The compact V40 wagon and companion S40 sedan arrived last year as Volvos new entry-level models for the United States, aimed at a younger audience than the larger, more expensive models in the lineup.
This year, Volvo gives the V40 and S40 slightly longer dimensions and curtain-type airbags as a new standard feature. The side curtains extend from the front roof pillar to the rear pillar and drop down from above the windows in side collisions.
Other standard safety features include side-impact airbags for the front seats, antilock brakes and Volvos Whiplash Protection System, which moves the front seats rearward in a collision. The federally required front airbags have two deployment levels, with lower force used in low-speed collisions.
Ford owns Sweden-based Volvo, but Volvo developed the front-drive S40 and V40 jointly with Japanese automaker Mitsubishi before Ford arrived. The cars are built at a plant in the Netherlands that Volvo and Mitsubishi share.
The wheelbase grows nearly 1 inch this year to 101, and the V40 wears a new front bumper, increasing the overall length by 2.4 inches to 177.8. The fenders are wider to accommodate a wider track (the width between the front wheels).
The V40 is about 2 inches longer than the BMW 325i wagon and about 6 inches shorter than the Volkswagen Passat wagon.
Three-point seat belts are provided for all five seating positions in the V40, which comes with standard cloth upholstery and a 70/30-split, folding rear seat. Narrow rear doors make it difficult for adults to gracefully enter and exit the rear seat. Cargo volume is 30 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 61 cubic feet with both sides of the rear seat folded.
Switches for the power windows and mirrors move from the center console to the drivers door this year, and the console has a new design with more storage. The interior color scheme switches from last years silver gray to two-tone taupe. Air conditioning, power locks and windows, cruise control, a cassette player and an immobilizing theft-deterrent system are standard. Leather upholstery and a power sunroof are optional.
Under the Hood
The only engine for the V40 is a turbocharged 1.9-liter four-cylinder that teams with a new five-speed automatic transmission. The V40 came with a four-speed automatic last year.