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2008 Volvo S40

Overview
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2008 Volvo S40 Review

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The 2008 Volvo S40 is a fantastic way to enjoy the perks of owning a premium brand automobile without having to pay a premium price. For about the same money as a Honda Accord EX, customers can pick up an S40 2.4i complete with a frugal yet peppy five-cylinder engine, sporty ride and handling and legendary Volvo safety. For a bit more cash, the S40 T5 ups the ante with a powerful turbocharged engine, the availability of all-wheel drive and a long list of luxury features. While not as sophisticated or adept as an Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series, the S40 nonetheless plays well in this field, offering a nice balance of performance, economy and affordability.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you like to get the most bang for your buck, the S40 will impress you with its style, content and price. Long known for its emphasis on safety, Volvo carries on the tradition with side-impact and side-curtain airbags, the Whiplash Protection System and other safety features.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you regularly need room for four adults, the S40's cramped rear seat and moderate headroom are a negative. Power in the base car is far from exhilarating and all-wheel drive is available only with the pricier T5, which doesn't offer a manual transmission option.

What's Significant About This Car?

The V40 gets a slight freshening with a new front end and numerous interior improvements. An auxiliary audio input jack and a tire-pressure monitor are standard on all versions. T5 models get nearly 10 additional horsepower but lose their manual transmission option. SIRIUS Satellite Radio is standard on all T5 models.

Driving the S40

Driving Impressions Despite the moderate size, the S40 is one serious automobile, well suited for both the highway and twisting back roads. Stable and solid on the road, the S40 T5's steering...

yields sharp, reasonably quick responses. Quiet and refined, the T5 is a spirited performer, with its smooth-shifting five-speed Geartronic automatic transmission adeptly handling the engine's power. Unfortunately, the Geartronic manual shift mode is not as quick nor as fun to drive as the discontinued six-speed manual. Except for appropriate engine sounds when accelerating, little noise is heard. The T5's suspension is noticeably stiffer than usual for Volvos, but discomfort occurs only on rougher bumps. On satisfactory surfaces, the ride is smooth enough. Though easy to load, the trunk's size is modest.

All-Wheel-Drive Availability
Even if required only occasionally, all-wheel drive enhances the Volvo's feeling of security. Most of the time, you don't even realize all-wheel drive is present.

Dynamic Sport Suspension
Volvo's stiffer suspension boosts handling capabilities without extracting a significant penalty in ride comfort.

2008 Volvo S40 Details
Interior

Scandinavian in nature, the S40's interior and dashboard qualify as no-frills. Volvo claims the "ultra-slim" center console is the first of its kind on the market. While the console looks neat, its stylistic slimness would make it difficult to upgrade to an aftermarket audio unit. The company promotes the S40's "ergonomically designed" seats, and their comfort on long drives is undeniable. On the dashboard, temperature and fuel gauges are integrated into the speedometer, but are easy enough to read. Some controls on the vertical console aren't quite as logical as they look, and glovebox space is meager. Compact outside, the S40 is quite roomy in the front-seat area, though it lacks good rear seat headroom.

Exterior

The S40's design evolves from the more rounded shape Volvo started with the S80. Few traces of the old squared-off profiles are left on today's products from the Swedish-based automaker. What Volvo calls Intelligent Vehicle Architecture includes "extremely rigid" cross members for side-impact protection and a considerable amount of high-tensile steel in the structure. Manufactured in Belgium, the S40 bears a close resemblance to other Volvo models. Up front, at least, it's a virtual twin to the new V50 wagon.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even in the base 2.4i trim, the S40 features air conditioning, side-curtain airbags, front seat side-impact airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), an engine immobilizer, traction control, rear fog lamp, keyless remote entry, heated power mirrors, 16-inch alloy wheels, a single CD player and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Upgrading to the T5 adds a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine, five-speed automatic transmission, automatic climate control, upgraded audio with six-disc in-dash CD changer, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and an eight-way power driver's seat.

Optional Equipment

Popular options are mostly bundled into packages. The base 2.4i offers a Climate Package with heated seats, headlamp washers and rain-sensing wipers. The Select Package adds a power glass moonroof, six-disc CD changer, upgraded speakers, trip computer and a power driver's seat. Stand-alone options include leather seating (2.4i), Blind Spot Information System and the five-speed Geartronic automatic transmission (2.4i). The T5 offers Active Bi-Xenon headlamps, sport steering wheel, sport suspension, 17-inch "Zaurak" wheels, navigation and Volvo's Keyless Drive remote start system.

Under the Hood

The standard 2.4-liter engine is adequate for the casual driver, but lacks the low-end punch needed for quick bursts of speed when passing or merging. If you can swing the extra cash, opt for the T5—its turbocharged engine brings the little S40 to life. The T5's five-speed Geartronic automatic is not as quick as Audi's DSG manual-shift transmission, but it's the only choice for those who prefer shifting their own gears.

2.4-liter in-line 5
168 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28

2.5-liter in-line 5 Turbocharged
227 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1500-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (automatic, FWD), 19/28 (manual, FWD), 18/26 (automatic, AWD), 17/25 (manual, AWD)

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2008 Volvo S40 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 285 Ratings for the 2004 - 2011 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

Still satisfied after 9 years

By on Saturday, July 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun to drive, interior quality and appearance"

Cons: "electrical bugs the first year or two"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I still enjoy driving my S40. In my opinion the style is timeless. After working out some initial electrical issues it has been very dependable. Decent but not great gas mileage. With premium I average 24 MPG in mixed driving. One negative is the cost of maintenance."

Last great compact Volvo with awesome styling.

By on Wednesday, July 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,300

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Styling, solid feel"

Cons: "Front/Rear Bumper covers too soft, noisy engine"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I bought this car for my girlfriend to commute in everyday L.A. traffic and so far it has been great. She loves it mainly for all the bells & whistles like Bluetooth hands-free, great audio system with 6 disc changer, digital ambient temp readout, avg fuel readout, very cold AC, warm heater, plus a plethora of other amenities. Though there is also a moonroof but she has never touched it. But the sole reason I bought her this car is the safety rating. First of all it is a very solid vehicle and feels great on the road. The handling is tight and power is sufficient with its 2.4i engine, but most above all - the great styling of the S40! We've owned it for almost two years now. Bought the car with 36,600 miles and now just reached 50,300. The only thing we did was changed the oil from Castrol synthetic-blend to Castrol Edge 0W-30 Full Synthetic. I also replaced all the motor mounts. Didn't really need to but I felt like doing it to get most out of the vehicle. Other items are just accessory upgrades; like rubber mats, trunk cubby tray and luggage hangers, nothing mechanical and so far it has performed great. Gas mileage is average since this is an inline-5 cylinder. It is pretty spot on with the 20 City/28 Hwy claim - though I did get a bit more (apprx 30 hwy) on a road trip at cruising speeds of 80mph. It was a blast to drive and the seats are very comfortable. Car felt very reliable while on the journey in regards to both mechanical and safety - which makes a world of difference."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Owned for 10 years

By on Tuesday, July 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 176,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, pickup, handling, MPG, AWD, etc."

Cons: "Small backseat"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Great car!!! AWD and T5 engine with great gas mileage using regular gas. Been a great car, now seeking to sell. Would love to have a new vehicle with the MPG, pickup and handling, just in an SUV form. From Volvo's current reviews I have read on line about recent models' reliability, and the snobbery at Volvo dealership when I went to look at new models--will probably not be purchasing a Volvo again."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Needs power seat for passenger with disability

By on Saturday, June 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "Gas efficiency"

Cons: "access is a challenge (for people with disability)"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Interior critique is based on our physical needs as we age. Hard for passenger to access car since seat is very low. Too bad car most manufacturers ignore the older generation in this regard. Otherwise everything about S40 is great! Just went on short road trip and clocked fuel efficiency. On flat interstate we did 48 MPG average at 50 MPH; 45 MPG average at 55 MPH; typically stayed at over 40 MPG average at 60 to 65 MPH. I find this truly amazing considering car is 11 years old and I have just serviced it once a year since we got it in 2004."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

we enjoyed it for 150,000 miles

By on Saturday, June 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 151,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "nice interior/exterior, handles well, fun to drive"

Cons: "doesn't hold its value, expensive to fix"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"We ordered this car new 8 years ago and have put 150,000 miles on it. We loved this car. At 8 years old, it still looks great, and it still handles better and rides more smoothly than our brand new Toyota. However, it has needed repairs lately, and every repair is very costly compared to working on other vehicles. Also, in our area there are no certified Volvo mechanics, and other mechanics are either hesitant to work on it, can only do certain repairs, or they refuse to work on it altogether. The car also did not hold its value well. I would buy another Volvo in the future because we did enjoy this car for a long time. However, I would either put less miles on it or trade it in once it got to about 100,000."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Safe and sound not made for living in.

By on Friday, May 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 195,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Safety"

Cons: "Livability"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"Cup holders are not very functional no good spots for change or glasses but safe and reliable is as advertised."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?