The Volvo S40 was produced by NedCar beginning in 1995, which is a smaller subsidiary company of Mitsubishi Motors; this lasted until 2004 before Volvo Cars took over manufacturing. Since 2005, the S40 has been produced by Volvo as a compact car, and the Ford Motor Company produces the vehicle for the South African market. In its 16-year history, the S40 has evolved to be a powerful and aesthetically pleasing automobile.
Beneath the smooth hood of the upscale S40 lies a turbocharged 2.5 liter I5 engine that produces 227 horsepower and 300 foot-pounds of torque when combined with the six-speed manual transmission; however, a smaller 1.6 liter I4 is present in the base model. Both the four-door sedan and five-door station wagon model provide enough leg room for four passengers, and additional cargo space is available in the wagon models. The S40 is assembled in Ghent, Belgium, including Pretoria, South Africa, and Chongqing, China.
Even though the S40 has been on the market since 1995, it has only experienced two generations of redesign. However, both generations provide up to seven optional engines and at least three different transmissions to choose from. The second generation was given a facelift that brought more rounded curves to the car and improved upon its overall design such as revamped grille, headlamps and tail lights. Also, the 2.5 liter turbocharged engine is only available in the newer models after 2006.
In 2008, the S40 was given a minor redesign and featured new improvements such as increased storage capacity and higher quality audio systems. Additional safety features were added, including improved emergency brake lights that flash more rapidly than before. Standard in the SE Lux models are new Active Bi-Xenon headlamps that aim the light towards the road even as it curves. An optional camera can be placed in the side mirrors which alert the driver of vehicles passing the car.
The Volvo S40 has won many awards and was nominated for many more during its 16 years in production. In 2009, the S40 diesel model was the overall winner of the Green Award by the British Car Buyer's Guide. Money Weekly named the S40 The Most Humanized Car Model in 2010. In 2005, the S40 was a finalist for the Car of the Year Award and won the Best New Sport Compact Canadian Car of the Year from Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. Also, the Car Book named the 2010 model a Best Bet in terms of auto safety.
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