wouldn't consider Volvo a fair weather car, as one might a sports car in the six
digit price range. Volvos' robust Scandinavian genes make them shrug off the worst
weather, as they churn out solid performance.
how does such heritage play in a smaller size? As Volvo launches its redesigned
S40, it's appealing to enthusiasts who have yearned for a fresh, new small sedan
to outperform a lot of plain yogurt substitutes, but keeps the expected safety
credentials Volvo's known for.
bumped up its already sterling safety rep with something called Volvo Intelligent
Vehicle Architecture (VIVA), mating structural and technical properties with an
emphasis on how to use them. Among them: A sandwich of four different steels for
a more resilient side "skin," improved front crumple zones and more
Belgium-built S40 looks strong and bold, with a "less is more" attitude
both inside and out. Exterior lines sweep up and back to a high rear deck. The
uncluttered interior, like Scandinavian furniture, is clean and inviting without
being bare bones.
drivers get two five-cylinder engines, a normally aspirated, 168 horsepower, 2.4i-liter,
or 218 horsepower 2.5-liter turbo. With either, it bites into hairpin curves at
speed on mountain roads north of Los Angeles with solid control. All wheel drive
and manual shift are added by summer.
S40 goes sale by early March as an '04-and-a-half for a short run before being
badged as an '05. It's priced just under $24,900 including destination charges,
with a manual trans trimming that by $1,200.
decides soon whether to include new S40 owners, gratis, at its Skip Barber accident
avoidance Safe Driving Program, that initially is free for XC90 crossover buyers.
Even without it, officials stress all their vehicles' superior performance in
officials recall one woman owner who emerged unscathed from an accident in her
Volvo, who drove 200 miles to a Volvo safe driving event to meet executives and
thank them for saving her life.