2004 Volvo S40 1.9T 1.9L turbo from North America


Fun, fast, reliable, safe, "Volvo for life"


Leak detection pump failed at 72,180 miles. No cost to me; dealer fixed before I purchased.

Power antenna mast broke off. Dealer fixed for free; it was broken during a service visit, their fault.

Light bulbs behind climate controls burned out, Dealer also fixed for free.

General Comments:

First I must say I disagree with the negative reviews others posted about this car. My car is the 2004 1.9T model not the newer 2004.5, 2.4i model.

My Volvo dealer took great care of me and quickly addressed the little issues I had when I purchased it. I think any car is only as good as the dealer you have standing behind it, and they did a lot to help me BEFORE AND AFTER the sale.


This car runs and drives great. The turbo operation is very smooth and quiet; you wouldn't even know it was a turbocharged motor by driving it, you would think it was a V6, not a 4 cylinder. I average 27 MPG, but I drive hard. When I drive more reserved I can get 30 MPG no problem.


The automatic transmission takes a bit of getting used to. I read reviews about the transmission "jerking" when down-shifting at low speeds, but I actually like the way it operates. When you are going slow and need to take off quickly, such as coming onto an interstate ramp, it's nice to have the transmission already in a low gear and ready to take off. It also has a tendency to down-shift when creeping down a hill in traffic etc., also a good thing in my opinion because it holds the car back. Another nice option is the "Weather Mode" that you can activate to increase winter traction. It puts the car in 3rd gear from the start to decrease the chance of wheels slip in unfavorable road conditions.


The climate control knobs are easy to adjust and the system does a great job at keeping a comfortable temperature without having to keep adjusting the settings. Set it to "Auto" mode, turn to the desired temp and forget it, easy! The cabin air filter is under the passenger side dash and filters the A/C and Heater air in both fresh air mode and recirculate mode. Most cars only filter the cabin air coming in from the outside not the air inside the car. The heated seats are sweet on those cold days, and even turn on automatically in freezing weather so if you start your car to warm it up, it warms the seats too. Headlight washers and wipers are also a great feature for those foul winter days.


The car handles very well. Steering is very responsive, and stiff enough for a sporty feel and great control. Ride is a bit stiff, and bumpy roads cause a few minor rattles, but it's worth it for good handling. DSA (Dynamic Stability Assistance) helps.


Brakes work great! I replaced factory pads with Akebono Euro Ceramic brakes pads only because the Volvo pads cause way too much brake dust on my wheels. My wheels were turning black every 3-4 days. The Akebono pads work just as well with no brake dust at all. The 4 wheel ABS reacts very well in emergency situations.


It is said Volvo makes some of the worlds most comfortable seats, and I have to totally agree. The seats do a great job of supporting your whole body.

The controls are laid out very well. Turn signals, cruise control, and wipers are accessible without having to take your hands off the wheel.

The power sunroof opens with just a tap of a button on the roof, and does a great job and bringing in fresh air.

The back seat is not very roomy, but the shape of the front seat-backs, provides some extra hidden space to give more leg room. I have had adults fit comfortable in the back without having to move up the front seats more than a little bit. The integrated child seats are also a nice feature, though I don't have children to try them out.


Dual front air bags, side air bags, inflatable side curtain air bags, whiplash protection seats, seat belt pre-tensioners (remove excess belt slack during accident impact), 4 wheel ABS, dynamic stability assistance, would anyone expect less from Volvo?


I am very glad I purchased this car, it has not been any more expensive to maintain than the American made cars I owned. I feel very safe driving this car despite its small size.

I would definitely purchase another Volvo, and recommend the S40 1.9T (not the 2004.5 2.4i, I had one as a loaner and didn't like it as much) to anyone looking for a smaller European model.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st October, 2007

29th Dec 2008, 22:08

100% agree with your comments, my mom owns a 2003 Volvo S 40 TSE.

Good tip about the brakes, but I don't like the performance of the Volvo brakes. We changed it and we are using now a German brakes, which run better.

Thanks for your post.

2004 Volvo S40 Base with Sports Package 1.9 litre turbo from North America


Good entry-level luxury vehicle - very safe


1. Passenger power door lock makes a whirling noise - Actuator replaced by warranty

2. Driver's power window streaks - Weather strip installed, covered by warranty

3. Leaked oil (right after oil change service); oil seal damaged by service technician - Replaced by warranty

4. Front body kit damaged due to scrapes; vehicle is extremely low - Not covered by warranty. $26 replacement for center piece of body kit.

General Comments:

This car is the last year from the original style. I'd figure Volvo would have fixed all the issues on the last release of this vehicle. Apparently not. There are a lot of quirks on the car, which apparently is normal.

1. If you leave the keys in the accessory position for longer than 1-2 minutes, the car won't start if you turn the ignition. You have to turn the key to position OFF and ON again to restart. Something about being in Accessory mode draws a lot of ignition power.

2. On very hot days (100+), the climate control may switch off and on. I believe this is due to overheating.

3. Cruising at 20-30mph and releasing the accelerator causes the vehicle to down-shift, which lurches the car forward.

4. The car's driving and shifting style changes and adapts to how you drive it when you first start it up. (i.e. heavy acceleration after taking off from a cold start will result in shifting at higher RPMs, etc).

It's very easy to reset the service light without having to go to the dealership.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th September, 2006