2006 Volvo S40 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Sharper handling than you would expect from a Volvo, cutting-edge style inside and out, straightforward controls, long list of safety features, available all-wheel drive.
  • Firm suspension can be choppy on the highway, mediocre performance from the non-turbo engine, stability control isn't standard.
List Price Estimate
$1,502 - $3,130

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Edmunds' Expert Review

It may not have the prestige or athleticism of the German players, but the 2006 Volvo S40 costs a lot less while offering plenty of refinement, comfort and style. If you're shopping for a small sedan with a premium feel, this Volvo car deserves a look.

Vehicle overview

The Volvo S40 is the smallest and most affordable car in the Volvo lineup. It went on sale in Europe in 1996, but wasn't introduced in the U.S. until the 2000 model year. Thrown into a field of highly qualified German- and Japanese-brand sedans, Volvo's small sedan quickly began to show its age. Though not a bad car, it suffered because of its bland look, lack of powertrain choices and poor packaging.

Midway through the 2004 model year, the prognosis changed: Volvo released a redesigned version of its small sedan. The new S40 offers improved safety, performance and interior room, as well as slick styling inside and out. Although shorter than its predecessor, the current Volvo S40 is wider and has a longer wheelbase, which translates to more interior room. Additionally, it features the coolest center stack design this side of Stockholm. If you like shopping at IKEA, you'll love the look.

Volvo's S40 is available with a normally aspirated 2.4-liter, inline five-cylinder engine or a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline five that comes on the T5 trim. Of the two, the T5 is definitely the car serious drivers will prefer. The 2.4i's acceleration is mediocre for this class of car, but the T5 stacks up well against the Acura TSX, Audi A4 2.0T and BMW 325i. Designed specifically with the U.S. market in mind, the Volvo S40 shares some of its architecture with the Mazda 3 and the second-generation Ford Focus now on sale in Europe. Those skeptical about a Volvo car with a subtle Ford influence need only get behind the wheel of the S40. This car looks, feels and performs exactly the way we think an entry-level Volvo should, and has a completely different personality than the Mazda 3. If you're looking for a premium sedan that doesn't venture far from the $30,000 mark when properly equipped, the 2006 Volvo S40 is a worthwhile addition to your shopping list.

2006 Volvo S40 models

The compact Volvo S40 sedan comes in 2.4i and T5 versions; 2.4s are front-wheel drive only, while T5s are available with all-wheel drive as well. The 2.4i comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with telescope adjustment, a CD player and heated mirrors. In addition to a more powerful engine, the T5 adds front and rear spoilers, faux wood interior trim, foglights, automatic climate control, a power driver seat and a trip computer, all of which are optional on the 2.4i. A host of packages are available, which offer upgrades like leather upholstery, a moonroof, firmer suspension calibrations, a 12-speaker Dolby sound system, an in-dash CD changer and wheel/tire upgrades. Standalone options include a DVD-based navigation system, HID headlights and an upgraded interior air filtration system.

2006 Highlights

For 2006, Volvo has rearranged some of the S40's option packages and revised the cupholders. Steering wheel-mounted satellite audio controls are now standard on the 2.4i trim, and the six-speed manual transmission on T5 models gains a pushdown function to engage reverse. There are also new 16- and 17-inch wheel designs and a new optional air filtration system for the T5 that Volvo says goes beyond traditional carbon filters to help reduce occupant exposure to carbon monoxide.

Performance & mpg

The 2.4i comes with a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter inline five-cylinder rated for 168 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can choose either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic to go with it. The T5 gets a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline five that makes 218 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. In addition to the automatic, the T5 is eligible for a six-speed manual gearbox.


Four-wheel antilock disc brakes and traction control are standard on all S40 models. A stability control system is optional. All models include both front-seat side-impact airbags and full-length head-curtain airbags, along with whiplash-reducing seats and seatbelt pre-tensioners in all outboard positions. Built-in child booster seats are optional. The Volvo S40 received perfect five-star ratings in NHTSA side-impact crash tests. In frontal-impact tests, it netted four stars for driver protection and five stars for the front passenger. In IIHS frontal-offset testing, the S40 earned a top rating of "Good" and a "Best Pick" designation; in IIHS side-impact testing, the Volvo car was rated "Acceptable."


Volvo tuned the S40 to take performance much more seriously than the previous-generation model. Handling is crisp and entertaining, though the standard tires are taxed by more aggressive cornering. An unfortunate downside to the S40's sharp reflexes is that cruising comfort suffers a bit, particularly with the optional sport suspension. The 2.4i model offers adequate if uninspiring acceleration, so weekend enthusiasts should head straight for the spirited T5 model.


The interior of the 2006 Volvo S40 is unique and styled to appeal to a young audience. The first thing you'll notice is the ultraslim center stack, which has a distinct Scandinavian design and allows for more storage up front. Interior trim choices include faux metal, faux wood, real aluminum or a transparent material reminiscent of an iMac computer. The ergonomically designed seats are available in different upholstery types, and adults will find adequate legroom in both the front and rear.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2006 Volvo S40.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Excellent car that saved family's life!
Will J,08/20/2010
Our Volvo saved our life/limbs! We were recently hit at full speed from a guy who ran a red light! our car absorbed all the impact. None of us were severely injured (thank God!). I miss my 'Velvet' already :-(. We always got tons of remarks on the styling and the interior. Very sturdy, high quality equipment inside and out. Looked great with 18" rims on it. I bought it fresh from the Swedish factory in 2005, and had ZERO mechanical problems in 5 yrs of driving, including driving 2 yrs on the autobahn! My car was totaled in the accident but I plan to get another. I am Volvo for life. :-)
Great car for the miles
terri campbell,07/26/2016
T5 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M)
Good safe car. Solid engine with great acceleration. No worries with the car running. The interior is a bit like wearing a helmet. Sounds weird but I always feel like I put on a helmet the ceiling is so low. I bought this car for the safety rating and it feels like a solid car. Handles all road conditions with ease. Comfortable interior that is so great I made it from NY to Chicago in one leg more than a dozen times. The only down side is when you do have maintenance the shops want to gorge you. So finding a kind appreciative mechanic is a must. Think of it from the other side, the mechanics of the Volvo are so good that any mechanic knows they will not see you again for another 20,000+ miles (except oil changes). Update: I retired to Florida. THIS IS NOT A HOT WEATHER CAR. My Volvo always started in the cold. Subzero Chicago mornings were no problem. I did not have an engine block heater or a garage. Update: Minor items are in need of repair or replacement, Right on schedule. Engine still runs fantastic so I see no need to trade this puppy in for a new one. Update 145k took a long distance trip 2,000 miles and everything was solid. I had hoses replaced prior month. I had a road handling challenge with a big rig. Got run off to a shoulder. This car handling was solid, got back on with smooth as soon as big rig passed. An SUV would have overturned, not thic S40. Sadly i traded the volvo in. The florida sun dissolved the interior ceiling liner and it cost too much to replace.
Fell in love
I drive alot. This car was rented for a trip to Palm Desert and when I finished I had to have it. I've had it now for over a month and it's been an amazingly fun car. It's agile, good fuel economy, and very responsive for it's class.
Great Investment
2.4i 4dr Sedan (2.4L 5cyl 5M)
My S40 has nearly 150K miles on it and with regular maintenance, tire rotations/balancing and oil changes, I have had very few issues. I constantly receive compliments on how elegant the car is. Many acquaintances believe it newer and more expensive than it is. I am lucky to have Volvo-specialized mechanic with integrity in town. While parts are expensive, I plan on having the car until it dies because it is such good quality. Purchasing this vehicle is like purchasing a high-quality leather handbag. It is expensive but if you care for it regularly, the investment will bring you satisfaction and contentment for many years. You will be proud to own even if it is not the newest.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2006 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 2006 Volvo S40

Used 2006 Volvo S40 Overview

The Used 2006 Volvo S40 is offered in the following submodels: S40 Sedan. Available styles include 2.4i 4dr Sedan (2.4L 5cyl 5M), T5 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M), and T5 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2006 Volvo S40?

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Which used 2006 Volvo S40s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2006 Volvo S40 for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2006 Volvo S40.

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Find a used Volvo S40 for sale - 12 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $20,177.

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Should I lease or buy a 2006 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