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Brief Overview of Volvo S40/V40 2001 Model Changes (USA, 2001)

johna posted 2 years ago

Excerpt from a 2001 Volvo USA press release with details about the phase 2 S40 and V40.

S40 and V40 (Major Changes to Interior and Exterior)

The remarkably successful introduction of the S40 and V40 was a milestone for Volvo in North America. For the first time, Volvo extended a magnificent opportunity to the Pre-Family customer segment, introducing more new people to the Volvo New Car Showroom, and the full selection of Volvo cars for consumers in all stages of life. Clearly, the S40 and V40 act as a gateway to the rest of the Volvo product line, opening new possibilities for the North American consumer.

As we build new relationships with a "new wave" of Volvo-minded customers, the S40 and V40 also reinforce the strong bonds with our current Volvo owners by presenting a new alternative for finding the perfect fit for their product and lifestyle needs.

IC (Inflatable Curtain)

The SIPS structure and the SIPS bags included in the 2000 S40 and V40 were two very important advancements in the effort to reduce injuries during side collisions. The Inflatable Curtain (IC) was initiated as an R&D project in 1997 together with WHIPS, and represented another major step in that overall goal. It is one element in Volvo's multifaceted Side Impact Protection System, and is designed to help protect the head area on impact.

• The curtains, one on each side, are woven in one piece and hidden inside the roof lining. They cover the upper part of the interior, from the A-pillar to the rear side C-pillar, thereby protecting the occupants in the front and rear seats.
• The IC is activated by the same sensors that control the SIPS bags. They are "slave" sensors to a central sensor, which determines where the impact is and which bag should be triggered in order to help protect the occupants. The Inflatable Curtain is only activated on the side that is hit. If only the rear sensor is affected, the IC is activated but not the SIPS bag.
• The ducts in the curtain are filled within 25 milliseconds by the same harmless gas as is used to inflate the front and side airbags (mostly nitrogen). The curtain slowly starts to deflate after about three seconds in order to provide maximum protection in complicated collisions (multiple impacts over a period of time).
• The ducts do not cover the entire surface of the curtain. Instead, they are concentrated in the areas, which are most likely to be hit by the occupants’ heads. As a result, the need for gas is limited and the activation time is minimal.
• The ducts act to help prevent the head from hitting surfaces inside of the car, but it also helps prevent the head from coming in contact with objects that could be introduced into the interior of the car from the outside (e.g., components from another vehicle).
• Because the curtain extends almost to the bottom of the side glass, it also helps to keep the passengers and passenger limbs inside the car - instead of being partially thrown out of the side windows.
• The IC inflates and expands inwards when triggered and does not rely on the glass for support. Therefore the system is equally effective whether the windows are open or closed.

Following the Volvo safety tradition, the Inflatable Curtain is introduced as standard equipment to the S40 and V40 for 2001. While the Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) side airbags remain, the Inflatable Curtain will now provide head protection.

ISO-FIX Attachment Points

The 2001 S40 and V40 will be factory-fitted with ISO-FIX, a new industry standard for attaching child seats in all vehicles. Volvo will introduce an ISO-FIX Child Seat System, to be available as an accessory sometime later in calendar year 2000. The ISO-FIX system will allow parents to safely and conveniently attach and detach a child or infant seat that is a perfect fit for their Volvo, while being assured that the seat is properly - and safely - attached; quickly and error-free. The system package, when available, will include two rear facing seats (infant and child), and a supporting frame. The supporting frame will connect to ISO-FIX attaching points, which will be engineered into every S40 and V40. Although the ISO-FIX attachment points cannot be retro-fitted to earlier Volvos, the supporting frame and two seats can be used conventionally in other vehicles making this a convenient seating option for parents when switching between vehicles is necessary.

Dual-Stage Front Airbag System

The 2001 S40 and V40 will also add a dual-stage airbag system for both driver and passenger in the front seat to help further reduce the risk of injury. Dual-stage airbags deploy differently and with different force depending on the severity of the crash and the status of the seat belts. The system senses how quickly the car has decelerated, or movement has been retarded, and uses this information to determine the pressure at which the bags should inflate. See the table below for details:

* Trigger threshold depends on the collision severity. Level 1 = low collision severity, Level 5 = high collision severity

Trigger thresholdFront seat. Driver and passenger Rear seat
Not using seatbeltUsing seatbelt
Level 1Nothing activatedSeatbelt pretensioners activatedNothing activated
Level 2Slow pressure increase of airbag. (70%)Seatbelt pretensioners activatedNothing activated
Level 3Slow pressure increase of airbag. (70%)Slow pressure increase of airbag. Seatbelt pretensioners already activated.Seatbelt pretensioners activated.
Level 4Rapid pressure increase of airbag. (100%)Slow pressure increase of airbag. Seatbelt pretensioners already activatedSeatbelt pretensioners activated.
Level 5Rapid pressure increase of airbag. (100%)Rapid pressure increase of airbag. Seatbelt pretensioners already activated.Seatbelt pretensioners activated.

* The three seatbelt pretensioners in the rear seat are designed to activate at the same time and always at trigger threshold 3. This is regardless of whether someone is sitting in the rear seat and whether they are using a seatbelt or not.
* The SRS control unit calculates the entire collision sequence. In the calculations, level of collision severity is included, and thus also the trigger threshold that will be reached. Only then are the above components activated according to the above pattern.

RN Generation Engine

The 2001 S40 and V40 engine will be an RN generation engine. You may already be familiar with the RN generation engines that the MY 2000 S80 incorporates. RN stands for Revised N. The N Series - Volvo's modular engine family comprising four, five and six-cylinder all-aluminum engines - has now been extensively upgraded and improved in order to comply with 21st century fuel efficiency and emissions requirements, hence the R. The improved engine will provide better fuel economy, and approximately 8 more foot-pounds of torque with the RN modifications. The new engine will also have Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) on the exhaust camshaft.

5-Speed Automatic Transmission

The 2001 S40 and V40 will be equipped with a new 5-speed automatic transmission, replacing the MY 2000 4-speed automatic transmission. The new transmission will improve performance in three areas. First, fuel economy will be improved due to the "longer" ratio of the 5th gear, especially when driven on the highway. Next, slight acceleration, performance, and top speed improvements are achieved due to the smaller steps between the gears. The shorter first gear provides for better "take off" performance. Shift comfort is improved due to the smaller steps in-between gears and the latest generation transmission management. The new gearbox also provides noise level reductions especially while driving under highway conditions, again because of the "longer" ratio of the 5th gear compared with the MY 2000 4th gear. The "Neutral Control" feature now lowers idle vibrations when the S40 and V40 are standing still and in drive with the brakes applied. The transmission will also be automatically adaptive to customer's driving style, eliminating the need for the "E" and "S" buttons on the shift control console. The "W" button for wet and winter driving conditions will still remain to allow the S40 and V40 owner to maintain control in inclement weather conditions.

Comfort and Styling - Interior

Interior Color Scheme

The 2001 S40 and V40 will have a new light color scheme, Taupe/Light Taupe. This scheme will replace the MY 2000 Silver Grey color. This makes the interior more appealing than the previous Silver Grey color, while adding a richer, more dynamic character. By combining two colors (Taupe and Light Taupe) in the interior, the color tones for the dashboard, seats and door panels function in a more harmonious and spirited way.

Enhanced Seating Styling

The 2001 S40 and V40 will incorporate a new seat foam design, which improves long-term durability and gives a more sporty appearance. The leather upholstery will have a new grain and will be more environmentally friendly by being chromium-free.

Center Stack Styling

The center stack is reconfigured in the 2001 S40 and V40 to be more comfortable and functional for the owner's enjoyment. The stack is now more anatomically and ergonomically designed, bearing a much stronger resemblance to the S80. The climate control unit is now easier to use and the radio controls have been made more stylish. A lower storage area is also added to the center stack console for owner convenience.

Door Panels and Switches

The driver's door panel will now have all window switches and power mirrors adjustment controls, rather than them being located on the center tunnel. The passenger door will have power window control added. Both the driver's and passenger's doors will have the remote central door-locking button fitted.

Interior Lighting

The rear reading lamps are moved into one interior lamp placed in the rear part of the headlining. This lamp eliminates the need for the V40 luggage compartment lamp.

Heated Front Seats (Component of Weather Package)

The heated front seats will still be available as part of the Weather Package, but the heating control has been refined. The heating control now features a more accurate thermostatically controlled two heat level function, as the S80 does now. If the heated seat button is pushed once, seat heating will be activated with maximum heating capacity. If the button is pushed once more, the heating is reduced to a lower level. This allows the owner to have a greater level of comfort in cold weather situations.

Sunroof (Component of Sunroof Package)

The sunroof control will now allow for simple one-touch opening.

Comfort and Styling - Exterior

Volvo engineers have made some subtle changes to an already attractive design for the 2001 S40 and V40.

Front Bumper

The front bumper of the S40 and V40 now has an integrated front spoiler, and new, refined fog lamps can be ordered as options.


In 2001, all S40 and V40's will have dual headlamps.


New fenders are wider to cover the new wider track of the cars.

Side Molding

There has been a reduction in length of the side molding in the 2001 cars.

Rear Lights

The rear lights will now use clear lens technology like the S80.

V40 Rear Panel

The rear panel between the rear lights has been restyled.

New Colors

The 2001 S40 and V40 will have more colors available than ever before. Five new colors will be added for MY 2001. Pacific Blue and Summer Green will no longer be available, but new colors Atlantic Blue, Desert Wind, and Peacock Green will be available as metallic colors. A new solid color, Panama Yellow, will be available by special order.

New Tires

The S/V40 MY01 will have three different tire brands: Michelin, Continental and Goodyear. Goodyear is new for MY 01:

• Michelin MXV4 - 195/60 R15
• Continental CV95 - 195/60 R15
• Goodyear Eagle LS - 195/60 R15

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