S40 sticks to tradition

Johannesburg – Many drivers describe Volvo’s cars as respectable choices that straddle the line between fuel efficiency, refinement, luxury, and sportiness in a package that does not betray the manufacturer’s traditional standards of practicality and safety.
True to form, the 2011 Volvo S40 is unremarkable from a styling standpoint, though it is even by today’s fashion standards a well-sculpted small sport sedan.
For 2011, the base Volvo S40 2.4i model has been discontinued, leaving only the sporty T5 and T5 R-Design.
According to official Volvo specs, the S40 can get to 60 mpg in 7.1 seconds.
The 2011 S40 has a driving feel that combines the best of both worlds — offering the feel and stability of a large German thoroughbred, yet allowing easy manoeuvrability and ease in fitting into tight parking spaces.
Handling along country roads and high-speed cruising typically sticks to “safe”; it does not inspire drivers who like putting the foot down on the pedal real hard.
Comfort and quality are top-notch in the 2011 Volvo S40. The Volvo S40 offers a level of comfort near that of the brand’s larger sedans in the front seats, though seat cushions do not seem quite as ample.
For the back, legroom is tight and those around six feet or taller will have headroom issues.
There’s also only “enough” space for two adults in back; three will have little elbow or shoulder room.
Compared to other small sedans, the S40 has levels of road noise that are well under control, though at lower speeds, the ride can be rather hard and busy.
Volvo has a stellar reputation for safety, established with generations of vehicles that have performed above their peers for occupant protection.
So it comes as a bit of a surprise that the 2011 Volvo S40 is unimpressive with respect to safety.
That is not to say it does not have some admirable safety features.
Active bi-xenon headlamps — which help illuminate into dark corners – are an option, as is Volvo’s Blind Spot Information System (NLIS), which notes vehicles in the blind spot with a warning light just inside the side mirror.
Over the past several years, Volvo has ramped up feature content in the S40, while only modestly increasing prices, so the remaining S40 T5 now stand as reasonably well-equipped and decent values in the tight entry luxury class.
Now that the former 2.4i trims have been eliminated from the lineup for 2011, there are no base-model S40s.

April 2012
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