Used Volvo V40 (1996 - 2004) Safety & Reliability

Review by Parkers on
Last Updated: 28 Oct 2014
Volvo's efforts to build a convincing medium car have brought us the modern V40/S40 series, a huge improvement over the uninspired, stodgy old 440/460 series. Compared with the class-leading Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, Volvo still has some way to go, but the S40/V40 is far from ordinary and has safety and solidity on its side.

3 out of 5



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A four-star Euro NCAP rating is very good for a car of this age. All cars have ABS, seat belt pre-tensioners, driver's airbag and Volvo's SIPS side airbag system. Deadlocks are fitted to all but the early base-model cars (where they are an option combined with central locking).

3 out of 5


Some build quality niggles on 1996-97 cars but overall a big improvement on the old 400 series; reliability on newer cars is above average, but look for full Volvo history for peace of mind.

Car check problem points


Inspect early models very carefully for sub-standard fit and finish; bumpers can pick up unsightly scratches and scuffing.


No problems reported; many cars are still covered by the three-year warranty, which gives added peace of mind.


Minor electrical faults, e.g. interior lights; quality of interior trim wasn't all that good on some early cars.