2003 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
$972 - $2,256

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Though loaded with safety equipment, the S40 is hampered by its small size and aging architecture.

2003 Highlights

Output from the 1.9-liter turbocharged mill is bumped up by 10 to 170 horsepower. A CD player makes its way onto the standard features list, and the front fascia gets a slight freshening thanks to a black egg-crate grille and body-colored side molding and bumpers. Inside you'll find a new three-spoke steering wheel and a four-dial instrument cluster. The sport package adds front and rear spoilers, blackout headlamp surrounds and 16-inch wheels, and the premium package now includes a leather-wrapped hand brake handle and gearshift lever.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2003 Volvo S40.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

A Great Car
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.
S40 Exceeds Expectations
Eric T.,02/27/2006
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.
Love my 2003 S40
Sheri Ann Johnson,08/04/2008
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.
:thumbs up:
Student Lee,10/11/2002
I was trying to decide on whether I should buy a new S40, new A4, or new 325i. Just by looking at hp/curb weight or tq/curb weight, the S40 is way ahead of the two. It beats both the A4 and 325i in torque (a fat torque band) while weighing in at under 2800lbs, while the other two are above 3200lbs. This makes a HUGE difference. Although this car is obviously not aimed at being a performance vehicle, it still handles well. The 325i or A4 may beat the S40 in an AutoX course (325 being FR and A4 being awd), but it really doesn't matter since this car will not be raced. I just wanted a sensible car that drives and looks nice.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2003 Volvo S40 features & specs


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2003 Volvo S40

Used 2003 Volvo S40 Overview

The Used 2003 Volvo S40 is offered in the following submodels: S40 Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (1.9L 4cyl Turbo 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2003 Volvo S40?

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Which used 2003 Volvo S40s are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 2003 Volvo S40s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volvo S40 for sale - 7 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $12,847.

Find a used Volvo for sale - 4 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $16,665.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volvo S40 for sale - 11 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $15,397.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volvo for sale - 5 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $19,808.

Should I lease or buy a 2003 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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