Product Type: Volvo cars
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Confused Swedish Model
Volvo S40 1.8 (122 bhp) 4dr
Member Name: mouette
Volvo S40 1.8 (122 bhp) 4dr
Date: 15/09/05, updated on 20/09/05 (2853 review reads)
Advantages: Solid, drives nicely, the extras
Disadvantages: Lack of power, depreciation
Would I have chosen a Volvo? Probably not. However, I have now had the car for 9 months and would now at least consider one. Itís a pleasure to drive, but not perfect.
From outside the car has a reasonably attractive design along with alloy wheels to give a sense of quality. Like your average looking person that cares about what they wear perhaps but nowhere near your catwalking model!
Of course looks arenít everything. Thatís true, isnít it? So, also to be considered is comfort, how it drives, whether itís reliable, how safe it is, how much it will hurt your pocket etc..
I am quite tall but the car is easy to get into whether drivers or passenger side. In the rear leg room is quite limited, especially if Iím driving, but bearable. Three people in the back is a squeeze but for three small children a breeze. Head room is good in the front and back.
From a drivers perspective controls on the seat allow height and lumbar to be altered and I have managed to make the seat very comfortable. The steering wheel is a good size and can also be altered up and down depending on your driving position and all the controls are in easy reach. The pedals are well placed and have a comfortable space for your left foot when not in use.
On the downside it is not too comfortable for sleeping in Ė I wonít be doing that again. I didnít however consider the boot which is of a good size and might have worked. The seats also come down.
My car doesnít like the cold very much, so it can take two turns of the key to start and then has a tendency to stall in the first five minutes of driving off during winter. At other times there are no problems.
Once I get going, the gears (all five of them) work smoothly without glitches and engine and tyre noise isnít too bad. For general driving acceleration is ok, and in forth gear it can seem sprightly. It is not however powerful. Despite it having a 1.8 petrol engine I can struggle going up a steep hill, especially with a passenger Ė and around where I live there are a lot of hills.
Like most cars it is happy going at 70 miles an hour, even 80 (I guess) and you can get sufficient acceleration to overtake in most situations. Not though around blind corners which seems to be popular local method of overtaking.
The steering is power assisted and quite responsive. So parking and going round corners is easy on your arms and the car goes in the direction you intend it to. One of the big plusses is the way the car sticks to the road, considerably better than the now dead old car - a Peugeot 306, which certainly increases the pleasure of driving.
Itís not bad, but it has been slightly disappointing. Since I have had it there have been no major problems, but my indicators have failed twice and the bonnet developed a problem and wouldnít shut. This isnít good when compared to my similar aged Peugeot 306 - which had no problems at all in three years of ownership.
Volvoís are renowned for their safety (four-star Euro NCAP rating); and the clunk of the doors, the air bags (driver and passenger) and ABS all help to make me feel safe. Fortunately I have not tested its strength against crashes so the doors and air bags have remained in place, but the breaking system is fantastic Ė smooth and responsive. It also has an alarm which should hopefully deter opportunistic crime.
A minus on the safety side in my view is that the horn (situated on the steering wheel) is very difficult to apply and on occasions I have not been able to make it work quick enough or at all. While back on the steering wheel - the audio equipment has no controls on it which means I have to take my eyes off the road for a second to turn up the volume or change the channel if listening to the radio.
The wing mirrors are controlled electrically and the controls are responsive which all helps to improve safe driving conditions. As do the headlights which are always on.
Once you have paid for the car (not that good for your pocket in the first place) the cost just keeps on rising. Depreciation puts in the biggest dent, Volvos occupying the top spaces in the depreciation ladder. So never pay the top retail price if you can help it. But it does mean you can get some good value deals if you look around.
Going from a diesel car to one that runs on unleaded has increased my fuel bill by up to £20 a week. Fuel economy is, for a petrol car, a reasonable 30 odd miles the gallon, but when youíre coming down from diesel returns it still hurts. It cost about £50 to fill the tank with prices around 90 something pence a litre.
Servicing costs are comparable to other makes (i.e. Peugeot, Rover) and will always be cheaper at a non franchised garage. When mileage is as high as mine it is not worth maintaining a Volvo stamp in the service book. That said my previous service was at the Volvo dealership and cost £200 odd.
Other bits I like
- The remote works from a generous distance which means that you can find the car if you have forgotten where it is parked.
- There are two cup holders set between the driver and passenger
- The CD player. Never again will I buy a car without one as it has guaranteed I listen to all of my music collection.
Other bits I donít like
-It has no rear wiper. Why canít saloons have rear wipers?
-The front wipers arenít rain sensitive. I know, big deal. But when youíve been spoiltÖ
Other bits that have no place else to go
-Mineís green (when visible under the mud) but Volvoís come in a range of colours.
-It is an American Owned Swedish Car built in the Netherlands (the S40 range). Some S40ís even have Japanese (Mitsubishi) engines. Hence the confused Swedish model.
-There are no technical comparisons or the like as I know next to nothing about that side of cars.
-The car has air conditioning, which cools everything but your pocket.
So, who might buy this car? Anyone who isnít too image conscious, wants a car that is good value, has children or various pieces of equipment to carry, and wants a comfortable car for longer distances, wonít do too badly with a used Volvo S40 1.8 SX
Thanks for reading
Summary: A good value used car buy. Good for comfort, driving position. Poor for depreciation