This car is a very reliable car that meets all my requirements for a car. Small yet comfortable. I value the understated luxury, it lacks the pretension a BMW 318 or Audi A4 1.8t might have associated with it.
I really wanted a used BMW or Mercedes primarily because they were great handling rear-wheel drive cars. Hence I was hesitant to get another front-drive Volvo, but this car was in the price range. However, this car has exceeded my expectations. The turbo makes for great power and great fun. Hit the gas hard and it peels out through first gear. You can easily get to any open spot in traffic even on the highway. Firm suspension makes for good handling but a bit of a bumpy ride. Like others said, it stops on a dime. The cons. Cheap interior, I hate the cloth seats and door panels are loose. The car idles a bit rough, the steering wheel always shakes at lights.
I'm a housewife, I love driving this car, it's my current car, the 2002 year made. I find this car comfortable and fun to drive. Handles well, very good cornering and very responsive brake. And also the turbo gives enough power to get into traffic when you need it. :) VOLVO S40 is a 5stars rating for the safest car.
This is a fun car to drive. The gas mileage is decent. While a 4 dr sedan, there really is no leg room to speak of for adult passengers sitting in the back seat. I have cloth seats, and have had them cleaned twice in 2 years; even a water stain leaves a mark. Next time it's leather for me. Overall, a nice car for 1 or 2 adults.
We bought a used '02 in early '06 with about 50k miles. It is now approaching 85k and we have had few problems. We had an oil leak for 1.5 years that the dealers could not fix, thought it was RMS but started cheap (RMS is $2k) fixed the Camshaft Seal ($300). That didn't fix it Finally an independent shop found it was the turbo return line, not uncommon and a $100 fix. Otherwise, we have had no real problems. The A/C occasionally blows hot air, something also not uncommon. In general, reliable for us, comfortable and fun to drive. However, shop just told us it was very rare to see this car with 7 years and 80k plus miles without a roulette of engine lights. So maybe we got a good one...