New & Used Volvo V40: In Depth
2004 Volvo V40Enlarge Photo
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For American shoppers, the Volvo V40 was a station wagon counterpart to the compact Volvo S40 sedan, offered by the Swedish automaker from the 2000 through 2004 model years
The V40 marked new territory for Volvo in the U.S. when it was introduced, and it competed as much with the Volkswagen Jetta as it did with the Saab 9-3 and premium Japanese entries like the Lexus IS SportCross.
The V40's 1.9-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine made 160 hp and 170 pound-feet—ratings that were a bit higher than how it felt in real-world driving, because of the rather sluggish, lumpy behavior of the four-speed automatic transmission (although it does have sport and winter modes). A five-speed automatic introduced for 2001 improved on that somewhat, as did a boost in power to 170 hp for 2004.
However, ride, hanndling, and overall refinement were areas of disappointment for the V40, and those stepping down from the V70 (or 850) were typically dismayed to find that this small wagon didn't feel any more nimble or responsive. Engine refinement in particular was a sore point, with the coarse note ever-present. The ride was also busier than you might expect from a near-luxury model. These models also, on the used-car market, haven't held up as well to Volvo's long-held standards of reliability and durability, and their resale value has suffered as a result.
All V40s were front-wheel drive, and these models had neither available all-wheel drive nor the abundance of above-and-beyond safety features that Volvo has built its reputation on. But they did come quite well-equipped, with leather seats, automatic climate control, and keyless entry on most versions, as well as cruise control and power accessories. A sunroof, power heated seats, a CD sound system, and an upgraded alarm system were among the options.
The interior of the V40 is very well done, though, with decent space for adults even in the back seat and rear seatbacks that fold flat. For those who need to carry purchases from big-box stores, or weekend construction supplies, it's a good pick in that respect.
This car is related to the European-market Mitsubishi Carisma, and assembled at the same facility in the Netherlands, although it shares no sheetmetal with the Mitsubishi. The V40 was one of the first models designed entirely under the direction of Peter Horbury, who helped take Volvo away from the boxy look, to a smoother, perhaps more elegant design theme that continues today.
Volvo completely redesigned the S40 sedan and V40 wagon for the 2004.5 model year, and as part of a new nomenclature for its models it renamed the wagon the V50. .