1 Jun 2004
By CHRIS HARRIS
Ford-owned Volvo threw away the old S40 template for the all-new second generation sedan (and V50 wagon), which is based on the common (Mazda3, Focus II) front-wheel drive C1-Technologies platform.
With its sophisticated multi-link rear suspension, new and larger engines, fresh looks, longer (2640mm) wheelbase, wide tracks, electro-hydraulic power steering and increase in weight, the smallest Volvo had its biggest change ever.
Five-cylinder engines mounted transversely power all Aussie-bound cars for now: a non-turbo 2.4-litre producing 125kW/230Nm and a turbocharged and intercooled 162kW/320Nm 2.5-litre unit.
Three transmissions – five-speed manual or automatic with Geartronic semi-manual shift for the normally aspirated engine and the same five-speed auto or a six-speed manual mated to the turbo – are offered.
The new S40 is 48mm shorter, 54mm wider and 44mmm taller than before.
Inside there is a "floating" vertical centre console for heating, ventilation and audio controls, integrated child booster cushions and split-folding rear seats.
Three levels are sold: 2.4, 2.4 SE and the turbo T5.
All include anti-lock brakes with EBD, dual front airbags, inflatable curtains for front and rear passengers, side airbags for the front seats, collapsible pedals and headrests and three-point seatbelts.
The big difference is that the T5 gets the more sophisticated stability control, while the other two make do with traction control. Plus it’s 68 per cent more rigid structurally than its predecessor.
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When it was new