Getting firsthand information from an actual car owner is one sure way to get an idea of car performance once it leaves the lot. Autobytel features real consumer reviews that give the unbiased experience of a car.
Pros: Engine performance
Advice: Test drive and compare dollar-for-dollar with BMW 3-series.Model tested: 6-speed Manual Transmission Smooth and powerful acceleration off the line. Great passing capability. Excellent smooth braking. Quiet. Superb driver ergonomics. Adequate visibility.
Pros: The outside look of the car
Cons: the lack of power
Advice: Consider the fact that you will be tied to the dealership for every maintenance issueThis car lacks the power and reliability that the price would suggest. You cannot get the oil changed anywhere but a dealership because the oil filters are not available in the after market. The shifting is rough for an automatic and there are documented issues with the fuel system. Overall the car is a dissapointment and a testament to the new Volvo's.
Cons: Standard Engine
Advice: A nice vehicle that is fun to drive and looks good.As a first time Volvo buyer I am impressed with the style, fit and finish of the S40. The new rounded front end is a nice break from the box style of the past. With gas close to $3 a gallon I went for the standard engine package which is nice but tame the auto stick shift helps it respond better but for real performance I suggest the turbo. The inside is compact but the $3,000 interior upgrade package including leather, wood, sound system, sun roof, etc. is very nice. Commuter trips are by myself, I find the Volvo able to meet this need with style and comfort.
Pros: the exterior
Cons: the center console has NO convenience features (ie.: cointray)
Advice: don't decide without getting quotes on different cars from your insurance agent.I debated between the Acura TSX and the Volvo S40. The Acura looked great on the inside and boring on the outside. The Volvo looked great on the outside and was inconvenient on the inside. I decided on the Volvo (7/30/05) because they are known for safety, had my car for 3 days and the A/C on the driver's side went bad. I am still wondering if I made the right choice...
Pros: the design
Cons: leg room in the back
Advice: get the T5 MANUAL with body trimI was stationed down range in Iraq/Kuwait and was looking for a car to buy when i returned. I went to the Volvo dealership in Germany and told the sales rep to order me the T5. I received my car a few days ago and I love the performance it has. It is the manual six speed with amazing takeoff power. I was driving on the autobahn in speeds up to 100mph, because it is new i didn't want to hurt the engine. It drove smooth with those 17inch wheels from Bamberg to Velseck. The car is a performer.
Pros: Powerful, economical engine.
Cons: Trunk is slightly smaller.
Advice: Drive both the 2.4i and T5 models.I *knew* I was going to buy a VW Passat. My Mazda 626 was all but finished and I had been looking at VW's for about 5 years. I looked and looked for a 6-cylinder, manual transmission and was disappointed everywhere I went. One day, I stopped in at the local Volvo dealership to see what they had. In short, I test drove the S40 T5 AWD with a 6-speed manual transmission and bought it on the spot. It is, without a doubt, the most enjoyable driving car I've ever owned and the creature comforts, all-around performance and price make it unbeatable. The handling is tight yet comfortable, the engine powerful yet quiet and cabin luxurious yet unpretentious. It is, simply, a gorgeous, fun and beautifully built vehicle. Forget the VW, Audi and Acura sedans - - - they can't hold a candle to this one. I would buy another in a second without hesitation.
Pros: The Center Console is beautifully designed...very swedish.
Cons: Manufacturer states that Premier fuel is required..if not at every fill atleast every 3rd or 4th fill. So if you're on a budget it's something to consider.
Advice: The basic audio package is fantastic. If you're on a budget don't spend on the premier package. The Std. (no charge) wheel rims are beautiful so don't spend on the expensive ones.Classic yet Sporty Car. Fantastic brakes. Accelaration is better in the 1.8T (obviously) but 168 HP is enough leave behind several cars at the intersections. Very stable even at 80 mph on the highway. You feel some of the bumps on the road but the ride is very comfortable.