Gone are the days of squared-off edges and that MOM'S TAXI bumper sticker: today's Volvo sedan appeals to younger drivers than ever. The S40 2.4i especially gets the attention of discerning young commuters who want to be safe and stylish until children come along and the time comes for an XC90.
The base model S40 gets a 2.4-liter engine whose 168 horsepower is regarded by some as sufficient and by others as not quite enough. But if you're mostly in bumper-to-bumper anyway, your bigger concern is fuel economy, and this solid little buggy will get you around 30 mpg on the highway (22 city). Sure, the numbers are better in other small sedans, but the safety record can't be beat.
Not only is the car solidly built, with protective side beams and intelligently designed deformation zones, but it comes standard with many advanced safety features. The list includes driver and passenger air bags (including side-curtain units), antilock brakes, stability and traction control, and seats designed to keep the occupant from sliding out from beneath the seatbelt during impact.
Comfort features that you must pay extra for on most cars come standard even on this base model: air conditioning, CD player, and power locks and windows. True options are generally grouped in themed packages; for instance, the Climate Package contains heated seats, rain-sensing wipers, and headlamp washers.
Some owners called for more horsepower (oh well, should've bought the T5), a roomier backseat, and larger side-view mirrors. More than a few accounts of multiple service trips are concerning, but keep in mind that these are anecdotal. Users rave about the style, comfort, handling, and braking, with special notice going to the unique center console.