The 2002 Volvo S40 sedan is one of the smaller packages in the Swedish maker’s car line-up. It offers a reasonable introductory price, good standard features list, comfort, a bit of luxury with the options and the serious approach to safety that is Volvo’s calling card. Offerings from Audi and BMW offer more in the way of performance and driving thrills while rival Mercedes-Benz has more luxurious wagons. But if safety and solid value are the priority, the S40 should not be missed.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 1.9-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed automatic
Models: Volvo S40
For 2002 the S40 gets minor equipment changes. There is a Premium package now that combines desirable options like a CD player, sunroof, power driver seat and faux wood trim. A new Premium Plus package adds leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Sport package has been upgraded and now includes aluminum interior accents, sport seats and an exclusive instrument cluster and these specific options are now available as stand-alone gear. A new center console design incorporates two integrated cup holders and there are two cup holders for rear passengers when the center armrest is folded down. There is now an emergency trunk release. Bamboo Green and Dark Blue are new exterior colors.
The 2002 Volvo S40 sedan is only available in the one base trim. The S40 offers 15-inch alloy wheels, intermittent wipers, rear window defogger, rear wiper, stainless steel exhaust with chrome tailpipe finish, roof rack, power door mirrors, heated door mirrors, MacPherson struts and four-wheel independent suspension.
The exterior design isn’t as uninspired as past and infamously plain Volvo sedans, but it still doesn’t qualify as styled. The body does offer some aerodynamic lines and isn’t as bland as the Swedish automaker is most certainly capable of.
The S40 is considered a luxury sedan, albeit more of an entry-level model, and while it may not be as posh as a Mercedes-Benz or BMW, it has a solid list of standard features for the cabin that include cloth upholstery, adjustable lumbar support for the driver seat, remote power door locks, power windows, power steering, cruise control, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, interior air filtration, climate control and a 100-watt stereo with AM/FM, cd player and seven speakers. Most options are added via packages. The Premium package adds a sunroof, CD player with Premium speakers, power driver seat and simulated wood accents. The Premium Plus group includes leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Sport package is revised to include a spoiler, leather-wrapped wheel, aluminum interior accents, leather/cloth-upholstered sport seats and a unique instrument cluster.
Performance & Handling
All S40s make use of a turbocharged 160-horsepower, 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 177 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission choice available in America is a five-speed automatic. All V40s are front-wheel drive. The S40 makes the zero-60 mph sprint in 7.8 seconds. There is an annoying turbo lag and the acceleration should handle most traffic situations but lags behind in class rivals like the Audi A4 Avant or BMW 325i Sport Wagon.
While the S40 can’t tangle with revered German competitors it still handles well. It features finely tuned MacPherson struts up front and a multilink rear suspension along with a rack-and-pinion steering system that allow the V40 to have precise steering and a good grip although there is some body lean. The S40 is tuned for a fairly taut ride, but comfort ultimately becomes the top priority. Sharp bumps will register and there is a bit of float over the rough stuff, but in general the ride is comfortable. Noise isn’t really an issue.
Like many offerings from Volvo, the S40 is a paragon of safety with standard equipment that includes an extensive collection of airbags, like Inflatable Curtain (IC) head-protection airbags for front and rear passengers, side airbags for front passengers and the usual dual-stage front airbags. There is additional crash protection in the form of whiplash-reducing front seats and seatbelt pre-tensioners. The standard ISO-FIX child safety seat system simplifies the process of correctly installing and removing child seats. Other standard gear includes four-wheel antilock brakes, remote anti-theft system, rear door child safety locks, rear center 3-point belt and electronic brakeforce distribution. Curiously, neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS have crash tested the V40. This should not concern prospective buyers given Volvo’s impeccable reputation for safety and one of the longest lists of standard safety gear that any car possesses.
EPA Fuel Economy
Volvo S40: 19/27 mpg city/highway
- Safety features
- Reasonable base price
- Luxury interior
You Won't Like
- No manual transmission option
- Doesn’t even attempt to be sporty
- Options really drive up price
Oddity is too small to compete with some rivals and too expensive for others.
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