The 2009 Volvo S40 is a premium compact sedan that increased in price so much so that it is now as expensive as its rivals, thereby losing a previously-enjoyed advantage. That doesn’t make it less of a car; it is full of features and style, but it doesn’t match up to typical Volvo safety standards.
Body Styles: compact sedan
Engines: 2.4-liter inline-five, 2.5-liter inline-five
Transmissions: six-speed automatic
Model: S40 2.4i, S40 T5 R-Design, S40 T5 all-wheel drive (AWD) R-Design
The numerous changes for the 2009 Volvo S40 include the discontinuation of manual transmission due to lacking sales, new standard features like Bluetooth compatibility, a sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a power driver seat, and an eight-speaker stereo with a six-CD changer and satellite radio. Buyers always appreciate an increase in standard features, but they should be advised that these additions increase the base sticker price by more than $4000. The T5 and T5 all-wheel-drive models now have standard heated front seats along with sporty exterior and interior styling changes. These additions are also accompanied by an increase in base sticker price.
The 2009 Volvo S40 is available in three trim levels: 2.4i, T5 R-Design, and T5 all-wheel drive (AWD) R-Design. The S40 2.4i comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, and a sunroof. In addition to its more powerful engine, the T5 R-Design adds a sport suspension, unique 17-inch alloy wheels, and an AWD option/model. Like many cars in this segment, style counts and the normally-serious Volvo appearance is replaced by a rather sharp exterior.
The 2006 Volvo S40 interior is noteworthy for being highly stylized yet extraordinarily functional, while offering a good deal of comfort—something that helps to compete in this class full of impressive models.
For standard features, the 2.4i offers a trip computer, neoprene-like T-Tec cloth upholstery, power driver’s seat, full power accessories, tilt and telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker audio system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio, and an auxiliary audio jack. T5 R-Design adds leather upholstery, aluminum pedals, a sport shift knob, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, memory function for the driver seat, automatic climate control, a sport steering wheel, and a watch-like gauge cluster.
A number of options and option packages are available, but buyers should pay attention to price increases and how they affect the price competitiveness for this segment.
Performance & Handling
The 2009 Volvo S40 base model 2.4i is powered by a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter inline-five that produces 168 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. The T5 R-Design and T5 AWD R-Design boast a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five that kicks out 227 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is the only available gearbox.
In Volvo’s own tests, the 2.4i performed the zero-to-60-mph sprint in a leisurely 8.4 seconds. The T5 R-Design offers a more respectable time of 6.7 seconds, while the AWD model's is slowed to 7.0-second time because of added weight. Not bad, but given this year’s price increase, the 2009 Volvo S40 can be knocked for equaling the price of better-performing competitors.
Handling is decent, even fun-inspiring, but not as sharp as the in class rivals. The ride is smooth unless the sport suspension is used; it will make occupants feel the rough roads soundly.
A 15.9-gallon fuel tank allows the 2009 Volvo S40 2.4i model to travel 318 city miles and 445 highway miles. The T5 R-Design with all-wheel drive has a slightly reduced range.
Volvo’s 2009 S40 safety is a mixed bag, an unusual situation for the normally safety-superior Swedish carmaker. There is an impressive list of standard safety features: traction control and stability control, anti-lock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, full-length head curtain airbags, and whiplash-reducing head restraints in all outboard positions. Volvo’s Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) is optional on all models. Despite the numerous features, the 2009 Volvo S40 received some average marks mixed in with the usual top marks in government crash safety tests. Be advised there are a lot of things on the S40 to protect occupants, but the overall safety rating is not up to Volvo’s typically high standards.
EPA Fuel Economy
S40 2.4i: 20/31 mpg city/highway
S40 T5 R-Design: 19/28 mpg city/highway
- Safety features
- Optional turbocharged engine
- All-wheel drive
- Cabin style and comfort
You Won't Like
- Lack of manual transmission
- T5’s rough ride
- Cost with options
- Safety scores
- Acceleration on 2.4i
- Handling is weak for its class
Nice example of a compact sport sedan.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Audi A4
- BMW 3 Series
- Infiniti G35