Like it? I love it. Its got great acceleration and I love the sound system. Did I mention it looks great, and reay does turn heads. Nice safe little car and for me it makes a great around the town car and more. Its simply a blast to drive.
Our new S40 has been nothing but a headache. It's been just over a year since we bought it and it has been in the shop 4 times. Twice to have the ignition switch replaced, once to have a leak in the air conditioning replaced and once to have a bad leather seat replaced. It is currently in the shop getting the ignition switch replaced for the 2nd time (it was replaced the first time in September '04) and we are pursing the lemon law as the car has been out of service for greater than 20 days.
Had my S40 for two weeks now. I love it. Here's a general overview.
Car handles like a dream. Very solid but responsive ride. Steering has great feel and is sensitive - very close to hair trigger. Actually reminds me of the Grumman Tiger private plane I used to fly compared to the more sluggish Pipers and Cessnas. For the driver, this is great. For passengers (especially rear ones) it can be a bit too sensitive if the driver has a tendency to over-respond.
Engine power in the basic models (2.4 liter non-turbo) is perfect for me. Responsive but I find getting the right gas peddle action to get the most out of the automatic transmission a bit inconsistent. That should improve with time. Currently I'm getting between 22 and 23 MPG while motoring around town. Not bad considering the fun I'm having.
Interior finish is first class and comfortable. Seats are perfect, IMO.
Only three areas so far I find that could use improvement. First, I find the dash instrumentation visibility somewhat poor. If driving into the sun with sun glasses on, the speedometer and tach are barely visible and the text displays unreadable. Have to lift my sunglasses up to get a good read. I'm a little surprised this isn't better.
Area two concerns available passenger compartment storage. I'd rate this poor. My 2001 Jetta was much better in this area. Door pockets were much more useful, coin and small item tray much more accessible and a nice area under the handbrake handle for a notepad or similar item.
Area three concerns the stereo. I got the Dolby Pro model and frankly am disappointed. The system has a definite sibliance peak that is just not appropriate in a high end system. On one hand, they probably did this on purpose as it gives an artificial "punch" to music that is impressive on first listen but is quickly tiring. I'd more expect this trick on the low-end system. I've been able to correct this a little bit with the built-in graphic equalizer, but five bands isn't quite enough to fix it correctly. However, the point is it shouldn't have been there in the first place. (If the artist wants his music to have "punch" it should be on the recording itself. The stereo shouldn't add it.)
However, remembering that the car's first priority is for driving, it is easier to put these faults in perspective. With two weeks under the belt would I buy it again? A definite yes. Only change would be to skip the extra $800 for the premium sound.
I have to point out that it took about a month and a software update to get my sound system correct. I agree with woland that the premium sound has too much punch from the factory. Put it in Pro Logic mode (CD) and set everything to "flat" then raise front / rear EQ as needed. I think the sound system is far better than what most cars are offering lately and I am glad I spent the extra for a much better system.
So far as performance goes...Yes the S40 is excellent. I highly reccomend the "sport" package with the lower, tighter suspension.
I think the new s-40 is real cool.
My dad got to test drive one on a track and he loved it. At one point he had three wheels on the ground in a turn, and it was wet and rainy outside at the time!
I got to go for a short ride in a T5, it was very impressive!
I'm not sure about reliability, but sure like it.