2009 Volvo S40 R-Design 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Nice car, but watch for expensive repairs

Faults:

Jammed boot lid (faulty wiring/motor, very common fault).

Suspension and driveshafts/wheel bearings (expensive! £650+).

ABS light on - faulty sensor, replaced for £180 by specialist (dealer wanted much more).

Brakes, tyres, oil and timing belt change (maintenance items).

General Comments:

For a car that is over 10 years old now, the Volvo S40 is a sharp looking modern car. In blue with nice alloy wheels it looks the part. On the inside the interior is the sporty R-design model, and is great with leather and lots of electronic equipment as standard.

To drive the handling is very sharp and the gearchange is slick. It's a shame the 1.6 petrol engine is not very fast - the 1.8 might be slightly better, and perhaps the diesels are best avoided as I've heard they are very expensive to repair, though fast and economical. This 1.6 certainly is not - average performance at best and you'll only get 39-40 MPG if you take it easy.

Speaking of expensive repairs, that's my main problem with this car - yes it is getting older and higher mileage now so I should expect some wear and tear, but some bills I've had have been in excess of £600!!! Never had so many wear and tear items needed replaced at the same time, plus niggling electronic faults. Take a look on here and you will read other reviews about this same car - it is good, but not without its reliability issues and expensive repairs. A bit of a fall from grace of Volvo's of the past - back in the day they were known for reliability and economy. I do not know so much now.

Overall though this has been a great car and I would definitely recommend it - just watch the electronics/mechanical stuff on these, they can quickly write off the car as it gets older as they cost too much to justify spending so much on a car over a decade old. It does not hold its value well as other Volvo's, and compared to my previous 1997 BMW 3 series (a great car, just getting old so I got rid), it is a quality car but only slightly cheaper to run; I thought the Volvo would be much cheaper but I was wrong.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 7th February, 2020

8th Feb 2020, 15:39

Wait until you get the bill for a new transmission!

9th Feb 2020, 14:24

Tell me about it! Engine or transmission issues usually write off most cars as well, even when they are not that old. Mind you, I have found modern cars engines and transmission seem to be solid; the new problem is the cost of electronics and other repairs that mount up around it.

11th Feb 2020, 22:47

Volvos are notorious for frying automatic transmissions.

Check www.carcomplaints.com for all the bad news.

12th Feb 2020, 08:01

I heard, thanks for the link. I live in the UK and mines is a manual transmission though, and seems OK even at higher mileage. Seems to be a lot of complaints from USA automatic versions. Anyways, the main problem with cars over here (and not just Volvo; this affects many other manufacturers) is the increasing cost of repairs for electronic issues or wear and tear on modern cars, it has doubled in recent years, making keeping cars like this for a long time very hard; it is just never worth it when they get older. You could say that about any car I know, but I remember keeping cars for 15 years or more back in the day - now they do not seem to last as long!

13th Feb 2020, 17:39

According to the link given, the S40 (WHICH IS WHAT THIS REVIEW IS ABOUT) doesn't suffer any gearbox problems. You are aware Volvo use different gearboxes in different models and engine options aren't you?

13th Feb 2020, 19:54

Nobody buys Volvos because they're reliable. If you want a reliable car, you get a Honda or Toyota. Because Volvos cost an arm and a leg to repair, often require weird, Volvo-specific tools and parts, and are pretty much on par with many other euro brands of cars, meaning sort of mediocre to poor reliability, and abnormal wear and tear on components.