Volvo aims at a younger audience with the S40, a front-drive compact sedan priced lower than other Volvos, starting at $22,900. The S40 is new to the U.S. market for 2000 but has been available in Europe the past few years. Volvo also sells a compact station wagon built from this design, the V40.
Sweden-based Volvo developed the S40 jointly with Japanese automaker Mitsubishi, and the car is built at a plant in the Netherlands the two share. Ford now owns Volvo, but the partnership with Mitsubishi is expected to continue.
Three-point seatbelts are provided for all five seating positions in the S40, which comes with standard cloth upholstery and a 70/30 split rear seat that folds for additional cargo space. Cargo volume is listed at 13.2 cubic feet.
Air conditioning, power locks and windows, cruise control, a cassette player and an immobilizer theft-deterrent system are standard. Leather upholstery and a power sunroof are optional.
The S40 rides a 100-inch wheelbase and is 176.4 inches long about five inches shorter in wheelbase and nearly 11 inches shorter overall than Volvo's S70 sedan. The S40 has a trademark Volvo grille with chrome vertical bars and character lines in the hood and along the sides like those on the company's larger models.
Under the Hood
The only engine for the S40 is a 1.9-liter four-cylinder, hitched to a four-speed automatic. Don't let the size fool you. The engine is turbocharged and produces 160 horsepower, which Volvo says is enough to reach 60 mph in 8.5 seconds.
The federally required front airbags have two deployment levels, with lower force used in low-speed collisions. Other standard safety features include side-impact airbags for the front seats, anti-lock brakes and Volvo's Whiplash Protection System, which moves the front seats rearward in a collision.