2008 Volvo S40 S 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland




Suspension strut and wheel bearing needed replaced.

Brake discs and pads.

Power steering piping leaked, replaced pipe.

Boot motor failed.

Sometimes difficult to engage reverse, though I think this is just the silly gearbox design and not the car's fault, will discuss more in the review below.

Timing belt replaced at 100,000 as a precaution, along with general maintenance, oil changes and so on.

General Comments:

An excellent car to drive, the S40 handles sharp and the manual gear change is very slick, a very precise and short throw, and much more fun than it should be. Only downside is as mentioned above in the "faults", I think the problem is reverse in this car has a rather old school design of having to move the lever into neutral for a second and depressing the clutch perhaps a second time before reverse will engage. It's no big deal, but I haven't had a car do this since the 1980s; all my previous cars had a push down or pull up mechanism and reverse would engage every time with no issues.

Another minor complaint I have about driving this car is the performance - the 1.6 really is adequate at best; I would ideally love the T5 for more performance, but cannot afford it right now. Still, on the plus side I am getting a solid 40MPG out of this car.

The interior is where this car impresses most - stylish and still very modern looking after nearly 10 years. I love the "floating" display and comfort of the seats that really hug you when you sit in them, even after long drives still feel fresh. The car feels very safe - big thick pillars. Downside to that however is there are some blind spots, but you get used to it. If I'm being really picky I would say the climate controls on this are fiddly to use at first, but all modern cars are the same and you get used to it. Also good to note on the interior are the heated seats - bear in mind my car is only the base "S" model, but it is very well equipped, with electric windows and climate control. The heated seats must have been added as an option when new because I have never seen another model like mine with them. R Design and SE are the upper models to go for, but chances are any S40 will be well equipped.

Outside the car looks great in just about any colour, mine is a dark metallic grey, which I did not like at first but has really grown on me. It's better than bright silver, which seems to be the colour of 90% of cars on the road in UK at the moment. Standard alloy wheels look great and are easy to keep clean.

To conclude I would recommend this car to anyone. Given the fact I got it used at a great price and hasn't caused me any major problems in the 2 years I've had it and put decent mileage on it, shows this Volvo is built to last and that is what they have always been famous for. My father had a Volvo 850 bought new in the mid 90s and was only scrapped recently after 20 years and 200K miles! So most of the "faults" above on my S40 are wear and tear, which I confidently spent a good bit of money sorting out when I got the car at a service and MOT test, so I've every confidence it will last another 100K miles and 10 years. Being realistic though I'll probably get bored in a couple of years with its average performance and get the T5 version or go for a bigger faster S60 or S80 model Volvo, but right now I'm loving this S40.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th September, 2017

18th Nov 2017, 15:42

I have much the same car, this is a good review and is pretty much how I would sum up my S40 - a good car, but not one without repairs, but to be fair my mileage is getting high also (over 100K).

It has been slightly more expensive to run than a Ford Focus from the same time period, which this car is apparently based. The Volvo is definitely a slightly more refined, better car though.

Mines does that thing with the reverse as well, I wouldn't worry about it because like you mentioned; I think it is just characteristic of the car. I'm with you also about the fiddly climate control - I hate it, yes it looks nice, but it's far too easy to press about 3 buttons at once; the old school heater controls were better.

The 1.6 is very slow, but the 1.8 is not much better; trust me I have that engine, and the diesels give expensive problems in the long run, as all modern diesels do. T5 is the best choice if you can afford the extra money on fuel and insurance!

14th Mar 2018, 13:47

I tend to agree, but watch the boot motor in this car - I've read many reviews that say this has failed, a very common fault, most likely the wiring loom and/or locking motor that fail. A real pain on an otherwise great car.

2008 Volvo S40 2.4i I5 from North America


Still alive, even after the Ford takeover!


Numerous electrical glitches; burnt bulbs, radio memory loss, intermittent warning lights, etc.

No major mechanical failures.

General Comments:

You can definitely tell that Ford has left their mark on Volvo. Owning this car has been a frustrating experience. The car's electrical system seems to have a mind of its own, and must be serviced at a dealer. In fact, everything has to be done at a Volvo dealership, because they're the only ones who can reset the maintenance computer.

No complaints about the 2.4L Inline 5. The engine provides good power and throttle response, and the suspension and steering make the car feel much lighter than it actually is.

The interior of the car is comfortable, functional, but generally unattractive and bland. The center console is an amazing array of at least 30 buttons, all to operate a single radio. Buttons on the steering wheel, radio, and heater are small, hard to read, and hard to use with gloves on. The little pocket behind the console is a nice touch, though.

Cabin space is enough for four adults, and can get very cramped, very quickly. Trunk space is god, but there are two pits on either side of the spare tire cover for no discernible purpose, the opening is small, and the trunk button on the remote only unlocks the trunk rather than open it. The seats do fold flat, though, which is a nice bonus.

However, just when you think that Ford has completely ruined Volvo, there's still some evidence to say otherwise. Last year, the car was being driven through recent snow. The car hit a downhill patch of ice towards a curve, and impacted the curb sideways at over 40 km/h (25 MPH). Two rims on the passenger's side were badly damaged and needed to be replaced. When the car was brought to a shop, the technician told us that the car shouldn't have been driven and was likely to have major suspension damage. But when a check was done, the car was not only undamaged, but it was still holding perfect alignment! Volvo safety and quality aren't just clich├ęs. And thankfully, Ford has at least left this intact.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th January, 2011

25th Jan 2011, 15:59

FORD bought VOLVO in 1999 and sold it in 2010. Now it is a Chinese car. At least you know that FORD did somethings correctly.

2nd Nov 2011, 13:11

For some reason, Volvo C30, S40, and V50 models are sensitive to weak batteries. That was probably causing the electrical glitches (except for the burnt out bulbs).

2008 Volvo S40 D5 SE Sport 2.4 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


A fast, solid, reliable car


Minor oil leak.

General Comments:

This is a really solid car, great performance.

The manual model is a bit faster and uses less fuel.

I'm averaging 40 mpg (a lot of motorway driving).

The boot is tiny (Volvo really need to address this if the S40 is to compete with other makes)

The centre floating console is very artistic, but the buttons controlling heater, hrw etc are tiny - it's very easy to press the wrong button - or press two buttons at once.

Those are my only gripes - apart from that it is a very fast, solid car and certainly gives BMW a run for its money.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th November, 2009