Both front and back fog-lamps had already blown.
The interior (original) is tacky, nothing to look at; but I am not fussed.
The front end of the car gives the impression (and sound!) of scraping bottom when driving over speed bumps; I was told this is a common problem, and nothing actually touches the ground.
The engine revolutions rises and drops at random when the car is idle or very slow (I suppose due to increased and decreased engine loads) ; this can be rather disconcerting when doing a tricky reverse maneuver into a tight parking spot as there would a slight jerk, requiring careful braking to avoid smashing into something. I was told nothing could be done about this (!).
The engine vibrates when the car is stopped, with the gear engaged. I was told this is a usual problem with the car, due to a defective engine mounting. This was corroborated when I checked with the local Volvo dealer and found that the engine mounting is one of the most common parts replaced in the S40.
The air-conditioning is not good enough for a tropical climate. Again, I was told nothing can be done about this.
The fan is so damned loud when it comes on! Very irritating.
First, be warned that I am a Volvophile.
That said, I found the car to be a reasonable performer. Its acceleration and speed are nothing spectacular compared to high-end performance cars, obviously, but are nonetheless satisfactory; the engine is powerful enough to have some fun with. However, when joyriding, I cannot help, but wish there was much, much more power. This is definitely not (and is probably not meant to be) a sexy car.
The car feels safe at all times (psychological only, because it is a Volvo?), and handles well enough even in difficult corners and bad (and wet) road conditions. The Dynamic Stability Assistance is a boon.
So far, maintenance costs have been reasonable, and from the recorded maintenance history of the car, I have not found anything extraordinarily mind-boggling. Based on the maintenance schedule, and the way the car is presently behaving, I do not anticipate any major cost item to arise in the near future.
I am satisfied with my purchase, which I regard as a stepping stone toward my ultimate aim of owning the S60R!