1999 Volvo S40 T 1.9T from North America


Best car driven in over 52 years of motoring!


Anti-freeze leak -- 7600 miles.

Right headlight bulb blown - replaced -- 9510 miles.

Check-engine light/software upgrade per tech. DCS 28-21 -- 10600 miles.

Check-engine light again at 10960 and 11375 miles -- download software upgrade again per tech. DCS 28-21, and installed swapped mass air flow sensor.

Left low beam headlight bulb blown -- replaced -- 16170 miles.

Loosing coolant -- leak at reservoir bottle -- replaced hose clamp -- 16840 miles.

Check engine light -- 19960 miles; replaced faulty turbo boost pressure sensor.

Check engine light -- three separate times between 20000 and 23700 miles -- finally diagnosed as a faulty catalytic convertor -- replaced at 23708 miles. Rear brake pads replaced at this same time along with the rear caliper mounts on the owners request.

Getting a cold-start stumble immediately on start-up with a reduction of RPM's to the point of stalling; no cause found. Problem has never returned -- 24230 miles.

General Comments:

Am using a top-cylinder high temperature upper cylinder lubricant (Marvel Mystery Oil) for the turbo, and being a user of this product for over 30 years, it definitely adds to the good reliability and performance of the S40 turbo engine.

Have installed a larger (22mm) rear sway bar for the factory 9mm unit, and the handling is outstanding. Was great in original equipment form, but it is now terrific!

Very comfortable for long trips -- best since driving my 1978 Saab 99 Turbo.

In all the 28000 miles plus as driven with a 65/35 distribution of miles on highway vs. city, I have averaged over 27 miles per gallon, and not with a soft foot; the transmission stays in sport mode constantly!

The seat adjustments for my six foot one inch frame are adequate for my driving comfort and pleasure. I keep the lumbar adjustment on full tilt.

The DSA (Dynamic Stability Assistance) option feature can be "over-driven", and requires common sense in its application in the wet and in snow via the accelerator.

Have only praise for the optioned headlight washer-wipers (Cold Weather Package), and the fat Sport leather steering wheel as optioned in the USA Sport Package.

For a person who wants a sports car with four doors, and is used to wrapping such a vehicle around oneself for driving enthusiastically, the S40 fits the bill to a "T".

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd August, 2001

11th Dec 2002, 22:06

Wow, that just amazes me that you had A LOT of problems with your car that cost well over $20,000, yet you consider it a reliable vehicle? You must have owned some terrible cars in the past. My old $2500 Volvo 240 with 160,000 on it has had less trouble in the past 30,000 miles than what you've had with yours. Shop around before you buy...Jeesh!

1999 Volvo S40 XS 1.6 from UK and Ireland


Dull performer


Intermittent problem with the driver's side electric window, sometimes it closes, sometimes it refuses to close and gets stuck halfway up.

Refuses to start 1st time, especially noticeable when it's cold. Apparently this is a feature of some 1.6 models, dealer's comments...

Terrible fuel economy...!

General Comments:

The Volvo S40 has good ergonomic design with comfortable seats and good driving position. I've done nearly 30,000 'ache free' miles in the last year.

Handling is poor, it rolls like a barrel in the corners/roundabouts.

In 1.6 guise it is seriously under-powered, with only 109 BHP it struggles big time, overtaking manouevres are best avoided, unless you like scaring yourself.

Fuel economy is very poor, it averages between 25 and 27 mpg regardless of how it's driven. I came from a 2.0 litre Hyundai Coupe that never did less than 30mpg and had considerably better performance.

Overall a reasonably built, safe and comfortable car. Avoid the 1.6, insist on the 2.0 litre or T4 to get decent performance. I had no choice though.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th February, 2001

21st Jun 2001, 15:56

I sold my 1.6XS because of the sluggish acceleration, but I did get over 35mpg regularly.

I had zero quality or reliability problems, but suffered pretty steep depreciation for a "quality" brand.

1st Sep 2002, 19:55

The 1.6 engine on the latest models are fine for general motoring by most drivers. Test drive one and see - unless you spend all the time on motorways or need to grow up out of the boasting 'boy racer' phase the small engine has a lot to offer.

28th Nov 2002, 18:52

You get what you pay for. I've got a 1.8 16V S. E and it goes. I wouldn't touch a 1.6 though.

1999 Volvo S40 T4 1.9 turbo from UK and Ireland


Sensible saloon with attitude


Irritating problem with the steering lock that twice required attention.

More serious ignition failure, fortunately not at an inconvenient time.

On all occasions the dealer sorted the problem swiftly and provided whatever help was necessary, all without fuss.

General Comments:

Very comfortable and blindingly quick, without the usual tooth rattling ride you get at slow speeds in a sports saloon. Yet the handling is not unduly compromised and you would have to be pushing seriously hard to unsettle it.

The front wheels struggle for traction in the wet and I don't find the traction control does much to help. Careful choice of tyres offers much more.

Overall if you fancy performance without sacrificing comfort, this car should be on your list.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th November, 2000

1999 Volvo S40 XS 1.6 from UK and Ireland


Nothing - it's new.

General Comments:

The new engine in the 1.6 (109bhp) is really quite good. The car is very nice to drive and is well put together.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th September, 1999