14th Oct 2016, 21:31
I have had a couple of S40 myself and I am a big Volvo enthusiast. I think this is an excellent review. However the 1.8 litre petrol you suggest, I would strongly advise against. This is a Ford engine and is notorious for valve stem seal issues, which causes the car to burn oil. It is a very labour intensive job and costly, and often not worth doing as the car gets old. I have had two 1.6d, which is a PSA engine and I have found them excellent, provided they're serviced on the dot and do frequent long runs as they were designed for; I have over 275,000 km on mine and the engine is still very healthy!
15th Oct 2016, 10:25
Original author here. Thanks for the comment, I was unaware about any issues on the 1.8 petrol, and any modern diesel I've had or heard about has turbo or injector issues. That's why I suggested the other petrol engine as an alternative.
Anyway glad you liked my review, and a further update - the car is still great, no problems, and after getting used to the 1.6 it's not actually that bad, you just have to put your foot down to get anywhere! But then I'm spoiled by larger 2.0 or V6 cars I've had in the past, that's probably why :) Mind you I am getting over 40 MPG out of this Volvo so can't complain.
26th Oct 2016, 15:22
Good to hear you are having no problems with your 1.6 petrol. The reason for turbo failure on the diesel S40 is the injector seals leak as they can't withstand pressures of common-rail injection, and cause high carbon build up in the oil, restricting flow into the turbo, thus turbo bearing failure. I was talking to an expert on them and he recommended changing the injector copper seals every 4 services as a preventative measure to prevent the oil flow problem as they are cheap to replace. I agree that diesels can be a bad choice for some drivers, but if you're doing higher miles, the cost of servicing is quickly saved back on excellent MPG.
26th Oct 2016, 21:48
I hear what you are saying mate :) and I think people are understanding now that diesel is only good long term, and long drives - short runs they do not seem to like, that goes for any of them, not just Volvo.
Turbo's aside, the next common problem with modern diesels I hear most about is the Diesel Particle Filter (DPF) - it gets clogged up on short drives. As much as manufacturers like to say you can clear them with good acceleration and a long drive now and then, ultimately you are looking at a replacement which is never cheap if the DPF light stays on.
Myself I was burned by a bad experience with a diesel Mazda 6 years ago in between the Mercedes I kept as a second car. The Mazda had a rattling Dual Mass Flywheel, dodgy injector, and of course the DPF light was on. Petrol owners of the same car I knew did not have any issues. My car was barely 4 years old with low mileage at the time and I was looking at over £2500 worth of repairs! I was mad because back in the day the largest or worst bill I ever got with any car was a faulty oil pump or head gasket (at very high mileage) that maybe ran into a few hundred pounds, but nothing like nowadays problems where everything seems to be complex and expensive to fix at relatively lower mileage. Most that have had these problems like myself went back to driving the same car, just the petrol model (1.8 or 2.0 petrol Mondeos, Vectras or whatever).
In conclusion though, I'm still loving this Volvo and I'll probably not bother with modern diesels, but I do see the appeal if you drive them correctly. On the positive side I'm still very impressed with this S40, and as we discussed, the 1.6 petrol is probably a great choice, performance aside. I'm definitely getting an S60 or S80 next with leather, all the options and probably a big petrol engine if I can afford it :)
Incidentally today I saw a 23 year old Volvo 850 whisper past me on the motorway. Looked mint! Just another car I admired from a distance back in the day, but never got round to buying one at the time. Volvos can last and I'm definitely a fan of these cars as well.
10th Nov 2016, 17:53
Yes I completely see your point of view, I have had no DPF issues, but I do a lot of long runs in the week so it regenerates often :) Had an S60 2.0t, a beast of a car, but the high tax on big petrol engines in Ireland made it very unaffordable. It was frighteningly fast and still returned 37 MPG on a run! The only thing I found was the back legroom was crap for such a big car on the outside! Other than that it was probably my favourite car so far.
6th Mar 2017, 16:54
Another update by original author: The car is now 10 years old and well past 135K miles and no major problems; the only thing I've had to do is top up the power steering fluid as it was near minimum - need to keep an eye on it.
Still loving the car, but it's crying out for leather seats and a bigger faster engine. Therefore, I'm considering what I'm getting next - probably step right up to a Volvo S90. Big luxury saloon, will feel basically what a bigger version of this car is - a compact executive saloon.
8th Mar 2017, 04:12
Be sure to post a review of your future S90, please! They are gorgeous cars, though well beyond both my needs and means.
8th Mar 2017, 13:59
Had a look at the prices of the S90 and they are currently quite dear. The car is beyond my need and means as well :)
Still, looked at some S60 and S80 and they would definitely suffice for the mean time. Might also keep the S40 a little while longer - it's getting on a bit with the years and miles, but still no major problems, and it turns out that power steering fluid just needed topped up, no leaks. Probably hasn't been touched since it was new.
27th Aug 2018, 14:12
Update by original author: Still have the car and loving it, however at 11 years old and approaching 140,000 miles, the airbag light has come on (SRS repair urgent) message and I've been quoted a ridiculous £650 for repair. Independent specialist will do it a bit cheaper, but not by much.
If it was cheaper I would just get it fixed, but to be honest the car needs a few other things and isn't worth fixing - I will likely scrap it soon before its MOT test, as I know it won't be worth carrying out; advisories from last year and these new problems combined will take the repair cost to about £1000 or more - and the car is only worth about £1200 at best.
Overall I have been happy with it and will likely replace it with another Volvo, but the running/repair costs have been a little too high in my opinion. Given the fact that I had 1980s cars that I did not scrap until 15 years old or more with much higher mileage (usually 200,000 or more) I find this car has fallen short of the average - a bit disappointing given it's still a fairly modern car, but with the general costs of motoring rising every year, it seems 11 years is about the average life of a car, which by my past experience is a bit under par.