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Volvo S40 2.4i

Broadcast dates : 9th January 2005
13th January 2005

The Volvo S40 was one of the nicest surprises of 2004, a motoring year that saw an unprecedented number of new model launches in South Africa.

We tested the turbocharged model a few months ago, but this is the naturally-aspirated 2.4i. 

And it is of particular interest right now as it is one eight finalists for the 2005 Car of the Year competition, with the journalists’ test days just a few weeks away.

The new-generation S40 is a major step forward for Volvo, and we believe this car will be fighting for overall honours in the competition right from the word go. There are a couple of reasons for this.
  • Firstly it looks great.
  • Secondly it is a fine package combining excellent handling, rewarding feedback from the controls, and performance.
  • And thirdly, it is extremely well-priced considering its specification.

The 2.4I is the entry-level model in the S40 range, but it isn’t short-changed in terms of features. The 16-inch alloy wheels look smart and features like the wing mirror indicator lights add a touch of class.

And the 2.4i is a performance surprise too. There is something enticing about the engine note of a five-cylinder unit. It has an off-beat warble, and Volvo is very experienced in this configuration.

In fact, in some respects we preferred the power delivery of the naturally aspirated 2.4 Volvo to that of the more powerful turbo.

Power delivery is more linear, easier to control when pulling away on poor surfaces, for instance.

And outright performance is strong.

Delivering 125 kW, the transversely-mounted engine enables a nought to 100 time of 8,7 seconds and a top speed of 220 km/h. These are Car magazine’s tested figures at sea level and they place the Volvo at the performance forefront in its price class.

On a bang-for-buck basis it also has more torque than any of its competitors which include models from all the major premium sector players such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.

The steering is a delight to use and so is the gearbox. Incidentally it uses a five-speed manual transmission driving the front wheels.

Traction control, ABS braking and Brake Assist are all part of the package.

And of course, with Volvo’s safety drive in high gear for the 21st century, this car has plenty of credibility in the arrive-alive stakes. There is a patented front-end steel structure using many different grades of steel to achieve progressive body deformation in the event of an accident.

There are a total of six airbags in the car, including curtain airbags, and the front seats feature patented whiplash protection design

As far as aesthetics are concerned, Kass found the Swedish minimalism particularly pleasing to her eye in the interior of the S40 2.4i.

Finely-stitched synthetic cloth seats are standard, although leather seats are available as an option. The rear seats offer a kind of bucket seat approach for the outer passengers and a foldaway armrest can heighten the cockpit type of approach to the rear seat occupants.

Rear passenger space is good too.

A negative of this clean functional design comes in the boot space; crisp though that rear-end styling is, the opening to the boot is woefully small, and overall capacity is small too.

On the plus side, there is a full-sized spare wheel.

At R227 000, we rate this Volvo as the best deal in its class. It is a vast step ahead of the first-generation car, which had indifferent handling and build quality.

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