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2005 Entry Level Luxury Buyer's Guide

2005 VOLVO S-40 Review

by Martha Hindes

2005 Volvo S-40

The folks at Volvo must have had a particular customer in mind when they revised the entry-level compact S40 as a larger, more upscale sports sedan: Someone who's hands on. Contemporary electronics savvy. Comfortable clutching a game or TV remote. Such vision translates into the interior and exterior lines of the S40 sedan that, just months after its 2004 model year launch, carries over into an '05 wagon brother called the V50.

The S40's clean, crisp Scandinavian lines flow back and upward to a rear deck spoiler for a standing-still look of speed. Tops inside is the undulating metallic center console flowing from the instrument panel with a definite next century look. Now, in a second season tweak for '05, Volvo adds some spunky drivetrain changes for both five-cylinder engines, and a lot of toney amenities. Base prices range from $23 K-plus to nearly $28 K (base 2.4i and AWD T5 respectively). But that's before such adds as premium leather trim, power moonroof, wood-look inlays, spoiler, 17-inch alloy wheels and more. New also are optional all-wheel-drive and a short-throw, six-speed manual for the upscale T5 model. The base gets a five-speed stick.

Volvo hasn't lost its safety champ claim with the S40. A steel "sandwich" skin helped it win the highest five star safety ratings for driver and passengers in government crash tests. That's proof, according to Volvo, that style and safety can "go hand in hand."

Entry Level Luxury Cars
Entry Level Luxury Buyer's Guide