Used Vehicle Review: Volvo S40/V40, 2000 2004 volvo used car reviews
Volvo V40. Click image to enlarge

Related articles on Autos

Test Drives

2001 Volvo S40/V40, by Grant Yoxon
2001 Volvo S40, by Greg Wilson

Manufacturer’s web site

Volvo Cars Canada

By Chris Chase; photos courtesy Volvo Canada

Discuss this story in the forum at CarTalkCanada

Find this vehicle in Autos’s Classified Ads

Photo Gallery:
Volvo S40/V40, 2000-2004

The S40 sedan and V40 wagon were Volvo’s first attempt at selling a compact, front-wheel drive model in North America. Up to the 40-series’ debut in 2000, Volvo had been known for the iconic rear-drive 200- and 700-series and newer front-drive 850; this first-generation 40-series – the second-gen cars came to be known as the S40 (sedan) and V50 (wagon) – was one of the last Volvo models developed before the Swedish company was acquired by Ford.

The S/V40 was built in the Netherlands as part of a joint venture with Mitsubishi; that company’s version of the car was called the Carisma. The S40 was launched here in 2000, with the V40 arriving a year later.

The S/V40 was offered with a number of engine options in Europe, but in North America, the sole engine choice was a 1.9-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder, which was apparently derived from the company’s then-current five-cylinder engine line. The sole transmission was a five-speed automatic.

Used Vehicle Review: Volvo S40/V40, 2000 2004 volvo used car reviews
Volvo S40. Click image to enlarge

The 2001 S/V40 that “debuted” here may have been new to North Americans, but it had already been on sale in Europe since 1995, and had received a mid-cycle update in 2000 (these cars are referred to as “Series II” models).

The lack of a more powerful engine option and small size made this car a bit of an odd duck in the North American market: too expensive for the compact segment, and not powerful or sporting enough to fit into the entry-level luxury segment to which it aspired.

At the time, its closest competitor in terms of size, power and price was the Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T and VR6 models, though those cars appealed to a younger demographic than the S/V40.

This little Volvo at least promised decent fuel economy, with EnerGuide ratings of 10.5 L/100 km (city) and 6.8 L/100 km (highway) in 2001, and 10.9/7.3 (city/highway) by 2004.

Used Vehicle Review: Volvo S40/V40, 2000 2004 volvo used car reviews
Volvo V40. Click image to enlarge

The S/V40, sadly, don’t seem to have held up very well reliability-wise. Depending on model year, this first generation of small Volvo has managed no better than an “average” used car rating from Consumer Reports.

A clunking noise in the front suspension is apparently a common issue, but is usually linked to worn strut or sway bar mounts, both of which are relatively inexpensive, and not difficult to fix for the mechanically-inclined owner.

If your S/V40 takes a long time to start, members posting at S40concepts.net suggest the problem is most likely a bad fuel pressure regulator (see here also). This is a very common issue with these cars.

The climate control system is prone to a couple of different faults. If the fan stops working or only works at one speed, check the blower motor resistor module. This is a pretty simple repair if you know a thing or two about cars.

If the climate control starts acting like it’s possessed, read here. This fix is DIY-friendly, but is a little more involved.

Used Vehicle Review: Volvo S40/V40, 2000 2004 volvo used car reviews
Volvo S40. Click image to enlarge

On the V40 (wagon models), if the rear wiper doesn’t clean the entire area it should be cleaning, check this thread for a quick, simple and – best of all – free, fix.

In crash tests, the S40 earned a “good” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in that organization’s frontal offset test. Note that the IIHS only has data for 2002 through early 2004 models (the second-gen car was launched as a 2004.5 model), so the rating comes with the caveat that Volvo modified the car’s structure after the 2001 model year to “improve occupant protection in frontal crashes.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) did not crash test the S/V40, and neither organization conducted side impact tests.

Used Vehicle Review: Volvo S40/V40, 2000 2004 volvo used car reviews
Volvo V40. Click image to enlarge

Safety features included standard side/torso airbags, side head curtain airbags, as well as Volvo’s proprietary Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS) for rear seat passengers.

According to Canadian Red Book, used S/V40 values range from $6,975 for a 2000 S40, to $12,650 for a 2004 V40. That’s not bad value, but it wouldn’t be hard to find something equally comfortable, and more reliable, for the same kind of money.

At this point, finding a Series I car with factory warranty left will be difficult, so if you must have one of these cars, look for one that comes with a detailed service record.

Online resources

For information specific to the first generation (Series I) S/V40, S40concepts.net is a very helpful resource. The best place to go for help is the Troubleshooting forum, and there’s a handy How-To section, too. Other Volvo sites might prove helpful, too: Brickboard.com; Volvo-Forums.com; VolvoForums.org.uk; MatthewsVolvoSite.com and VolvoForum.com.

Related stories on Autos
Test Drives

2001 Volvo S40/V40, by Grant Yoxon
2001 Volvo S40, by Greg Wilson

Manufacturer’s Website
  • Volvo Cars Canada

    Recalls

    Transport Canada Recall Number: 2006066; Units affected: 14,000 (includes other models)

    2001-2005: Certain vehicles equipped with integrated child booster cushions were incorrectly labeled during vehicle assembly. The label indicates that the booster cushion can be used for children weighing between 15 and 36 kg (33 and 80 lb). CMVSS 213 states that the minimum weight for use must be 18 kg (40 lb). Should an underweight child be placed in the booster cushion and the vehicle is involved in a crash, the child may have a greater risk of injury. Correction: Volvo Canada will send a letter to owners explaining this problem and will supply updated weight limit decal to be applied to each side window.

    Transport Canada Recall Number: 2001171; Units affected: 3,723

    2001: Certain Sedan and wagon vehicles. A diode in the electronic climate control system may have a reduced service life. If the diode fails, the heater fan stops operating and the defroster function is affected. Correction: Dealers will install an adapter with a diode fitted to the heater fan motor.

    Transport Canada Recall Number: 2003261; Units affected: 2,285

    2003-2004: On certain vehicles, improper welding of the end cover that secures the service nipple to the fuel rail may eventually cause a fuel leak. A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source could create the risk of a vehicle fire and possible injury or death. Correction: Dealer will install a V-clamp securing device to the fuel rail.

    Transport Canada Recall Number: 2003226; Units affected: 10,712

    2003-2004: On certain vehicles, improper welding of the end cover that secures the service nipple to the fuel rail may eventually cause a fuel leak. A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source could create the risk of a vehicle fire and possible injury or death. Correction: Dealer will install a V-clamp securing device to the fuel rail.

    Crash test results
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

    Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.

    For information on recalls, see Transport Canada’s web-site, www.tc.gc.ca, or the U.S. National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA)web-site, www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

    For information on vehicle service bulletins issued by the manufacturer, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

    For information on consumer complaints about specific models, see www.lemonaidcars.com.

  • Connect with Autos.ca