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Avg. Price Paid:$8,025 - $10,141
Original MSRP: $24,240 - $28,990
MPG: 22 City / 29 Hwy
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2007 Volvo S40 Performance

This performance review was written when the 2007 Volvo S40 was new.

Driving the 2007 Volvo S40 is an adequate experience for reviewers, who are impressed with the car's stability, even if they wish for more agility and precision. BusinessWeek finds that "this little Volvo seems to love being hustled along," and Road and Track discovers that "even without the benefit of all-wheel drive, the front-drive S40 T5 feels both stable and light on its feet."

Acceleration and Power

The 2007 Volvo S40's base 2.4i model comes with a 2.4-liter, five-cylinder engine with 168 horsepower, and writers from Automobile Magazine feel that's all you'll need. On its test drive this base engine "was lauded several times in the logbook for its smoothness and throaty growl in initial acceleration. It never made the pulse race, but after a year, even the boy racers were saying how much of a pleasure the S40 was to drive."

If you want pulse racing, the reviewers recommend you opt for the S40 T5, whose 2.5-liter, turbocharged five-cylinder engine offers 218 horsepower and the potential for 236 pound-feet of torque. Edmunds says this makes the T5 the car "serious drivers will want to spend time with."

The Environmental Protection Agency rates the 2007 Volvo S40 at 19 miles per gallon in the city, 27 miles per gallon on the highway, using a 2.4-liter engine, front wheel drive and premium gasoline. Writers classify the S40's fuel economy as reasonable, and the San Diego Union-Tribune recommends the T5's turbocharged engine for the best gas mileage. This contradicts Forbes Autos' findings that the "sportier T5 model trades fuel efficiency for power; it loses 1 or 2 mpg in average fuel economy to the base S40."

Reviews love the six-speed manual transmission, but note the 2007 Volvo S40 has the option for a five-speed Geartronic automatic. The Washington Post's writer says, "the six-speed is one of the most agreeable manual gear boxes I've ever used," and "great fun for those who still enjoy shifting their own gears," Kelley Blue Book adds.

Handling and Braking

No one flat out bashes the 2007 Volvo S40's handling, but praise is muted. Safe and steady seems to rule out over thrilling and chilling when it comes to the maneuverability offered by the base model's MacPherson struts in the front and multi-link in the rear. U.S. News' own Rick Newman finds "handling is measured and stable but mediocre by European standards," while Consumer Guide writes "assured and predictable, but not quite sport-sedan agile. Steering accurate, has good feedback, but some testers find it too light for best highway-speed control." More talk is reserved for the steering, which is categorized as "quick." This is summed up best by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which states that the "Volvo S40 has an extremely good steering feel, nimble yet precise."

New Car Test Drive thinks the brakes are "excellent," and its reviewers aren't alone in that opinion. Consumer Guide also finds the ventilated disc, anti-lock brakes (11.8 inches in front, 10.9 inches for the rear) "ease speed quickly with fine stability," but its reviewers also notice a moderate nosedive when stopping. Motor Trend also discovers a slight problem, "a loud grinding/howl with the car in reverse," that developed about seven months into its experience with the S40. However, they are happy to report that the dealer replaced the pads with a newer design that ended this problem.

On the whole, however, writers are confident in the 2007 Volvo S40's abilities to stop safely. This is summed up well by BusinessWeek when driving the T5 (which features the same braking system). The review explains that the brakes "are a bit overboosted and touchy compared to other cars at low speed, but powerful enough to haul this 3300-pound sedan down confidently from speeds well above the legal limit. You'll probably be stopping short of where you expect for a while, but that's not a bad thing."

All-Wheel Drive

According to reviews, one of the best features the 2007 Volvo S40 has to offer is the option for the electronically controlled all-wheel drive with its T5 trim. Kelley Blue Book specifically lists the option as one of its favorites for the car, noting that "even if required only occasionally, all-wheel drive enhances the Volvo's feeling of security. Most of the time, you don't even realize all-wheel drive is present." The Washington Post enjoys the features for working "quietly, automatically shifting and adjusting drive power where needed, as needed," and the Boston Herald discovers the system is best "when you push the S40 coming out of a bend. In such maneuvers, this Volvo swerves with confidence."

Performance Options

T5 Dynamic Sport Suspension

T5 drivers can purchase the 2007 Volvo S40's Dynamic Sport Suspension, but reviewers warn that this system is not for the faint of heart. Edmunds discovers the sportier suspension "results in a choppy highway ride on all but the smoothest pavement," while Consumer Guide complains that this system "compromises ride comfort and does little for roadability."

The trade-off, as Forbes tells, is "even more tenacious handling." The Boston Globe is also a fan of the dynamic handling, and enjoys the stiff ride, "which may make the folks at Consumer Reports complain, but which satisfies those who want body feedback, suspension feedback, steering feedback."

Review Last Updated: 5/2/08

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