The Volvo S40 is one of many Swedish-manufactured cars that all share an efficient and in many cases innovative design. This vehicle first appeared on the North American market in 2000 and was Volvo’s attempt to get their own piece of the action. While it is true that this vehicle certainly does have its flaws and shortcomings, the S40 played a large role in helping this carmaker to change their image completely with a new game changing vehicle. In the past many of Volvo’s cars had a trademark boxy design, but this was most definitely not the case with the S40.
Volvo first released the S4/F4 series in the summer of 1995 but were forced to change the name of this vehicle because it conflicted with one of Audi’s models of the same name, which is how the “S40” came into being. This vehicle along with the entire 40 series of cars received some major updated and changes in 2000, including a vastly improved engine management system along with direct diesel fuel injection, larger brake discs, additional safety features, larger tires, new front suspension, larger headlights, and much more.
The 40 Series cars, including this one, all came with 4-cylinder engines, including the 1.9 liter turbo diesel as well as the 1.8 liter 2.0T and the 1.9 liter T4. All of these engines were very similar in design to the original Volvo 960 with many similarities between them. There is no doubt whatsoever that the S40 series was a whole new car altogether and these vehicles did not have any engines carried over from the previous 400 series. The engines in these vehicles had a solid and innovative design which had not been seen before, at least in anything that Volvo had made up until that point.
In the U.K. there were a total of 4 different trim levels available, including the S, XS, SE, and CD. There were other trim levels made available to the public later and all of them had SE Lux and Sport Lux trim designations. There was also an Xi trim level which was made available for a limited time for Phase 1 and Phase 1.5 vehicles, both of which had a yellow coat of paint as well as black-bezel headlamps. A racing version of the S40 was also launched in the British Touring Car Championship in 1997 as well as 1998, resulting in Rickard Rydell taking home the championship title.
The S40 received a major overhaul of its features in 2008when a number of different things were changed for the better, including the audio systems, storage space, and the arrival of new safety features such as the Emergency Brake Lights which were designed to flash rapidly to warn the cars behind the vehicle. During this time Volvo also came out with the 2.0 liter diesel Geartronic in February of 2008, but in Ireland it was released at the very end of May because of delivery intervals.
The 2011 S40, which is the current model, offers three different petrol engines, including the 1.6, 2.0, and T5, though the last one is available only with front-wheel drive and an automatic transmission. There are also four diesel engines available, including the DRIVe, D2, D3, D4, and 2.0F which is classified as a fuel-flexible engine that has the ability to run on either petrol, E85, or a mixture or ethanol and petrol. All of the new engines are Euro 4 compliant and there is even a start-stop system which the DRIVe was designed with. Overall, this vehicle definitely has some impressive features, despite the minor design flaws and general drawbacks.