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Volvo S40



  • rollierollie Posts: 337
    Regarding post #208:

    phyloptrx, assuming your brake fluid level is correct and the fluid looks good I can't think of any obvious causes except for possibly the pump. The single rear-fog light is not an idiosyncrasy. All current Volvos (as well as a few other European marques) with this system have a single light. If you had two, it wouldn't stand out as much to an observer behind your car because it would be passed off as bright tail lights.

  • perezrgperezrg Posts: 9

    Your brake problem almost sounds like a vacuum leak. Most brake booster run off of vacuum and if this is bleeding off it would explain the mushy feel and poor performance. However, I would expect that the vacuum would be restored pretty quickly once the engine was started.

    I'd check out one of the other cars that's been sitting on the lot to see if it does the same thing. I'd be surprised if it did. This doesn't sound normal to me.

    Few S40s:

    When you realize that worldwide Volvo only sells about 200,000 cars per year (and that includes all of their models), you can begin to appreciate why you won't see very many of them. Compare that to the Accord/Camry/Taurus which sell around 500,000 each.

    The S40 and V40 are selling very well here in the states, but it'll take a long time before they even approach being common (and I'd argue that they never will be common, they're Volvos after all).
  • Appreciate the input. It's similar to what someone else suggested to me here. Hope I'm on the right track--and that it can be readily fixed!
  • It turns out that the car doesn't have to sit for hours--I'm noticing it even after shorter periods. (I don't do a whole lot of running around in the car--it's mostly to and from work.)

    BTW, has anyone else heard of this occurring in S40s? I hope it's not a real, recurring theme.
  • wdrwdr Posts: 11
    I've had my S40 for about two months now (Black Metallic, off-black interior, all packages except for sport package). Comments so far:

    1. Would like more lateral support in seats, but really love the amount of thigh support. Would like to combine the lateral support of the seats in the '95 Contour SE I previously owned wiht the S40's thigh support. Excellent quality leather though!

    2. I too have had the problem with radio reception. It's good to know that I'm not the only one. It sounds like a waste of time to have the radio replaced at this point, but if someone finds out about a fix I'd like to know.

    3. The power is definitely more than adequate. It takes a few minutes of driving on a cold morning to get that turbo spinning. But once it's going, watch out!

    4. Only repair issue has been with clicking noise coming from steering column at all speeds when wheel turned slightly off center to the left. Dealer is now replacing the steering column. It has taken me a while to get used to the sensitivity of the steering after my last vehicle being an SUV.

    5. Being an automotive climate control engineer I was fascinated by the knob in the center of the dash to allow fresh air in from the cowl. I also like the fact that the automatic climate control uses rotary knobs instead of push buttons.

    6. Generally, I'm impressed with the overall fit and finish of the interior. The tactile feel is pretty consistent from control to control. Would prefer to have cruise control buttons on steering wheel.

    Overall I love the car and look forward to reading more about the experiences of others.
  • replies:

    2. The radio might be fixed by consulting with your dealer for a better radio (perhaps the one installed in an S80 (if they are different - I don't know for sure). Car manufacturers are notorious for using sub-par stereos, even on their "premium" systems to save costs. Most consumers don't care. After-market equipment will always give you better sound (if you can afford the money) and let you tailor the system to meet your needs.

    I am considering a Saab 9-3 (not the best stereo in the world), a BMW 323 (even with the "premium stereo" I have read many complaints on other BMW threads in the Town Hall). Many car audio places worth their salt can install a basic system that replaces your OEM system without too much fuss.

    3. I was impressed with the scoot of the S40 as well. I will note the cold weather lack of power.

    4. Aren't you glad to be rid of the SUV? I am as anti-SUV as one can get...big, inefficient, unsafe (for anyone not in the SUV), and prone to rollovers. Now that gas is getting so expensive, I hope we may see fewer of these Suburban Disasters on the road...I can dream, can't I?

    5. My old Saab had a fresh air pass-through on the center column as was great, and I miss it in my Honda. Plenty of days when the weather is just so, the sun just so, and the temperature in the car is just so that having some fresh air blowing through the car without turning on the climate control system and running the fans was perfect. I even used it in the winter once in a while to just, um, freshen the air flow.

    I don't have any comments for your other two points.


    OK people, you know who you are, the Volvo Zealots. Rumor mill spits out that Volvo may be sending the S40 with a manual tranny for '01. Is it true? Anyone go to an AutoShow and ask them? I don't like spending extra money for a transmission that zaps fuel economy and fun from most cars. Just think how this willing engine might run with a 5-speed. They have them in Europe, so they just needed to have them cleared through the channels for US sale. I was hoping against hope that they might do it for a mid-year model adjustment, but it doesn't look like it.

    With the VW Jetta now offering the A4's 1.8L Turbo engine in a nice looking sedan with a solid manual shifter and all the similar options available on an makes the VW look that much more enticing for a manual shifting guy like myself.

    Come on Volvo...loosen the purse strings, and send us a 5-speed for $1200 less than the auto, you will blow the VW right out of the running if you do for many consumers.

    Another complaint I have read is about the suspension, which I have taken with a grain of salt. But I am wondering if any current owners have had any problems with hard driving at speeds in excess of 40 mph? I really liked the S40, and I have always liked Volvos, but I am leaning toward a Saab or BMW right now because of the transmission, suspensions, and the engines. Volvo has put a good product out, but I am not yet convinced that it is a "GREAT" product. I know the BMW is great (but costly), and the Saab is very close to great (and also a little more than the Volvo). When I sign my name for this new car, I want three years of great driving, and a car that will be tempting me to buy out the lease and keep it all to myself. My Honda is doing its best, but it just doesn't have the souls my old VW Rabbit and Saab 900 had. Each car is very close in price when I set them up with similar options, so the choices come down to preference and monthly payments...and if it stays that way...Saab is unbeatable with the deals they have been putting out on the 9-3.

    Eager to read your comments...

    M the H
  • fuselierfuselier Posts: 3
    I'm about 75% sure that I'm buying an S40 in 3 months when my current lease is up. The other 25% of me says 323i. I'll tell you why.

    Test drove the Volvo. Completely familiar to me, after my wife's 3 other Volvos. Solid, very comfortable, surprisingly good acceleration, nice looking. And, compared to the 323i, it's an incredibly good value. A fully-loaded S40 costs about the same as a 323i with nothing but an automatic transmission and CD player.

    But after driving the Volvo, my first thought was (literally, at the risk of sounding like a flake), that the car has absolutely no soul. Dependable, comfortable, practical, and logical, but no thrill built into it whatsoever.

    Now, mind you, I'm still probably going to get it. I need a very comfortable daily driver for 2 or 3 hours of New York traffic a day. Small, decent mileage, and just prestigious enough to keep me from feeling like a cheapskate. And, with two little kids, I absolutely love those pop-up booster seats you can get. The vast majority of my driving time provides no opportunity for thrills.

    But that Bimmer is sure a hell of a lot more fun to drive. And I can get into one for only, oh, maybe $30 or $40 more a month on a lease. It won't have real leather or a fake wood dash, and it won't have those little wipers on the headlights, but those tight cloverleaf onramps a the George Washington Bridge....woo-hoo! And it's gorgeous.

    I should just quit stressing out and get a honda.
  • perezrgperezrg Posts: 9
    harlequin71 and fuselier,

    From what I've been reading around here, there's supposed to be a new, redesigned S40 out this summer or fall at the latest. Maybe you'll want to wait and see?
  • eyedahoeyedaho Posts: 2
    Does anyone know if Volvo makes a bike rack for the S40? Someone told me there is one that attaches to the roof but my dealer was unsure. I do not want to use the type that mounts with straps to the trunk. Thanks for your help!
  • wdrwdr Posts: 11
    A couple comments on the above:
    1. When I said the cold weather performance was slow I meant just the first few minutes after start up. After a couple minutes at moderate speeds it's fine.

    2. It's difficult for me to comment on the ride or handling too much since the roads hear in SE Michigan are such [non-permissible content removed]. I do think in general that Volvos are undertired. Some say the chassis can't handle more aggressive tires.

    3. I believe the comment about a new S40 coming this year is completely inaccurate. The latest word in Automotive News this week is that the next S40 will likely come in 2003 on a platform shared with the Focus and Mazda. Not as scary as it sounds though since I think it's basically going to be the same small car platform that Volvo designed themselves before being bought out.

    4. I haven't heard any definite word about a manual for 2001. I would think Volvo would try to keep this somewhat secret in order to prevent potential buyers from waiting for next year.

    5. I believe there is at least load bars available to use with the S40. The dealer should be able to show you Volvo's large catalog full of accessories.

    6. I basically dumped my SUV by virtue of totalling it in an accident. Lost control on the freeway, went across the median, and hit traffic that was stopped on the other side. Liked the fact that I had a lot of steel protecting me, but didn't like the feeling of being afraid to brake hard for fear of rolling while going across the median.
  • fuselierfuselier Posts: 3
    My wife and I are on our third Volvo. I've never had anything but courtesy and great customer service from any of the three Volvo dealerships I've used.

    Unfortunately, there have been a number of times when I needed to resort to using those service departments. :?

    Well, to be fair, my wife's current car is a V70, and that model is pretty well known at this point for unreliability. Mostly electrical problems. From what I understand, it's a phenomenon that's limited to the V70. That would be consistent with my experience. My other two Volvos had a few problems here or there, but no more than any other car I've owned.

    The one thing about the service I've received at the dealerships is that, although they have exactly the right attitude, the actual quality of their repairs is sometimes off. I get the feeling that a few of their mechanics are ninnies. Like the first electrical problem we had with the V70 was that the ignition switch failed. Not the starter, I mean the actual switch you stick the key into. Dealership replaced it right away, but they installed it wrong, and in order to start the car you had to twist the key so hard that we broke the replacement switch! (Sigh.) They replaced that one too, in no time.

    Stuff like that. I love Volvos, their dealerships (3 for 3 at this point) are wonderful, but I'd stay away from the V70. I hear the S40 has great reliability in Europe, so you shouldn't have a problem.

    Hey, as a matter of fact, I'm getting ready to buy, and the two contenders left on my list are the S40 and the 3-Series. What are your reactions to the differences, being in a 3-Series now and having (presumably) test-driven an S40 and liked it?
  • If you are placing an auto on the 323, it might be a fair fight between the Volvo and BMW...well, maybe not fair...but comparable. The five speed 323 is a very fun car. It may not be as fun in heavy stop and go traffic every day...but on an open road, forget about it.

    The BMW had superior feel in the steering, braking and acceleration (I drove the 5sp only). I don't care for the dash layout, it seemed cheap and outdated on a car so beautifully built. The car I drove had the Harmon Kardon upgraded stereo and it played my test CD very nicely, nice bass, good treble and overall sound. The seat was firm and comfortable. I wasn't crazy about the seat position however (always difficult to get the seating position dialed in on a test drive) and thought the shifter was a bit high for a comfortable reach.

    The Volvo felt like a solid car, and maybe even a bit too solid (read heavy). The seats were difficult to adjust into a comfortable seating position (once again) but once that was accomplished, I did enjoy the drive. The auto is a decent tranny, after the first 2 miles of city driving, I had the tranny dialed in to respond with power at will. It is a bit tricky to feel when you should apply the power or let off the gas. The stereo seemed fine, not amazing, but not as bad as my little Honda Civic standard radio was (my litmus test needs to improve, I know). The fit and finish was fine and I liked the dash better in the Volvo. The leather seats were comfortable and firm.

    Overall, I liked the Volvo, but have read a few negative reviews here at the Town Hall. I liked the BMW more, but it takes a few thousand more to get the keys to the BMW. In a lease, it may add up to only a $50-70 difference in monthly payments, but you would still have to pony up more money at the end to buy it.

    I am going this weekend to drive the 323 again, and a 318ti from last year's line-up. I also intend to drive past Volvo and revisit the S40 for the third time. Monday I am scheduled to drive the Saab and may drive a Subaru Legacy one more time (they are on the same lot). My biggest hesitancy on the Saab is reliability. My old 900S was a real pain, with large repair bills that crushed my love for the car. I really did love that car too. The dash, the seats, the stereo (my after-market stereo), the engine, the extremely useful hatchback. I could load my bike inside the car and not think about it. I want to believe in Saab...but I am just not sure. Volvo might be the better choice for reliability and resale.

    Good luck with whatever you buy.
  • masdmasd Posts: 1
    Having driven the 328 for three years now, the nicest thing I can say about the car is that it is FAST! The comfort is so-so. The leather seats are hard, and you will really notice that on long trips. A huge factor besides the cost difference between the volvo and BMW is insurance cost. I have a perfect driving record, no accidents... and to insure that beast was $1800/year. The volvo should run about $1200/year. It was a very expensive little car between the lease payments, insurance, middle octane gas... Would I lease it again knowing what I know now? NO! It was a fun car to drive, but way over-rated.
  • dparesdpares Posts: 29
    I just bought a S70 SE.. so far so good.. comfortable..smooth..real nice car.. I originally looked at a S40.. (coming off a 318i lease - love the car, loaded with everything.. new ones are way too expensive).. anyway.. my impressions of the S40 was that the base model looked like a Corolla ..nice but no excitment at all.. I drove it and it in no way came even close to my BMW... was just a regular car with nice pickup and way too much torque steer ..havent been in a FWD car for some time I was real surprised by this...real low end feel.. I drove the S80.. nice car but too ponderous.. finally setteled on the S70 .. nice feel and real comfortable .. the down side to the BMW in my mind is price and rock hard seats.. for a car the same price as my S70 the monthly payments were about $90/ month more.. for my money the Volvo S70 was a better deal.. the S40 isn't even in the same class as the BMW... just giving my opinion after living ith the BMw and test driving the S40. As someone here said in a post.. , the S40 has no excitment to it!
  • perezrgperezrg Posts: 9
    I recently read an article, don't recall precisely which rag, that said the 2001 S40 would be an upgrade of the current model. Changes to the sheetmetal, interior improvements and the like. It also stated that a complete, from-the-ground-up redesign would be in 2003.

    So, I think there will be some changes. It's just that now that the S40's been brought into the States, we'll get the freshened design at the same time as Europe does.
  • Seriously thinking about buying an S40. Still have a hard time justifying $27000+ for an automobile still new to this country, relatively small and,I guess, a cross between a "real" Volvo and a Mitsubishi. I love the lines, the handling, suspension and response from the 1.9 Turbo and the interior appointments. I've read some negative comments about overall size, premium fuel usage, paint finish and overall fit. However, from someone who has compared this model with others in its class, what don't you like about it and why would you choose another similarly-priced/sized, equal in quality automobile. I really want it but am still torn (unable to make a decision) and feel that I made the right one without feeling that I let my emotions make the choice rather than what the best choice really is. I have never owned a Volvo before and am a little "gun-shy"
  • rdshaf94rdshaf94 Posts: 8
    As an S40 owner, I'll toss in my $.02.

    Regarding price, I recommend checking out My car, which has Sunroof & Touring pkgs, Metallic paint & CD prewiring, is listed under $26k at this time.

    Regarding "negatives", I'm 6'1", 265 and while I would not call the interior spacious, I do find the car extremely comfortable. Also, my wife, who is 5'1", does not find it too big for her. I did have the "paint blemish" problem with the driver's door, but the dealer repainted it so looks great now. Yes, you will have to shell out for premium which does hurt right now. But the amount of enjoyment I get driving it makes it worthwhile. The more I drive this car, the more I like it.

  • dparesdpares Posts: 29
    I never owned a Volvo before either but can tell you in the week I've had my S70, I like it more each day.. A very different car from the BMW I had but better in many different ways.. I'd highly recommend a Volvo.. As for the S40, it depends on what you want... but for 27,000 the alternative's are Audi A4.. a great car but needs a back seat, cant touch a 323i for that .. only other possible car is an Infinity G20.. I'd take the Volvo or Audi..depends on your space requirements
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I read a report in Consumer Reports on an S40 a month or two ago. The report said the car averaged something like 23 mpg and DID NOT require premium fuel. Are you all putting premium in just because you think it needs it, or because the owner's manual or something else says so? Just checking. Also heard that putting gas in any car with an octane rating too high will cause excess carbon to build up in it. Plus, it is a waste of money to buy mid-grade or premium when the car requires premium. Check into it and you may be able to save yourselves some money.
  • rdshaf94rdshaf94 Posts: 8
    Per the S40 Owners Manual it's designed for optimum performance on unleaded premium gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or above.

    Per postings in various forums, the car will work with lower octane (others have tried it), but will have reduced performance.

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