After only four months of ownership my V40 started leaking oil. I got estimates ranging from $950 to $1,700 basically, to replace all seals because nobody was really certain as to where the oil was coming from. It was not a good situation because the oil was dangerously close to the timing belt. It wasn't a bad leak: probably a quart every 7,500 miles. I checked the belt periodically (it was changed around 90,000) and it always looked dry. After three years, the belt slipped. Luckily, it didn't damage the cylinders (it ran for only about three seconds while in my garage-----luckily, I wasn't doing 70 mph out on the highway!). Since then I've encountered a myriad of problems. Most recently, the #1 cylinder started missing and need a new ignition coil. Then, it would just refuse to start (had to be put into neutral----------'never did this before!!). I drive a lot. And I work sometimes over 100 miles from home. This was a great car, but I've lost my confidence in it.
The V40 is not the station we have come to expect from Volvo. It's neither as masculin nor as bricky as a conventional Volvo (which made me think twice before buying it). Yet the design is slim, clean and as sexy as can be for a station wagon. Its seats embraces you, its steering is solid and secure, its engine sounds confident. Neither the sporthy whiiim, not the cheap sound of most commercial engines. On the road it easily glides through the traffic, easily reaches 200 km/h (even though the official max. speed is 195 for the 1.8).
As with most Volvo's its the safety aspect. Airbags, air curtains, whisplash protection are some of the aspects, but more than that it's the way it makes you drive the car that is the true secret behinds its safety. This is a car in which it is very difficult to forget focusing on the road.
Purchased used at a great value and haven't been disappointed, yet. Other than regular maintenance, the car has performed great. It's sporty, holds bikes and snowboards on top, enough room for moderate luggage load in the rear - if not a bit tight in the rear seats, though. Comfortable ride, but not the best on long trips. Austere interior is perfect - I prefer minimal and simple interior gadgets/knobs. Misses would include black bumper trim pieces fading and the replacement of the fascia cup holder which I completed myself. I've also replaced the front strut mounts 3 times due to potholes and rough roads. The turbo is quick and a great asset for both city and motorway take-overs.
Great and quick handling response, moderately compact city size, simple and classic exterior and interior design, averaging 25mpg city and 31mpg motorway.
Obviously the V40 has been replaced with the V50. The improvements I would suggest with the exterior mouldings and cup holder issues were subsequently taken care of in 2002+ models of the V40.
Bought with 58,000, now at 74,000. Nothing beyond the 60K service and oil changes. Paint is worst feature. Added mud flaps and euro-rails for a little character and sport exhaust, K&N filter, Bilstein gas shocks and a heavier sway bar for fun. Very responsive, very quick, very nice. As noted on these, the brakes will need replacing after about 20K, but it still stops well (they were new at purchase). Overall, this is a great vehicle. Yakima box onto the rails and I can fit all I need to camp with my wife and two small children. Once they get a little older, the back seat will be too small; it's tight back there!
Good handling, quick response; add the K&N filter if that's all you do. Oh, forgot the safety; all that good Volvo stuff is in there. Nice tunes too.
My Corolla was totaled while parked on the street (who could have foreseen that?!), so in replacing it I was thinking safety, which the V40 has in droves (save for stability control, which was reserved for $40K cars in 2001). The V40 has turned out to be an ideal compromise between all the things I want in a car. While it doesn't excel in any one category (except for safety and comfort, Volvo's trademarks), the V40 does everything pretty darn well! You don't have to trade efficiency for performance, you get both at above average levels. Same for size vs. cargo space, handling vs. ride; all the places where you expect to give up one thing to get another. Handles everything you throw at it.
Essential Volvo-ness in a smaller, less expensive package. Love: class-leading (at the time) 5-speed automatic, tight turning circle, great stereo, flat cargo floor (with back seat folded down), strong acceleration at any speed and with minimal turbo lag, comfy seats, automatic climate control.
The usuals: lame cup holder, paint degraded by bird poop, etc. While highway mileage is stellar, around town could be better, considering this is only a 1.9L car. Expensive to maintain, but you get what you pay for. If you want a cheap car, that's what you'll get. A used V40 would make a great buy.