I checked out a variety of cars in this category, and eventually settled on the s40. i loved the design, and heard such promising things about volvos, that i thought i was making the right decision. however, i have had problems with this car since day one. it has been back to the dealership 6 times in the year and a half that i've owned it. the first problem occurred when the car was less than 2 weeks old. the steering column had to be replaced. since then it has been back 5 times for starter control unit problems! volvo has not been particularly helpful either. i wish that i kept my 98 honda civic, which had absolutely no problems!