Except for revised option groups, no significant changes are evident for the 2002 model year on Volvos compact V40 wagon. The Swedish automaker aims the V40 at a younger group of consumers than that of its other models. Three versions are available: Premium, Premium Plus and Sport. The Sport model includes black headlight trim, 10-spoke Stellar alloy wheels, sport seats, a rear spoiler and a special instrument cluster.
Developed jointly with Japans Mitsubishi company, the entry-level V40 wagon and its S40 sedan companion are built in the Netherlands at a shared manufacturing facility. Ford wholly owns Volvo, but the S40/V40 was developed prior to Fords takeover.
Like other Volvos, the S40 and V40 emphasize safety. Standard curtain-type airbags, for instance, extend from the front roof pillar to the rear pillar and drop down from above the windows in side collisions.
The dimensions for both the wagon and sedan grew slightly for 2001. Measuring 180.2 inches long overall which is 2.4 inches longer than the S40 sedan the V40 wagon rides a 100.9-inch wheelbase. Both body styles are 67.6 inches wide and 56 inches tall. The V40 is 7.6 inches shorter in wheelbase and 5.2 inches shorter overall than Volvos midsize V70 wagon. The trademark Volvo grille with its chrome vertical bars sits up front. Character lines run through the hood and along the bodysides, like those on larger Volvo models.
Cloth seating is standard, and leather upholstery is optional. Front occupants get bucket seats, while rear passengers have a 70/30-split, folding seat. Three-point seat belts are installed for all five seating positions. With both sides of the backseat folded down, cargo volume is 61.3 cubic feet. With the seat upright, that space drops to 33.5 cubic feet. Narrow rear doors make entry and exit a little difficult.
Standard equipment includes air conditioning, power locks and windows, cruise control, a cassette player and an immobilizer theft-deterrent system. A power sunroof is optional.
Under the Hood
Volvos turbocharged, 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine is rated at 160 horsepower and teams with a five-speed-automatic transmission.
Antilock brakes and side-impact airbags for the front seats are standard. Curtain-type airbags extend from the front roof pillar to the rear pillar and drop down from above the windows in a side crash. Volvos Whiplash Protection System moves the front seats rearward in a collision. In a collision, the front airbags deploy at one of two levels with lower force in low-speed impacts.
Nearly all of the pleasures of driving a bigger Volvo can be found in the V40 or S40, at a substantially lower price. That appealing list includes a generally satisfying ride, precise handling, quiet and refined behavior, energetic performance and an overall sensation of solidity.