2005 Volvo S40 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Sharper handling than you would expect from a Volvo, T5 version offers quick acceleration, well-designed interior controls, long list of safety features, available all-wheel drive.
  • Firm suspension can be choppy on the highway, average performance from the non-turbo engine.
List Price Estimate
$1,329 - $2,771

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Bigger, sportier and more powerful than its predecessor, the new S40 is fun to drive, while adding a much needed dose of style to Volvo's small-car line.

2005 Highlights

A redesigned S40 was introduced halfway through the 2004 model year as a 2004.5 model. It continues into 2005 unchanged.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2005 Volvo S40.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Fun car. Buggy with age.
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!
Good car but...
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)
2005 Volvo S40 T5 FWD Great and fun car!
I just turned 16 and my parents bought me this car for my first car. I have had it almost a year now, and it has almost 100,000 miles on it and it is just as great as the day I drove it off the lot. It handle's great on country roads, and even better on interstate's which is where I usually drive. It gets a combined average 25 MPG. I use 93 octane (premium) fuel and it seems to get better gas milage. I haven't had any problems out of this car! It has been a great car, and look forward to driving it for another 10 years. Just had an oil chage, new brakes, tires, and detailed, and it is good as new! I have never had any trouble out of this car! It's an amazing car!
LOVE this car!
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!

Features & Specs

See all Used 2005 Volvo S40 features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2005 Volvo S40
More About This Model

Volvo's S40 has long been an odd duck in the Volvo fleet. The current car lacks the style of its bigger, more powerful siblings and its price-to-size ratio is less than thrilling for U.S. customers who seem to embrace the "more is more" philosophy when it comes to automobiles. Oh yeah, and we Americans do want more, but we want to pay less for it. If Volvo has anything to say about it, we will get just that — the redesigned S40 is a roomier car with more standard features and more power, and it all comes in a great-looking package that will cost you less money. When will this gravy train end?

Let's face it, the outgoing S40 has never been a real fashionista and it did little to improve Volvo's image as a stuffy builder of cars that were safe but unexciting. Still, we found that the car's 1.9-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine delivered a smooth, ample power supply. Although the 2000 S40 had already been on sale for a few years in Europe when U.S. customers first got a crack at it in 2000, the all-new S40 has been designed specifically with North American customers in mind and shares nothing but its name with the original S40.

Although the redesigned sedan's improvements are many, the most obvious upgrades are to the interior and exterior styling. The car now shares more lines with the more stylish S60 and S80 sedans — and looks so much cooler than before. From the rear three-quarter view, it almost has a bit of a BMW 3 Series look to it. Shorter in overall length, but wider and riding on a longer wheelbase, the S40 now has a slightly more aggressive stance and looks the part of a performance-oriented luxury sedan. The interior has been significantly dressed up as well. Open the door and the super-slim center stack instantly grabs your attention. Visually, it ties the dash and center console together, but the open space behind it combined with the arching shape all point to a very Scandinavian design theme that continues throughout the cabin with its very clean, uncluttered spaces and sharp lines.

The seats are comfortable at first but an extended stint behind the wheel resulted in some soreness after about an hour in the saddle — this will likely vary from person to person (I was the only one among 20 or so journalists who found the seats to be less than ideal). And speaking of the seats, there are four different fabric choices available. The T-tec material is especially nice as it helps keep you planted in the seat during more spirited driving while also allowing for better "breathing" than leather. For a relatively small car, the rear seat is quite spacious. Legroom is adequate, and the seats themselves feel a little softer than those in the front.

The other notable improvements are the two engine and three transmission choices (depending on which trim you opt for), something the old S40 did not offer. The standard 2.4i model comes with a 2.4-liter, inline five-cylinder engine that is normally aspirated and makes 168 horsepower. A five-speed manual and a five-speed automatic are the available transmissions with the base engine. The upgraded T5 model offers a turbocharged five-cylinder engine that grows to 2.5 liters and makes 218 hp. Of the two, the T5 is definitely the car serious drivers will want to spend time with. It would be unfair to call the 2.4i underpowered, but once the turbo on the T5 kicks in, the 2.4i is but a distant memory. Anyone who drives both will surely opt for the T5. Available with the same Geartronic five-speed automatic transmission as the 2.4i, the T5 also offers the benefit of an optional six-speed manual gearbox in lieu of the 2.4's five-speed unit. The T5 feels downright quick no matter which transmission is chosen, but the six-speed manual gives the car a more aggressive, urgent character when running through the gears.

The handling is sporty and tight for the most part but the tires seemed overwhelmed when we really pushed the car during our initial drive. Because of the tires (205/55R16 tires are standard on all S40s) and its front-wheel-drive configuration, the S40 has a tendency to understeer in the corners. That said, the overall feeling of the S40 is of a sporty, capable sedan that rewards spirited driving with a good deal of fun. It's apparent that Volvo made the S40 sportier and that complaints of excessive body roll in the previous car were remedied. Still, there is a price to be paid for this — the ride on the open highway can be a little busy, especially on less than perfect concrete highways. On smoother asphalt, the S40 is quiet and comfortable. I'm perfectly willing to admit that this complaint could be the result of a personal bias toward soft-riding highway cruisers, but the fact remains there are cars like the Acura TSX that offer both sharp handling and excellent highway manners.

Of course no discussion of a Volvo would be complete without at least a brief mention of safety. All-new S40s will be built at a new Volvo facility in Ghent, Belgium, and have gone through extensive testing at the Volvo Safety Center, a facility Volvo calls the most advanced in the world. One of the more interesting safety features of the S40 is the fact that the car uses four different grades of steel in crucial areas in order to absorb the impact in case of a frontal collision. Normal high-strength steel is used near the front of the car with the metal increasing in strength closer to the passenger compartment. In case of a low-speed impact, there are collapsible "crash boxes" in the front area to insure that replacement costs are kept down. The steering wheel and pedals are collapsible and the steering wheel is designed to stay in position as it collapses in order to keep the airbag aimed correctly.

The front seats are also equipped with the Whiplash Injury Prevention System (WHIPS) that is designed to prevent or lessen whiplash-related injuries. With WHIPS, the seat mimics the occupant's body movements in case of a rear-end accident. In addition, the front seatbelts have force limiters, while both front and rear seatbelts have pretensioners to keep occupants in place. Side-impact protection comes from larger curtain airbags that are designed to stay inflated longer in case of a rollover accident.

The bottom line is that the new S40 (officially labeled a 2004.5) is much improved over the 2004 model. The base price (excluding destination charge) for the non-turbo 2.4i is just over $24,000. That means the all-new S40 is roomier inside, offers more power and standard features but sells for slightly less than the car it replaces. If you lamented the old S40's lack of style or felt it just didn't seem like a real Volvo, that will not be an issue with the new car. The interior and exterior are sharp-looking, enough so that some entry-luxury buyers may consider this car on the basis of style alone. We expect that the new S40 will appeal most to those customers who want a sporty European sedan but have never before considered a Volvo.

Used 2005 Volvo S40 Overview

The Used 2005 Volvo S40 is offered in the following submodels: S40 Sedan. Available styles include T5 Fwd 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M), 2.4i Fwd 4dr Sedan (2.4L 5cyl 5M), and T5 AWD 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2005 Volvo S40?

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Can't find a used 2005 Volvo S40s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volvo S40 for sale - 5 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $19,123.

Find a used Volvo for sale - 2 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $19,987.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volvo S40 for sale - 11 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $9,002.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volvo for sale - 4 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $7,639.

Should I lease or buy a 2005 Volvo S40?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Volvo lease specials
Check out Volvo S40 lease specials