1997 Volvo V40 TD Estate 1.9 TD from UK and Ireland


Great to drive, but a nightmare to run


Here is my catalogue of woe:

Handbrake seems to seize if it is sitting still for too long.

The bonnet catch and cable broke.

The clutch master cylinder had a leak, this cost me £130 alone (with labour).

It's not that funny when you see how small the cylinder is. I tried two garages, as the first one had trouble working out what was wrong.

More recently the rear caliper started leaking brake fluid (£111 with labour).

The plastic thermostat housing also broke (£94 with labour), causing oil and water to mix (although apparently less serious than a head gasket failure).

Some of my brake pipes needed replacing.

It was difficult to engage fifth gear when I bought it - I would end up in third instead. More recently I have been having problems with first and second. Reverse gear always crunches. Hmm I think the gearbox is dying...

On the positive side, the engine is running very well considering the age, although 5000 mile oil and oil filter change is definitely recommended!

There is no significant rust that I have noticed.

General Comments:

The TD model uses the Renault dCi engine (found in the new diesel Clios, for example) which is a common-rail design and therefore quite noisy despite Volvo's best efforts with a blanket under the bonnet.

You can have some real fun with the turbo once you have got used to its behavour. It is quite reluctant to pull up until around 1800rpm, but from 2200rpm onwards you are faced with a "wall of torque" which might catch you by surprise! However it is not a high-revving engine and the limiter cuts in around 4000rpm.

The gearbox has long ratios, and around town this conspires against you with the reluctance at low revs, so you will find little reason to use 4th or 5th gear below 35mph. But on the motorway you can cruise at 70mph with only 2500rpm, and it is pleasantly effortless compared to a Vauxhall Corsa I drove recently. Indeed, restraint is required as the V40 will cruise at 95mph without fuss, and stays cool thanks to its efficient intercooler. You will certainly have some fun going uphill: just a little extra pressure on the gas and you can "waft" past everyone as Jaguar drivers love to do.

The driver's seat can be tilted at the base and also has adjustable lumbar support. Together with the quite heavy accelerator pedal, this makes it excellent for long journeys - I covered 420 miles in one day without any discomfort.

Fuel economy of 42mpg is very good compared to an equivalently powerful petrol engine, although it can't match some more modern diesels. I get a typical range of 530 miles from the 65 litre tank.

Load capacity is not that big; it is a narrow car and has a low roof, and the wheelarches intrude into the boot space.

I will miss this car, but it has been a very expensive 7 months...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd April, 2004

24th May 2006, 08:20

The 1997 Volvo V40 1.9TD is *not* a common rail (dCi) nor has it direct injection (dTi). It is a Renault F8QT unit with Lucas rotation pump (90 bhp), also found in the Renault 19 and early Megane. Quite reliable, but also quite noisy. Direct injected versions of the same unit in the V40 were not seen until 1999.

16th Aug 2006, 03:51

The fifth gear engage problem is caused by wear on the gear change interlink bushes, common fault, it seems, most Volvo dealers keep large quantities in stock! cost around £20.

27th Jan 2008, 14:42

Can anyone help? I need a cylinder head for a V40 1.9dti are there any Renaults such as Laguna or Clio's which use this engine? is it common in any other make? my engine code in DA4ACO12811.

My e-mail is mike_l3@hotmail.com (under score the L.

8th Aug 2008, 06:06

Hi I wanted to change my diesel 1.9 phase 2 renault 19 engine, and put a volvo engine in. Can anyone help me and tell what model engine can fit.


1997 Volvo V40 T4 CD 1.9 turbo from UK and Ireland


Underated BMW eater


ECU unit played up causing car to stall when hot. Since replaced, it appears that models with certain chassis numbers have this problem.

Fog lights seem to get a lot of condensation.

The pipe for the windscreen washers split, not a big problem but really shouldn't have happened on a car this new.

General Comments:

Running fantastically now. Build quality not brilliant and a few rattles here and there. On the whole I love it and it handles much better than the Golf I had before.

Dealers absoultely hopeless until I complained to Volvo directly via the customer service section on their web site.

167bhp per ton - bonkers car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd August, 2000

1997 Volvo V40 Basic 1.8 petrol injection from UK and Ireland


Sunroof failed to open.

Squeak from driver door interior.

Glove box latch broken.

General Comments:

Excellent car let down by poor service centres. Minor faults have turned into headaches due to service centre lack of care.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th March, 1999

1997 Volvo V40 SE 2.0 16v petrol from UK and Ireland



General Comments:

Engine is powerful, although slightly unrefined. The car handles well although the penalty for this seems to be a firm, bumpy ride on most road surfaces. Seats are very comfortable and the interior is generally well designed; exterior styling very nice. Some build quality is perhaps not up to the standard of other Volvos.

Not as much load space as some other estates in the class but as a lifestyle workhorse it's excellent.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th October, 1997

24th Jul 2004, 00:57

A lifestyle workhorse? what does that mean except I'm a loser.