I love this car! I bought the car a year ago as my first car and its awesome. I've read everywhere that its amazingly safe and I don't doubt it. The car looks great inside out and I have never had any major mechanical issues with it. This car works great in the snow (at least the AWD model). If you keep up with regular maintenance and actually care for the vehicle you shouldn't run into any problems.
Turbo charged 5 cylinder is quick to respond and very fun to drive. I love the style of the interior (black with silver accents)which still looks good in 2015, or at least to me. The AWD works great in the snow especially when in winter/wet mode, I love the snow just to go out in drive in it in my Volvo. The seats are very comfy and the Dolby Digital surround sound is awesome! The space behind the radio is also cool and unique along with the odd key to the car which always seems to spark conversation when people see it. The steering wheel controls are also another great feature!
Bigger Trunk! The width of it is fine but it needs to be deeper rather than flat. The gas mileage on the highway is amazing but in mixed highway city driving isn't as great as what I thought it would be for such a small car, I assume its partly because it is AWD and because I take off very quickly. I've also wished that it had and aux input for my phone.
This car is built on a ford focus platform. Driving wise it's fine other than some under-steer at high speeds. The thing consistently breaks every two months, ford quality but with foreign car repair prices. The interior literally falls apart. foam in the seats and door panels melts and disintegrates in the Texas heat. Further more the all wheel drive is pretty much worthless. it's so front wheel drive bias that it basically is front wheel drive.
They really don't have anything that makes them special. The handle well for a 2006 low budget European car but a Volkswagen is a better buy.the only thing that Volvo has seemed to stay true to is safety. these cars do hold up reasonable well in impact. But Audi and Mercedes are going to be safer.
Dont waste your time with a newer Volvo. They're going to go out of business anyway. At this point in the game I think Hyundai actually produces better cars than Volvo has the past decade.
Safety- big win here- got swiped by a Lexus LX trying to get into my lane- nothing but a tiny scratch. Rear ended by a Honda- the front bumper of the Honda was torn off but I only had a small scratch.
Performance- no, it is not a BMW 3 series but it does 80% of what the BMW does for $10,000 less (compared with same options). Ride is a bit harsh.
Reliability- flawless since I got it... until recently. Ignition switch, engine motor mount, engine speed sensor all failed at once. Parasitic draw from trunk wiring 2 months prior to that.
Running costs- expensive (more on that below)
Safety is the big draw
Good value when buying
Good looking, inside & out
It's no BMW M3 or even a 328i, but if you want extra cash in your pocket and more options, take a look at the S40...
Watch out for running costs unless you learn to DIY. You pay for that safety.
The regular stuff is more expensive, but not anything ridiculous.
Now if anything breaks, get comfortable with spending several hundred dollars and don't be surprised if the final bill turns out to be $1,000+. And this is at an independent shop.
My Volvo is in the shop now with a $2,000 bill waiting for me when it's ready.
I bought this car used a year and a half ago and after much debate while searching for a car, I am still 100% in love with my S40. The "high" maintenance bills (it did need the timing belt replaced for being over 100k - $700) and "Volvo" stigma were intimidating at first, but now that I've had the car I know it was still a solid choice. It's got all the features I wanted, gets good gas mileage and is a great looking car. 30k on it in my year and a half of ownership (now 135k) and it still runs like a champ!
The look of the car is great - especially for being almost ten years old. The leather interior, sunroof, one-touch windows and five-speed transmission are the best things about this car. The car has little quirks that make it awesome - holding the "unlock" button on the key remote puts all four windows down - great for airing the car out before getting in when it's a hot day. The climate controls are easy to use and the AC works great and defrosts windows in no time (literally seconds).
My biggest gripe is the cup holders, which do not hold small containers very well and can tip over if you don't hold them while going into a turn (I learned my lesson after drinks spilling twice). This car is on the smaller side, which is nice for parking but can affect passengers (backseat mainly). The trunk is not as large as some, which is only an issue if you frequently haul large items. Even with 5 cylinders, I've noticed the acceleration isn't fantastic. Even with the pedal to the floor it has its limits but this isn't a big deal for me.
I have my '05 T5 (FWD) since day one - just a hair over 9 years now (and is an auto transmission, but somehow not an option here).
I still love getting in to it twice a day for a 30 mile commute.
The fuel economy is tough to beat, averaging 32MPG.
However, it is fussy and likes to be babied to avoid issues.
My fuel pressure sensor failed, causing tremendous ride issues, but no error code was generated, therefore the dealer threw up their hands at the issue, and wanted $450 parts/labor to replace it.
The part is $50 on Amazon.com, and takes 1 hour to install.
If you feel the car lose power or otherwise ride rough, look into changing this sensor!
Peppy turbo engine.
Smooth, quiet ride.
Small turning radius.
Some exterior trim does not do well under harsh sun/heat exposure.
Common faults are lower-control arm bushings ($$$), sway bar bushings ($$), PEM sensor failure (quiet warranty), fuel-pressure sensor failur ($ DYI, $$$ dealer).