The S40 has a very strong and stable passenger safety cage. It achieved five stars after Euro NCAP allowed a pole impact test, following modification to the door pillar trim fixings. In the first test, the curtain airbag interacted with the trim as it deployed.
The restraint systems and air bags worked well. Side impact protection was very impressive, while child protection proved to be good. Pedestrian protection was fairly good.
The restraint system worked well although loads on the occupants’ chests were a little high. The driver’s knees were at risk from contact with hard points beneath the fascia.
The body proved very strong, showing minimal distortion after the impact around the sill and screen pillar and minor intrusion into the footwell.
All rear seats have three-point belts. All five seats are also protected by a seat belt reminder.
The side impact performance was very impressive. The seat mounted thorax and pelvis airbag and head curtain airbag worked efficiently; the latter also protecting those sat in the rear.
Both children sat in Volvo branded rear facing restraints fitted to the car using the adult belts. Each restraint also had a support leg, which gave additional bracing. Both children were well protected in the side impact.
In the frontal impact, the chest load on the older child and the neck load on the younger child were a little on the high side.
There was a pictogram fitted to the plastic trim at the passenger’s end of the fascia. A separate three language text warning label was positioned below it. Neither was permanently attached, although each warned of the danger of injury or even death when placing a child in a rear-facing restraint opposite an active airbag.
The S40 gained points for protection given by the front edge of its bonnet, which is unusual for a current design.
It also gave protection where a child’s or adult’s head might strike in a crash. But its bumper did little to reduce the chances of leg injuries occurring.