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2008 Volvo S40

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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 New for 2008

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 288 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

Buy with confidence.

By on Monday, April 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Huge value for money; Legendary Volvo safety."

Cons: "Could be more nimble; Too small for some."

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

"This car is shorter than a Honda Civic, yet somehow much roomier inside, making it a breeze to parallel park in the city while still maintaining a reasonable comfort level. Everyone will think you paid much more for this car than you did due to its styling cues lining up with the larger s60. At the end of the day, this car acts like everything you wish a Ford Focus or a Mazda 3 (they share a chassis, after all) could be. When the rare repair is needed, parts are no more expensive than those others, though labor charges will be higher from a Volvo specialist. Save some money by using a good, non-import specialist mechanic, as these cars are simple enough to be serviced by a non-proprietary mechanic. Usually. There are a handful of things like key fobs and software updates that will mandate getting skinned alive by a dealer, but those things are few and far between."

11 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Classic for Volvo owners or looking for a S40

By on Thursday, November 5, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"This car is a real gem, they are no longer making this series from Volvo. Excellent exterior and Leather interior. Low mileage and well taken care of, all service and maintenance records in tact. Looking to sell, best offer. first come best offer gets her."

12 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Nice Car for Small Family

By on Monday, September 14, 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
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, easy to park and drive in city"

Cons: "Noisy interior, cloth seats water spot easily"

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

"The Good: 2.5l Turbo Engine is very strong allowing merging and passing with ease. Brakes are quite strong. Handling is crisp and sure footed. Outside visibility is very good, few blind spots. Gas mileage is good, not great, but 28+ on hi-way, 21+ city in average driving. Will run quite well on 86 Octane Regular gas. Not a "sports" car but is fun to drive. Small enough to park easily and navigate city traffic. Surprisingly large trunk. The Bad: Uni-body construction allows for noisy ride. New tires help. Cloth seats water spot very easily and are hard to clean. Recommend leather. Interior cabin filter hard to replace (in this model year) and requires expensive dealer/shop replacement. Cabin filter can be easily clogged by small leaves and debris. (placed a wire screen over cowl vent screens to avoid this in future). Front seats very comfortable. Back seat space can be tight for large adults over a long trip."

10 people out of 12 found this review helpful

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."

16 people out of 19 found this review helpful

Last great compact Volvo with awesome styling.

By on Wednesday, July 8, 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."

8 people out of 14 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."

8 people out of 15 found this review helpful

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