Monday, August 22, 2011

2011 Volvo S40: Our Disney World Transportation

Our last family vacation was enjoyed at Walt Disney World resort in Orlando and we rented a dark orange Volvo S40. The air-conditioning worked very well, wet bathing suits didn't harm the interior, and we could always find it in the parking lots.

Our family enjoyed a great week in Florida at the Disney World resort last Spring. We took in all the Disney sites, including their two water parks, and stayed up late, ate too much, and made some wonderful memories. Even though the folks at Disney offer great transportation between the airport and the resorts, we're always more comfortable having our own car just to make sure we can get where we want to go, when we want to go. This trip we rented a 2011 Volvo S40, an easy-to-drive small sedan in a great burnt orange color that we chose because it'd be easy to spot in crowded parking lots. (I believe the Volvo website calls this color "Orange Flame Metallic.")

The S40 was good for short trips to and fro, but it wouldn't fit our family of four (with the kids growing rapidly, not to mention the dog) for a trek longer than two hours. I thought the road noise was a bit much for a Volvo -- a brand I associate with armored cars and safety. I have no doubts about the safety of the vehicle, Volvo still gets top marks there. However, the sturdy construction seemed to be missing from this car. But a lighter weight isn't necessarily bad with all the new space-age materials car makers use to reduce weight and increase mileage and still keep passengers safe.
This S40 had Sirius radio with controls on the steering wheel and center stack. There was also a telephone touch pad on the center stack, something we hadn't seen before, but we couldn't figure out how to use it, so we stuck with our Bluetooth headsets. Not all of the functions on the center stack were that intuitive, but we were mainly interested in the air conditioning which worked very well.

The interior was comfortable and we all appreciated the cloth seats on those hot, sunny Florida days. The trunk wasn't huge, but it fit our four carry-on suitcases and a few backpacks. There were cup holders in the back seat for the kids, and enough room for each that we didn't have any border disputes.

I think the S40 would be a great commuter car or first car for a college student. It's small, responsive, front-wheel drive, and safe. We arrived on a soggy day in Orlando and kept squealing the tires after every toll collection. We were excited to get to Disney World, but not so much so that we intentionally punched the accelerator, the car has a five-cylinder turbocharged engine that's just touchy enough to respond quickly and spin out a bit. (The kids loved it, by the way.) Gas mileage is good at 21 city/30 highway, but you can do better with a hybrid or diesel or electric if that's a high priority. 

Safety features abound in every Volvo, but you may not notice them initially unless you know they're there. The base S40 starts at $27,750, with so many standard features you may be satisfied with the basic package. If you want Xenon headlights, then cough up an extra $800 and you'll be set. The S40 has available blind spot detection, $700 extra, but Bluetooth, auxiliary and USB ports are standard features. As is Pedestrian Protection: the design of the car is rounded with a lower profile to reduce injuries to pedestrians or cyclists who are hit by the car. Now that's the kind of thinking that insurance companies love and that will hopefully never come into play.

The S40 is still a Volvo and holds true to it's Swedish roots. It's unassuming, quiet and strong. The only flash you'll get is in the color you choose for the exterior paint. Volvo is invested in environmentally healthy choices and I loved seeing the Oko-tex label telling me that the car's interior was made with as much thought to the environment as my daughter's Hanna Andersson dress. Denne bil ar mycket smart och snabb.

Photos courtesy of Volvo USA.

(c) Copyright 2010-2016. Erika JN Fish. Car Mama. All Rights Reserved.


  1. What a thoughtful posts. It was enough to get me to browse through your earlier posts. I'm really glad. You've created a great spot to visit and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day.