The Jetta may provide the most value in this class for those who are completely practically minded.
Its five-cylinder engine offers performance that’s very comparable to that of the standard 2.4i model, with similar equipment and a backseat that’s a bit roomier, at a price that’s close to $10,000 less.
That said, if safety features are the priority and you’re willing to pay extra for options, the S40 is unbeatable.
Another possibility is the Subaru Impreza; in its base 2.5i form, it’s a much more affordable alternative, with standard all-wheel drive and performance from its horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine similar to the base five in the Volvo.
And the Impreza WRX offers performance that rivals the T5, at a lower price.
The Saab 9-3 is another alternative, bringing good, sharp handling and decent performance, but its ride can be choppy and its interior isn’t especially roomy.
The Acura TSX, which includes the superior service of Acura dealerships, has especially nimble handling, a good ride, and impressive fuel efficiency, but its backseat is somewhat cramped.
|2009 Volvo S40Browse Used Listings||2009 Acura TSXBrowse Used Listings||2009 Saab 9-3Browse Used Listings||2001 Volkswagen JettaBrowse Used Listings|
|18 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy||20 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy||15 MPG City / 29 MPG Hwy||19 MPG City / 49 MPG Hwy|
|Gas I5||Gas I4||Turbocharged I4||Gas I4|
|4-Door Sedan 2.4L FWD||4-Door Sedan Manual||4-Door Sedan 2.0T Touring||4-Door Sedan GL Manual|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front-Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front-Wheel Drive|
|4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan GL|
|Automatic,||Manual w/OD||Manual||Manual w/OD|