All Volvo models get standard Dynamic Stability Traction Control for 2007, and the S40 sedan and V50 wagon get simplified option and package choices. Front-wheel-drive T5s now come exclusively with an automatic transmission, while all-wheel-drive T5s offer both manual and automatic transmissions. Restyled versions of the S40 and V50 are due in 2008.
When the S40 sedan and V40 wagon made their North American debut in 2000, the concept of a "small" Volvo was foreign to most U.S. buyers. In fact, Volvo had been marketing the S40, as well as its small front-drive predecessors-the 340 and 440-in Europe for some time. The S40/V40, with its 4-cylinder turbocharged engine and long list of safety equipment, was aimed squarely at European stalwarts such as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
The second-generation S40 sedan, along with its wagon counterpart (now known as the V50), appeared in mid-2004 featuring the curvy styling that has now become a Volvo trademark. One notable design feature is the "floating" center console, a flat panel that houses climate and stereo controls with storage space behind it. Today's S40 and V50 are available in two trim levels-2.4i and T5. The former features a 168-hp, 2.4-liter 5-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels through either a 5-speed manual or 5-speed "Geartronic" automatic. The latter comes with a turbocharged 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine producing 218 hp with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.
With Volvo enjoying a reputation for innovative safety features on its models, it should come as no surprise that the S40 and V50 come with a host of air bags (two in front, one in each of the front seats, and Inflatable Curtain air bags above each side window), anti-lock brakes, and Volvo's Dynamic Stability Traction Control, now standard. The entire structure of the car is designed to absorb impact forces and spread them around the passenger cell, bolstering the S40 and V50's defenses in collisions with larger, heavier vehicles.
The Volvo S40 and V50 compete in the Compact Premium Conventional segment, which consists of 15 models. Buyers in this segment look for performance, exterior styling, and quality, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the BMW 3 Series (120,180 units sold), Acura TL (71,348), and Infiniti G35 (60,741). The Volvo S40 and V50 sold a combined 25,753 units in 2006, an increase of 4.3 percent compared to the previous year. Other models offered in the Compact Premium Conventional segment include the Cadillac CTS, Lexus IS Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, and Acura TSX. Joining the segment in 2007 is the Lincoln MKZ.
|2.4i||5 speed automatic||$26,690||168-hp / 2.4L 5-cyl||22/29|
|T5||5 speed automatic||$29,590||218-hp / 2.5L 5-cyl||22/25|