No significant changes are expected in 2002 to Volvos compact S40 sedan. Volvo geers the S40 toward younger buyers, while the Swedish automakers other models usually focus toward an older crowd. Developed jointly with the Mitsubishi company in Japan, the entry-level S40 and its V40 wagon companion are built in the Netherlands at a shared manufacturing facility. Ford wholly owns Volvo, but the S40 was developed prior to Fords takeover.
Like other Volvos, the S40 and V40 emphasize 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.
Slightly longer than the Toyota Corolla at 177.8 inches overall, the S40 sedan rides a 100.9-inch wheelbase. The S40 is 6 inches shorter in wheelbase and more than 2 inches shorter overall than Volvos midsize S60 sedan. Up front is a trademark Volvo grille with chrome vertical bars. Character lines run through the hood and along the bodysides, like those on larger Volvo models.
Front occupants get bucket seats, and three-point seat belts are installed for all five seating positions. Cloth seating is standard, but leather upholstery and a power sunroof are optional. 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 locks and windows, cruise control, a cassette player and an immobilizer theft-deterrent system.
Under the Hood
A turbocharged, 160-horsepower, 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine mates to a five-speed-automatic transmission. Volvo claims the S40 can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds.
Antilock brakes, curtain-type airbags and side-impact airbags for the front seats are standard. Volvos Whiplash Protection System moves the front seats rearward during a collision.
Just about all the pleasures of driving a bigger Volvo can be found in the S40 or V40, but for a markedly more modest price. That list includes a generally satisfying ride, precise handling, quiet and refined behavior, energetic performance and an overall sense of solidity.