Blue oval Volvo

The Swedes built this nifty sedan un­der Ford own­er­ship

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@cars­guide.com.au

NEW

AF­TER years of safe, sen­si­ble, stodgy cars Volvo rein­vig­o­rated its range with a se­ries of smart and stylish mod­els.

The pop­u­lar S40 com­pact sedan was a ma­jor part of that trans­for­ma­tion af­ter re­plac­ing the 440 in the late 1990s. An all-new S40 ap­peared in 2004 and it was a big step for­ward in both style and sub­stance, with a re­spon­sive chas­sis (shared with Ford’s Fo­cus and the Mazda3) and a diesel engine op­tion.

Four mod­els made up the range, start­ing with the en­try level S, then the lux­ury LE, D5 diesel and sporty T5. They were smartly laid-out in­side, with prac­ti­cal con­trols, com­fort­able seats and am­ple cabin space, al­though those in the rear seats might have felt a lit­tle cramped.

There were three engine op­tions: 2.4-litre petrol, 2.4 turbo diesel and 2.5 turbo petrol. The base petrol engine de­liv­ered de­cent per­for­mance, the diesel stretched the dis­tance be­tween fuel stops nicely but the sparkling per­former of the range was the turbo petrol T5, an engine still in ser­vice in Volvo’s C30.

Most of the range was fron­twheel drive but later ver­sions of the T5 had on-de­mand AWDvia a Haldex cou­pling.

If the en­gines de­liv­ered the zip, it was the chas­sis that de­liv­ered the real en­joy­ment with its nim­ble, sure­footed han­dling that was light years ahead of the lum­ber­ing old Volvo of the re­cent past.

NOW

When we say road test a po­ten­tial pur­chase, we don’t mean a quick thrash around the block but an ex­tended eval­u­a­tion tak­ing in as many var­ied road and driv­ing con­di­tions as pos­si­ble. Take it to a Volvo spe­cial­ist for ex­am­i­na­tion and check for a ser­vice record from a me­chanic who is fa­mil­iar the brand.

Many S40s will have passed or be fast ap­proach­ing the time when the cam tim­ing belt needs to be changed.

On ear­lier mod­els that job was sched­uled at 120,000km or eight years, later ex­am­ples went out to 150,000km or 10 years.

SMITHY SAYS

An at­trac­tive mid­sized car that com­bines safety, fea­tures and good on-road per­for­mance at an af­ford­able used price.

Smart mover: The S40 com­bines neat cabin lay­out with am­ple driv­e­line op­tions

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