2005 Volvo S40
Coming in at number seven is one of our favorite small sedans, the 2005 Volvo S40. Entertaining in base 2.4i trim, this sweet Swede is downright grin-inducing when wearing a T5 badge. Competitors may offer a bit more interior room (passenger volume is 92 cubic feet), but with 14.3 cubic feet of volume, the S40 offers decent cargo space. Those facts, along with the impressive safety ratings, will sell this Volvo to your mate, the one who couldn’t care less about cars. However, you, the enthusiast, will be sold on the T5’s handling and lively 218 horsepower.
The base 2005 Volvo S40 2.4i, weighing in at 3,084-lbs., starts at $23,560 (plus a $695 destination charge) and features standard front side airbags, side curtain airbags, a front passenger airbag cutoff sensor, front active headrests, antilock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, and electronic brake assistance. The T5, available with front- or all-wheel drive, provides the same standard safety equipment and starts at $26,395. Available on all models is a stability control system.
In NHTSA testing, the 2005 Volvo S40 received four stars for the driver and five stars for the front passenger in a frontal crash, five stars for the front and rear occupants in a side crash, and four stars for its rollover rating. In IIHS testing, the 2005 Volvo S40 received a Best Pick ranking for its offset frontal crash test performance.