It handles great, good quality, gas mileage superb--36mpg on a 1000 mile hilly trip through VA,WV,and OH with the cruise set at 70 and 3 adults. I love the turbo and the fact that the cruise never kicks out on long steep grades and provides good acceleration when needed. I don't understand the other reviewer's problems with brakes. Mine are still the original. I get 39 mpg driving a back and forth over an 80mi (160) stretch over the Blue Ridge Mts. I love the computer mpg meter giving instantaneous and avg mpg. The other features (heated seats, pockets in front of seat base) are nice. Overall a great little car. It could use a little more floor room for rear occupants.
My S40 began life as a RENTAL CAR, and 30k miles later, I purchased it. Why this car? Initially because of its value, reputation, style, & service competency at the dealership. I haven't had a single problem with my car. I commute 50 comfortable miles r/t daily, and get 30+mpg. I've never struggled to merge into fast moving traffic. I keep it clean, change the oil myself, and monitor fluid levels and tire pressure/wear. Volvo has higher value over time, and is safer than most other cars on the road. When I want 'performance' acceleration/handling/braking, I'll put on my helmet and leathers, and head for a track day on my superbike. My car is more than competent at what I expect from a car.
What a super little car, I've owned other Volvos, but this is amazing built. Outstanding throttle response for such a prize machine. Imagine driving from Torrance, Ca to San Diego, Ca on ten dollars worth of gas in 2008! Wow! I love this car, my Cayanne S was fast, but nothing compared to this little speed demon. Thanks a lot Sweden.
I purchased my 2003 S40 in 07 with only 4600 miles on it. Ultimately a new car! I couldn't be happier with it. It's quick to get out the way & handles nicely, especially in the Florida rains. I do wish the back seat had more room for passengers, but it's a great excuse to get out of driving! I feel safe driving, especially at night. I've had no major issues, replaced a headlight & put on a new set of Michelins. I'll definitely replace it with another Volvo.
When I was shopping for a car back in 02, I chose the Volvo S40 after looking at the Acura RSX, Saab 93, and Audi A4. Ultimately, I picked the Volvo because it seemed luxurious, the dealer promised that this was a 'performance' car, and I had the Ford Aplan discount, which made it the cheapest of the bunch. Oops. What a disaster of a car. To be fair, I think that Volvo just has no idea how to make a small car. The 'performance' is a joke. The handling is ponderous and, at highway speeds, can be a little scary. When passing at high speeds, the car wobbles -- literally. The braking is AWFUL. The nose dips and the car takes too long to stop. Would not recommend this car.