While the S40 hasn't yet been tested under the revised, more stringent federal tests, it's earned mixed ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)—including 'good' for frontal and rear impact but only 'acceptable' for side impact and the new roof strength test.
The 2011 Volvo S40 does come with a strong list of safety features. With the standard EBL (Emergency Brake Light) function, brighter LED rear lights will flash rapidly in a panic braking situation. Other standard active safety features include side impact and side curtain airbags, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, an electronic stability system with traction control, and tire pressure monitoring.
Active bi-xenon headlamps—which help illuminate into dark corners—are an option, as is Volvo's BLIS (Blind Spot Information System), which notes vehicles in the blind spot with a warning light just inside the side mirror.