Volvo S40 (2004 – 2012) Review

Volvo S40 (2004 – 2012) At A Glance


+Comfortable, safe and enjoyable. Good looks, backed up by a decent drive.

-Distracting reflections from dashboard and instruments. Floating dash panel doesn't suit everyone. Expensive problems with diesel more than three years old.

Insurance Groups are between 15–32
On average it achieves 88% of the official MPG figure

It's not often I get to test a new car and it turns out to exceed all expectations. Okay, just about anything would have been better than the old Mitsubishi Carisma based S40. And the Mazda 3 had already given a foretaste of what to expect in the chassis department. If the new S40 had been just a little bit better than the Mazda 3 it would have been fine.

Instead, it's close to sensational.

The signs for this particular launch were not good. Our plane suffered a bird in the engine while landing to pick us up, so we had to wait hours for a replacement plane. Then, on the main drive in Andalusia, it rained gatos y peros. And, even though we were in Spain, there was a shortage of Manuels, so we had no choice but to drive automatics. The rain didn't stop all day. So, sorry folks, apart from the headlight and the key picture I've had to use stock shots.

But the conditions were actually a better test of the car than bright sunlight and bone-dry roads. And both the 170bhp 2.4i and 220bhp T5 automatics behaved impeccably.

Volvo S40 2003 Road Test

Real MPG average for a Volvo S40 (2004 – 2012)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

24–67 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

Satisfaction Index

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Ask Honest John

What's the ticking noise when I start my car?

"What's the ticking noise behind the dashboard when I turn the ignition? The car is a Volvo S40."
If the car is refusing to start then the clicking is probably a sign of a problem with the battery or alternator. Or it may be a sign of the starter motor failing or a wider electrical problem.
Answered by Dan Powell

Is there an organisation I can contact about unreasonable repair costs?

"A local garage has had my 2009 Volvo S40 for 8 weeks trying to resolve a misfire so I can claim the cost from Warrantywise. They have had my car for so long that I am considering cutting my losses and getting my car back because the warranty company won't pay for any investigation work until the fault has been found. I am so fed up with the whole deal I have told the garage I am going to take my car back at the end of the month if it isn't sorted. If I am not happy with the final bill that I know I will have to pay, is there an organisation or group I can contact to help question the bill? Many thanks."
Sadly this is a very common situation that we hear about and I know from first-hand experience how stressful and frustrating it can be. The Motor Ombudsman should be the body to deal with this but it depends whether the garage in question is a member or not. Citizens Advice are also incredibly knowledgeable and helpful.
Answered by Georgia Petrie

I'm only getting 26mpg on my Volvo S40 - what should I be getting?

"I've recently purchased a Volvo S40 2.4-litre petrol. What mpg should it get? I'm currently getting 26mpg and 30mpg on a run out."
That's about right. The Real MPG average is 31mpg: /
Answered by Honest John

What cars are still reliable over the 100,000 mile mark?

"I'm looking for a cheap to run car which will be reliable, but over the magic 100,000 mark, as I do plenty of miles and don't want to crucify value. Ideally for about £2500. I do enough miles (12,000 plus) to warrant diesels, but naturally there may be big bills. I also need some thing with a decent boot, as I race model stockcars with friends, and punchy enough to overtake. Thoughts turn to a Volvo S40 2.0d, or a lower mileage Ford Mondeo. Any recommendations? "
£2500 might buy you a peach but is far more likely to buy you a disaster. Worth looking at pre-DPF chain cam Kia Cee'd and Hyundai i30 1.6 CRDi SW, but no guarantees they're in this price bracket. Anything with a timing belt probably needs a new one and a new timing belt, tensioner, waterpump and alternator belt starts at £360, but could easily set you back £600.
Answered by Honest John
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