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Volvo S40 boasts a full array of features

September 26, 2003|by KEN CHESTER, JR./Motor News Media Corporation

At the heart of the 2004 Volvo S40 sedan is Volvo value and character. A true Volvo, the S40 boasts a full complement of safety features, sophisticated chassis design and interior amenities. Continuing to build on its reputation as Volvo virtue at an affordable price, the S40 sedan's four-cylinder engine received a 10-horsepower increase for the 2003 model year.

For 2004, the Swedish automaker will offer a new Limited Sport Edition Package with a production run of only 2,500 units.

Offered in Black Sapphire, Virtual Blue and Silver exterior colors, the equipment package includes the following: 16-inch "Crater" alloy wheels, power glass moonroof, power driver's seat, leather seating surfaces, leather steering wheel, leather hand brake lever and gear shift knob, chromium instrument rings, stainless steel scuff plates, trip computer, premium speaker system, rear spoiler, front spoiler, front fog lights, black headlamp bezels, metallic paint, pre-wiring for CD changer and Piano black or Cyborg inlays.

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The S40 is built in the Netherlands by Nedcar - a 50/50 joint venture between Volvo and Japanese automaker Mitsubishi - now in its last year of production. The small Volvo sedan is powered by a 1.9-liter DOHC 16-valve twin scroll turbocharged intercooled four-cylinder engine mated to an equally sophisticated four-speed microprocessor controlled automatic transmission with a three-mode selector for sport, economy and winter.

The list of optional equipment is grouped into three main packages: Sport, Premium and Climate. In addition to the optional equipment packages, there are only eight stand-alone options available from the factory.

On the road, the S40 is solid, nimble and responsive. The turbocharged prime mover works wonderfully with the four-speed gearbox. The front suspension consists of independent MacPherson struts with asymmetrically-mounted coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers and a 19 mm stabilizer bar.

The rear setup is a multi-link independent rear suspension with coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers and a 13 mm stabilizer bar. Michelin MVX4 P195/60R15 tires keep all this goodness connected to the road. Strong crosswinds, slippery roads and bitterly cold weather will not faze the S40.

Inside the cabin, driver and passengers are spoiled rotten by the high level of creature comforts. The optional heated leather seats are sinfully comfortable. The driver enjoys the use of an ergonomically correct center armrest. Displays and controls are easy to read and use. Rear-seat passengers enjoy good leg room and armrests. The 70/30 split rear seat back adds cargo space to the ample trunk.

The S40 is tight, sound and equipped to the rafters. All this and the safety of a Volvo. That is what makes owning this car so reassuring.

QUICK VEHICLE STATS

2004 Volvo S40 sedan

Wheelbase: 100.9; overall length: 177.8; width: 67.6; height: 56.0 - measurements in inches.

Engine: 1.9-liter four-cylinder DOHC Twin Scroll turbocharger - 170 hp at 5,250 rpm and 177 lbs-ft of torque at 1,800-4,500 rpm.

Transmission: five-speed Microprocessor-controlled automatic.

EPA fuel economy: 22 city/30 hwy. using premium unleaded gasoline.

Cargo capacity: 13.2 cubic feet.

SAFETY FEATURES

Driver and front passenger air bags, whiplash protection seating system (WHIPS), four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock, side-impact protection system (SIPS), driver and front passenger side impact air bags, daytime running lights, rear fog light, engine immobilizer and central power door locking system with remote keyless entry.

WARRANTY

Basic: 4-year/50,000 mile, limited.

Roadside assistance: 4-year/unlimited, 24-hour.

PRICING

The base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2004 Volvo S40 sedan starts at $24,450. Destination charge adds $685.

AS TESTED

2004 Volvo S40 sedan

Exterior color: Silver Metallic.

Interior color: Black.

Base price $24,450.

Destination charge $ 685.

Metallic paint $ 450.

Climate package $ 850.

Glass moonroof $ 1,200.

Power driver's seat $ 450.

Total as tested: $28,085.

© 2003 Motor News Media Corporation

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