Best Family Luxury Small Sedans: Volvo S40

October 28, 2010

2011 Volvo S40


In our continuing coverage of the best family luxury small sedans we take an in-depth look at the 2011 Volvo S40.

Redesigned in 2008, the 2011 Volvo S40 five-passenger entry-level luxury small sedan receives simplifications in trim, engines, and options, while most everything else continues relatively unchanged from 2010.  Although the 2011 model has not yet been reviewed, The Car Connection gave the 2010 Volvo S40 an overall 7.8 out of 10 rating, while styling, quality, safety, and features each received an 8 out of 10.

The front-wheel drive 2011 Volvo S40 is available in T5 and sportier R-Design models, with manufacturer’s suggested retail prices starting at $27,750 and $31,150, respectively. The R-Design features unique aesthetics in its rear spoiler, front grille, sport seats and body styling.

Volvo S40 models are stylishly designed inside and out with reviewers commenting about the classy exterior design and high-quality, ergonomically-designed cabin. With the 60/40-split rear-seat back folded down, maximum trunk cargo space is 12.6 cubic feet.

Three packages are available: Climate (headlight washers, heated front seats, rain sensor, and interior air quality system), Multimedia (Volvo navigation system and premium sound system), and Preferred (power glass moonroof, power passenger seat and keyless drive). A power glass moonroof is standard on Volvo S40 R-Design.

Performance and Fuel Economy

Compact and easy to maneuver on twisty roads or congested urban streets, the 2011 Volvo S40 isn’t a sports car, but it wasn’t designed to be, either. Both T5 and R-Design models are powered by a 227-horsepower 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine mated to a five-speed Geartronic transmission. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the compact luxury sedan is 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway.

Towing capacity is rated at a maximum 2,000 pounds.


Volvo cars, including the 2011 Volvo S40, come available with many built-in and portable tech devices that work in conjunction with each other, including: Bluetooth hands-free technology, Volvo navigation system with map upgrades, GPS portable navigation, and Sirius Satellite Radio and HD Radio. Mobile phones and USB devices function interactively with these Volvo technologies.

The Multimedia package Volvo navigation system with real-time traffic, and premium sound system: Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound, 12 Dynaudio speakers, 4x30 watt amplifier, 1x30 watt central speaker amplifier, and Sirius Satellite Radio with complimentary six-month subscription.

2011 Volvo S40


Standard safety features on the 2011 Volvo S40 include six airbags, anti-submarine seats, whiplash protection system front seats, seatbelts with pretensioners, and tire pressure monitoring system. In addition, anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic stability and traction control, auto-off rear fog light, side positioning lights, daytime running lights, and halogen headlights are standard.

Optional safety features include blind spot information system (BLIS) with power retractable door mirrors included, rear park assist, keyless drive, and dual Xenon active discharge headlights with active bending lights.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not tested the 2011 Volvo S40. However, in 2010 NHTSA testing, Volvo S40 earned top five-star ratings in front seat passenger, side driver, and side rear passenger crash tests, and a 4-star rating in frontal driver and rollover tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2011 Volvo S40 the top “Good” rating in frontal offset tests, and the car received the second-highest rating of “Acceptable” in side impact and roof strength tests.

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