension setting than the other S80's. I don't get dizzy very easily, but the high solid front headrest blocking my forward vision really annoys me when sitting in the back. Besides, these non-adjustable headrests are comfortable only if you're around 6'3".

    If the 2WD 3-series or 5-series comes w/ sport package, then the ride should be even worse than the S80. The 5-series's rear seat back is uncomfortably vertical. It has to, 'cause the non-sport 5-series's ride, handling, steering & quietness already trumped the more expensive E-class, per CR a few years back.
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