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Volvo S40 2006 Review

"Volvo-driving soccer mums" comes to mind, and even I must confess to uttering the words "bloody Volvo driver" in a moment of motoring anger. But it seems Volvo is shrugging off that unfashionable image and after spending a week in an S40, I've found driving a Volvo doesn't necessarily have to come with a roll of the eyes, although it hasn't quite broken the stereotype when it comes to performance.

The S40 falls under the prestige and luxury category and, while it may not have the complete elegance of a new BMW or Mercedes, it does have style.

And it won't cost you an arm and a leg.

The base S model, tested here, starts at $39,950 and does enough to be a classy experience. Its curved body and flat back challenges original misconceptions.

The metallic blue paint is a nice addition, but you have to really want it for an extra $1350. The base model doesn't sport the more luxurious leather seats of the LE and range-topping T5 models and you have to settle for the black synthetic trim. But it's not too much of a disappointment, still providing a firm but comfortable journey and a sleek, sporty feel.

The leather interior comes as an option for an extra $3600. However at this price, it probably makes more sense to instead move up to the LE model, which is valued at $44,950.

The silver display panel where the radio and dual climate controls sit is simple but effective. It has a futuristic feel, with storage space behind the panel and unusual diagrammed buttons. The single-stacker CD system produces good sound and you can program up to nine radio stations.

Storage space in the front is minimal and the unique ignition is repositioned to the left of the steering wheel on the dashboard, which may seem trendy at first, but it's hard to break the habit of instantly going to the normal ignition area.

As far as space goes, the S40 is sufficient, but could use more room in the back seats. For those with small kids and looking for a family sedan, this Volvo will do the job. But with three adults in the back, I guarantee you will have at least one person complaining they're a little too close for comfort.

The rear end is deceiving, with a small boot lid, but a surprisingly deep storage space.

The S40 is stylish, but when it comes to performance, you may still find yourself in the slow lane. The 2.4-litre, five-cylinder engine has an average performance.

It is adequate for city driving, as it trots along, testing the limits before shifting into a higher gear. The 125kW at 6000rpm and the 230Nm at 4400rpm feels a little sluggish and doesn't quite have the power some may desire.

Those after a better performance and who can afford the bigger pricetag, could try the T5 model, which at $54,950 comes with a turbocharged engine.

On the car tested, the brakes would creak a bit when slowly taking your foot from the pedal at a standstill.

The S40 range has no price difference between automatic and manual transmissions. The automatic of the base model produces a reasonable fuel consumption of 9.2-litres/100km, combined claimed and the manual records a little better with 8.7-litres/100km.

While the performance of this model won't exactly win it a major role on the set of the next Fast and the Furious film, its safety features are a major plus and in the Volvo tradition, it is very reliable.

The S40 comes standard with front and passenger dual-stage airbags and side impact protection system, whiplash protection system, ABS anti-locking brakes with EBD and stability traction control.

The extra technology in the S40, even the base model, is fine and would be particularly useful for people with young children.

When passengers remove their seatbelts while the engine is still running, a beeping alarm, lights and a message on the display panel lets the driver know. Mischievous youngsters or annoying adults will be caught out very quickly.

The doors automatically lock and when exiting the car, the handle must be pulled twice before it unlocks, which makes you feel secure and safe late at night, although it does become a little irritating when you're seeking a quick departure.

Volvo's S40 is a decent package and its design should attract a younger audience, rather than being a brand associated with rapidly greying retirees.

Pricing guides

$6,555
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$4,200
Highest Price
$8,910

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
2.4 2.4L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $5,000 – 7,700 2006 Volvo S40 2006 2.4 Pricing and Specs
2.4 LE 2.4L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $4,500 – 7,260 2006 Volvo S40 2006 2.4 LE Pricing and Specs
2.4 S 2.4L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $4,600 – 7,370 2006 Volvo S40 2006 2.4 S Pricing and Specs
2.4 SE 2.4L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $4,200 – 6,820 2006 Volvo S40 2006 2.4 SE Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$5,300

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.