The 400 series Volvos were manufactured in The Netherlands, at the NedCar factory at Born, the former DAF car factory. The 400 series'
production overlapped the 340 and 360, and eventually replaced them. There are 3 cars in the range: the 440 hatchback, the 460 sedan,
and the sporty 480.
The 480 looks quite unlike other Volvos of its era. In particular, it has a very sleek front, with pop-up headlights, in contrast to other
models' more upright grille. It was not popular in New Zealand: after the first two years it was available only by special order.
The 440 and 460 are smaller counterparts of the 850. They all have front wheel drive, transverse engines, and somewhat sleeker shapes
than the 300/700/900 series. With a kerb weight of 1021kg, the 440 and 460 are much lighter than the 850 (over 1500kg), and a little
lighter than many of the common 4-door and 5-door cars available new in New Zealand in 2002 (Corolla, Civic: 1.1 tonnes; Mirage: 1.2
The first 440 was introduced in 1989. The 460 followed about a year later, apparently as Volvo's entry in the 'small executive sedan'
class. The difference in shape is at the back, where the 460's rear window comes down at a steeper angle, and the overall length is
increased, giving some real size to the boot lid. The 460 fared poorly in a 1990 comparative review, against competing Audi, Rover and
Lancia models. It was never imported new into New Zealand.
Initially, they all featured a 1.7 litre engine, with a carb, fuel injection, twin point FI & turbo. The carb variant was somewhat
troublesome, and has been discontinued. In 1993 the 400 series became available with a 2 litre B20F engine in an upgraded design, and the
trim was changed to resemble the 850's more closely. The range came with 1.6, 1.8 & 2 Litre engines. In 1995, 5-spoke alloy wheels became
Here are some miscellaneous points about the design of the 440. In general, the car is pleasantly and thoughtfully designed.
Being a lightweight front wheel drive car, the 440 is unsuitable for heavy towing. The owner's manual states a 1200kg limit.
There is only a narrow field of view for a driver's side shoulder check,
because of the thick pillars. (The middle pillar looks like it contains a roll bar. The bulge continues all the way across the interior of the roof.) The design of the driver's side mirror mitigates this problem: the outermost 25% is convex, thus reducing the size of that blind spot.
Plastic is used extensively for non-structural components. Sometimes this is a good thing: stone chips on the wing mirror fairings won't rust. Sometimes it's not so good: when the split/folding rear seat is folded down, its plastic back creaks ominously under load.
There are several useful minor lights (in the GLT, at least). Pull the driver's door handle, and an LED comes on inside the keyhole, just in case you were having trouble finding it in the dark. There are 4 independent reading lights.
There are two reinforced threaded holes in the floor of the boot, which fit the standard anchor bolts for baby car seat tethers.
There is a deliberate asymmetry in the rear fog light layout. There is one on the driver's side only. This makes sense: the one
bright fog light is enough to show that the car's there, and is easier to distinguish from the brake lights than it would be if there were fog lights on both sides.
The front screen washers are under the near end of the bonnet, rather than coming up through the bonnet. The one on the right (in a right hand drive car) does not seem to have a happy medium setting between squirting the wiper (too low) and showering the motorcyclist waiting behind you at the traffic lights (too high).
The jack is very easy to operate. It slots into a jack point beside the wheel you're working on, and hangs there in exactly the right place while you extend it, rather than having to be raised from the ground.
The front seats have adjustable lumbar support.
The 400 series was replaced by the 40 series (S40 sedan and V40 station wagon) in 1996.