I went for the S40 because of Volvo's reputation for safety and I liked the biggish boxy external look of the car.
To drive, the S40 is quite good. The road holding is very good and the steering is very responsive though the gear change is not the best.
Reversing takes a bit of getting used to due to the low front and the high boot of the car - you think you're quite close to the vehicle or wall behind you when, in fact, you have ample room.
Inside the cabin, the dash and steering wheel looks and feels cheap, as does the cloth on the seats. The boot size is good, but the narrow opening and small boot lid limit the size of items you can put in.
I think the ashtray is in a dangerous position. It's placed all the way down beside the handbrake, meaning to extinguish your ciggy safely, you have to completely take your eyes off the road.
Acceleration through the gears is sluggish. For those of you who like a bit of oomph when the lights go green, forget this car - although braking at high speed is excellent.
I'm fed up having to change the external light bulbs. I own a year 2000 model for almost two years and lost count of the amount of bulbs I've changed. So far, no engine trouble.
I've been running the T4 as a company car since 2002 and the reliability has been 100% for 85,000 miles. The equipment level is very good and so is the fuel economy, averaging 37mpg, compared with the published combined 32mpg.
The engine is not refined but powerful. However the chassis can't cope, resulting in the car suffering from poor handling. The dealer is excellent and gives first class service.
I have had this car for nearly 3 yrs and it has never caused any problems until now. The main feed to the ignition switch has a very high resistance, which caused the ignition to fail - however this has been overcome by by-passing the wire for the time being.
The car had 34,000 miles on the clock, it now has 58,000. It is a CD auto version - it has all the trimmings i.e. leather seats, wood effect trim, sun roof etc: the overall quality if the build & fittings is excellent - fuel consumption around town is about 26mpg, 33mpg on a long run.
However, the biggest gripe is the suspension. It's ATROCIOUS. On a smooth road it's great but over bumpy town roads it's nothing but crashing and banging all the way. The car has been checked for worn suspension and everything seems to be OK - however things quieten down a bit when it's raining - probably due to water lubricating the rubber bushes.
I could put up with a firm ride if it was at least quiet. I have asked several owners of this model and they also experience the same problem.
I really don't know how VOLVO have managed to achieve this level of roughness considering that a previous model - the 440/460 (which my son had) had a very good ride.
The question is, would I buy another S40 (96 -04) - I doubt it!
It has great performance, a good level of trim but light handling at front when the turbo kicks in. It's a great car.
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