2001 Volvo S40 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Strong complement of safety features, affordable base price, upscale interior.
  • No manual transmission offered, lacks sporting intentions, pricing can quickly escalate with optional equipment installed.
List Price Estimate
$784 - $1,861

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Small but loaded with safety equipment, the S40 is, unfortunately, too expensive to compete with the VW Jetta and too small to take on the Acura TL.

Vehicle overview

Now in their second year, the S40 Sedan and V40 Wagon are Volvo's smallest and most affordable vehicles. Designed to appeal to younger buyers, the S40 and V40 offer impressive levels of safety equipment and an upscale image.

For 2001, Volvo has given the S40 and V40 standard Inflatable Curtain (IC) head-protection airbags, a system found on other, more expensive Volvo models. The curtains, one on each side, are woven in one piece and hidden inside the roof lining. When deployed, they cover the upper part of the interior, from the A-pillar to the rear side C-pillar, thereby protecting the occupants in the front and rear seats.

Additional crash protection comes from whiplash-reducing front seats, dual-stage front airbags, side airbags for front passengers and seatbelt pre-tensioners. Another safety addition for 2001 is ISO-FIX, a new child seat-safety system. The ISO-FIX system allows owners to safely and conveniently attach and detach a child or infant seat that is a perfect fit for the car.

All S40/V40s are equipped with a turbocharged, 160-horsepower, 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine. Volvo has made minor improvements to the engine for 2001, resulting in increased torque, better fuel mileage and lower emissions. The only transmission available is a new five-speed automatic transmission.

Inside, the S40 and V40 offer a remarkable combination of luxury and value. Comfortable and supportive front seats have that Swedish feel we've come to expect from Volvo's high-end cars, and the interior materials are of high quality for a sub-$40,000 vehicle. The 2001's center stack is updated to be more comfortable and functional. The stack is now more anatomically and ergonomically designed, bearing a much stronger resemblance to the designs found in the V70 and S80. The climate control unit is easier to use and the radio controls are more stylish. Other changes we're glad to see is the addition of a storage area on the center console and window switches relocated to the driver's door panel.

On the road, Volvo has tuned the S40 and V40 to being fairly taut, though comfort ultimately takes precedence over performance. If you are looking for performance, Audi's A4 or BMW's 3 Series are better choices. Still, the MacPherson struts up front, the rear multilink rear suspension and the rack-and-pinion steering system bring a distinctly Teutonic flavor to these Swedish sedans and wagons.

If you are in the market for an upscale compact sedan or wagon, Volvo's S40 or V40 should be considered, especially if safety is one of your high priorities. The main thing to watch out for is choosing optional equipment. A full load of options can bloom the price of these cars considerably.

2001 Highlights

Only a year after debuting them on U.S. shores, Volvo has updated the S40 and V40 for 2001. Both the sedan and wagon gain additional crash protection in the form of standard head-protection airbags, dual-stage front airbags and a new child seat-safety system. Under the hood, engine improvements have been made to increase power and lower emissions. There's also a new five-speed automatic transmission that takes the place of the previous four-speed. Other changes are found in the cabin, with new material colors, a redesigned center stack for better functionality, more durable front-seat materials and improved switchgear. Rounding out the S40 and V40's 2001 changes are restyled headlights, bumpers and fenders.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2001 Volvo S40.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Not too bad so far.
I have had a couple issues with the car. I replaced the brakes and rotors when i bought it, but that was my choice. The check engine light is almost always on, but I just ignore it as the car still runs fine and gets great fuel economy without it. I blew a radiator hose a while ago, but that isn't unexpected on a car that is 12. And i blew a brake hose, which also isn't uncommon on a car that is that age, as i have friends with fords, and toyotas, and hondas who have also experienced similar issues. My recommendation is to use high grade fuel when you can, as the car starts really hard and runs rough on regular fuel, and probably contributes to many of the problems others have listed.
Miss it a lot
I bought a 01 s40 with 30k miles on it and NEVER gave me an ounce of trouble. I took very good care of it. The dealers always treated me great when I went in to do major maintenance, such as replace turbo o-rings and timing belt. The dealer prices where not bad at all. It's sad to see so many people had such bad luck with theirs. Unfortunately a year ago my wife fell asleep and flipped it over a couple of times but it's a volvo and her and the kids walked away with only seat belt burns. It had 135k miles on it and ran like it was new. I highly recommend this car to anyone. And not all but most of what I'm reading in other reviews that are "complaints" are wear and tear maintenance items.
Love my S40
I bought the car two years ago and it has been a dream. Incredible power and fuel economy. Body is in amazing condition with no rust and it's so much fun to drive.
Great car its cheap but full of luxury and quality
Travis R,02/16/2016
4dr Sedan (1.9L 4cyl Turbo 5A)
This car is great. Never had any issues with it other than general maintenance which is understandable at 82k miles. The car is cheap, yet it is a luxury car and it defiantly shows it. The seats are very comfortable, high quality leather throughout the whole car, even the new cars leather seats cheap out once you get to the back seat. Quality materials throughout, the cupholders are a joke but something pretty minor for a overall good car. It is safe with 8 air bags, comfy, and fun to drive. The motor has plenty of power, the acceleration is awesome, and the turbo is plus as well. Overall if the car is taken care of it will take care of you. I wouldn't doubt reaching 200k in this car in the future.

Features & Specs

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More about the 2001 Volvo S40

Used 2001 Volvo S40 Overview

The Used 2001 Volvo S40 is offered in the following submodels: S40 Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (1.9L 4cyl Turbo 5A), and SE 4dr Sedan (1.9L 4cyl Turbo 5A).

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Find a used Volvo S40 for sale - 1 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $25,463.

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Should I lease or buy a 2001 Volvo S40?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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