Fleet News

Volvo S40 2.0 D SE



I’VE BEEN driving the Volvo S40 for two months, give or take a day or two, which theoretically should have provided plenty of opportunity to become accustomed to the car’s little quirks.

But before I begin my rant – and not being one to be too negative – the S40 does have lots of positive points.

The cool interior, with its minimalist styling, is aesthetically pleasing and has generated lots of positive comments from passengers.

Its firm suspension offers a sporty ride making my rural journey to work fun, albeit a little too bumpy at times.

And at almost 8,000 miles the 2.0-litre diesel engine is running well – in fact, it feels a lot, lot faster than an equivalent petrol 2.0-litre unit. However, after two months in the car I still can’t master the overly-sticky gearchanging and despite Simon Harris’ attempts to push up the fuel consumption figure to 46mpg, city driving has nudged it back down to the 40mpg mark.

Reverse, first and third are positioned within what feels like a millimetre of each other, creating several problems.

Trying to reverse can often mean engaging first, so the car lurches forwards instead of back. Pulling out of a junction, I sometimes find I’m actually in third and crawl away to tuts and headshaking from other road users. Then, changing up to third at about 20mph, I have also mistakenly put it into first on occasion.

It’s also a real struggle to get the gear lever to engage into reverse. It requires a more-than-firm shove.

It’s a shame that one problem can so overshadow my view of a car as I do like it overall, but battling with the vagaries of the transmission on a daily basis makes the S40 very hard to enjoy.

Volvo S40 2.0 D SE
Price (OTR) £19,618 (£24,218 as tested)
Mileage 7,756
CO2 emissions (g/km) 148
Company car tax bill (2004/5) 22% tax-payer £64 per month
Insurance group 10
Combined mpg 49.6
Test mpg 41.09
CAP Monitor residual value £6,925/36%
HSBC contract hire rate £429
Expenditure to date Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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