1997 Volvo V40 1.8 petrol from Portugal
A great car to buy used, service locally and get rid of after some years
- Gearbox gasket around the driveshaft. €80 including labour.
- Two new used brake calipers in the back (my own fault). €100 including labour.
- Headlamps changed for inspection. €280 including labour.
- Ignition coils changed. €40 for a set from an unauthorized supplier.
- When I bought the car, I had all the fluids (oil, gearbox oil, servo oil, braking fluid, clutch servo oil and coolant), spark plugs, and belts changed. I changed all the fuses and all the bulbs around the car too, and had all the wheels, suspension and steering aligned and adjusted. All in total, €550 including labour.
When I bought the car, my mechanic could see that the belts were all factory original, despite a little label on top of the engine saying that the timing belt had been changed just two months before - it had not! So happy I insisted on having everything checked and changed...
I paid €1600 for the car at a used car dealer. He had taken it in exchange, given it a clean, and put it around the back. All in all it cost me €2200 to register and get on the street. Since then it has cost me around €600 including the yearly inspection to run. So I still have put less than €3000 into the car, after having done a little over 20.000 km.
I use it almost every day, and more than half of my driving is long trips on the motorway. For the money it's just super, and even if the mileage is nothing to write home about, it's still okay for the year and mark. Better than promised in the specs anyway.
The brakes and the steering are great, the handling is superb, and it does everything asked of it. The synchromesh in the gearbox is letting the car down, but if you just get the habit of putting the car in 1st gear before hitting reverse, and change the gearbox oil every second time you change the engine oil - it doesn't miss a beat.
The interior have seen better days, but is still in good nick. A professional cleaning would probably not hurt after so many years on the road. Everything electric works fine. As I live in Portugal, rust is not an issue, so it's absolutely rust free.
Suddenly the Volvo V40 is great value for money when bought used. I would never take it to a Volvo dealer, and pay premium prices for parts and labour. My local mechanic is fantastic, and the standard edition Volvo V40 doesn't have any special features not common in the average cars nowadays. That's why I bought it in the first place.
I buy used cars when they are around 15-17 years old, and keep them for 4-5 years. Prior to the Volvo I had a Peugeot 205, that I only kept for one year - what a heap. I've had a lot of different cars, but the Volvo is one of the best ones, and one of the cheapest to run too. The 1.8 engine is no rocket, and up a hill with full load it lacks a bit of power, but I'll survive.
My buddies like the look of the Volvo too, and in the parking lot it doesn't stick out too much from the newer vehicles. I would love to get the facelifted 2000 model though...
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 28th September, 2015