Staying true to its safety roots even in the smallest entry-level sedan, Volvo has upgraded the 2008 S40 with standard and optional, as well as active and passive, safety features found on many of its newer platforms.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the S40 scores four stars for the driver and five for the passenger in frontal crash tests. It also merits five stars for side impact testing for both front and rear seat passengers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the S40 “good” across all measures for its frontal offset test.
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. For 2008, the hazard lights now automatically engage any time the airbags are deployed. And with standard EBL (Emergency Brake Light) functionality, the new, brighter LED rear lights will flash rapidly in a panic braking situation.
Volvo’s BLIS (Blind Spot Information System), “which lights an indicator just inboard of either of the S40’s side mirrors when a car occupies its corresponding blind spot,” according to Cars.com, is a stand-alone option. Self-steering bi-xenon headlamps are an option in T5 models. The Haldex AWD system can be had only on the T5 AWD for a premium of about $2,000. It engages only when front wheel slip is detected and includes the rough-riding Sport Package.
Building on the foundation of what Volvo dubs “Intelligent Vehicle Architecture,” it seems the company has attempted to “stuff the levels of safety found in the flagship S80 luxury sedan into the S40's small package,” according to MyRide.com. That includes four grades of steel in the front structure “to create optimal crumple zones” (Car and Driver) and “extremely rigid cross members for side-impact protection” (Kelley Blue Book).