2003 Volvo S40

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(4.3) 6 reviews
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Key Specs

of the 2003 Volvo S40. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    26 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    170-hp, 1.9-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    5-speed automatic
  • View more specs

2003 Volvo S40 Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Posted on 10/17/02
Vehicle Overview
Volvo’s compact S40 sedan and its V40 wagon companion receive a mild freshening that includes a new grille, headlight surrounds and body-colored moldings for the 2003 model year. A new three-spoke steering wheel will be installed, and a CD player is now standard.

Volvo steers the S40 toward younger buyers, while the Swedish automaker’s other models generally focus more toward an older crowd. Developed jointly with Mitsubishi, the entry-level S40 sedan and V40 wagon are built in the Netherlands at a shared manufacturing facility. Ford wholly owns Volvo, but the S40 was developed prior to Ford’s takeover.

Like other Volvos, the S40 emphasizes safety. Standard curtain-type airbags extend from the front roof pillar to the rear pillar and drop down from above the windows in side collisions.

Exterior
The S40’s 100.9-inch wheelbase is 6 inches shorter than Volvo’s larger S60 sedan, and it stands more than 2 inches shorter at 56 inches tall. The S40 is slightly longer than the Toyota Corolla at 177.8 inches overall. A trademark Volvo grille with chrome vertical bars sits up front. Character lines run through the hood and along the bodysides like those on Volvo’s models.

Interior
Front occupants get bucket seats, and three-point seat belts are installed for all five seating positions. Cloth seating is standard, and leather upholstery and a power sunroof are offered as optional equipment. The S40’s cargo volume is 13...
Posted on 10/17/02
Vehicle Overview
Volvo’s compact S40 sedan and its V40 wagon companion receive a mild freshening that includes a new grille, headlight surrounds and body-colored moldings for the 2003 model year. A new three-spoke steering wheel will be installed, and a CD player is now standard.

Volvo steers the S40 toward younger buyers, while the Swedish automaker’s other models generally focus more toward an older crowd. Developed jointly with Mitsubishi, the entry-level S40 sedan and V40 wagon are built in the Netherlands at a shared manufacturing facility. Ford wholly owns Volvo, but the S40 was developed prior to Ford’s takeover.

Like other Volvos, the S40 emphasizes safety. Standard curtain-type airbags extend from the front roof pillar to the rear pillar and drop down from above the windows in side collisions.

Exterior
The S40’s 100.9-inch wheelbase is 6 inches shorter than Volvo’s larger S60 sedan, and it stands more than 2 inches shorter at 56 inches tall. The S40 is slightly longer than the Toyota Corolla at 177.8 inches overall. A trademark Volvo grille with chrome vertical bars sits up front. Character lines run through the hood and along the bodysides like those on Volvo’s models.

Interior
Front occupants get bucket seats, and three-point seat belts are installed for all five seating positions. Cloth seating is standard, and leather upholstery and a power sunroof are offered as optional equipment. The S40’s cargo volume is 13.2 cubic feet, and the three-place, 70/30-split rear seat folds to produce additional cargo space. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, power windows and door locks, cruise control, a cassette player and an immobilizer theft-deterrent system.

Under the Hood
A turbocharged, 170-horsepower, 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine mates with a five-speed-automatic transmission. Volvo claims the S40 can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds.

Safety
Antilock brakes, curtain-type airbags and side-impact airbags for the front seats are standard. Volvo’s Whiplash Protection System moves the front seats rearward during a collision.

Driving Impressions
Nearly all the pleasures of driving a bigger Volvo can be found in the S40 sedan or V40 wagon, but for a markedly lower price. Those benefits include a generally satisfying ride, precise handling, quiet and refined behavior, energetic performance and an overall sense of solidity.

 
Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
From the cars.com 2003 Buying Guide

Latest 2003 S40 Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.2)
Performance
(4.2)
Interior Design
(3.8)
Comfort
(4.2)
Reliability
(4.0)
Value For The Money
(4.3)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Reliable, fun little car to drive.

by Big-D on August 8, 2017

I have driven a Volvo S40 for almost four years now and have had little to no issues with it. I purchased with over 100k on it, and had to do some maintenance, but nothing more than you'd expect from ... Read full review

(4.0)

It's got character.

by somedudeinchicago from Chicago on May 28, 2011

Definitely love this car. It's good in the corners, and has a fair amount of power. Transmission is better than previous volvo's. It's got a little charm to it. My parents got this car in 2005 (we ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2003 Volvo S40 currently has 2 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2003 Volvo S40 has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The S40 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker