Following Volvo tradition, the 2008 Volvo S40 belies its mid-20s base price, Ford Focus roots, and entry-level status across the model spectrum with comfortable seats and quality construction.
Up front, the S40 sports ergonomically designed chairs whose “comfort on long drives is undeniable,” remarks Kelley Blue Book. Comparing its interior dimensions to competitors such as Audi’s A4 and BMW’s 3-Series, Edmunds finds the “S40 offers nearly identical interior dimensions.” And the high quality of that square footage is undisputed: “From something as simple as a high-quality headliner to the clean and classy gauges, the S40's cabin conveys an upscale feel from top to bottom,” continues Edmunds. Model year 2008 also addresses a sore point with the interior, as Volvo wisely adds “more storage space in the doors and the center console,” according to Motor Trend.
Alas, the rear seat isn’t as hospitable, but none of its European rivals have Cadillac-large backseats either. Kelley Blue Book criticizes a “cramped rear seat and moderate headroom.” ConsumerGuide is kinder, stating, “two adults get decent head and elbow space, but three will feel pinched.”
MyRide.com declares that “Volvo has created intelligent ways” to use its interior space. Both front and rear seats fold flat, opening up the trunk cavity and allowing items that extend from rear bumper to dash padding to be carried in the S40. Of the trunk, the same reviewers feel “the chopped-off rear end makes the trunk opening small,” hampering the ability to load big, bulky items.
As to its value in the marketplace, the S40's pricing makes it a strong competitor. “The S40 undercuts the base Audi A4, BMW 335 and Lexus IS by a good margin,” remarks Kelley Blue Book, “but the pricing gap closes quickly once comparable features are added.” The pricing starts in the mid-20s for a base 2.4i all the way to the low 40s for a loaded T5 AWD.