The Volvo 440 and 460 are versions of a family car produced by the Swedish carmaker Volvo Cars. They were built at the DAF factory in the Netherlands, and released in Europe in 1987 and 1989 respectively.

The 440 was a 5-door front wheel drive hatchback and the 460 a saloon. They shared many components with the already-successful Volvo 480, including floorpan, front and rear suspension, engines, transmission and braking systems.

Design and styling

The Volvo 440/460 series were designed to fit in below Volvo's bigger saloon and estate cars as a replacement to the 340/360 series. First generation 400 series cars resemble the bigger 940, whilst the facelifted example bore a resemblance to the Volvo 850. The interiors of the 400 series variants were designed by famed Volvo designer Peter Horbury.


Safety has always been an issue of primary importance to Volvo, who have developed many features since adopted widely throughout the car industry. Crumple zones were incorporated into the design of 400 series cars, aided by a 'collapsible' steering column to help prevent driver injury in the event of an accident. Other safety items included a high-level brake-light; a 'bulb blown' warning system; 'door open' warning light; adjustable seat belts with pretensioners and a seatbelt reminder/warning light: all of which all came as standard on all models throughout the range.

Safety was further improved on models from 1993 onward with the introduction of side-impact protection. This was virtually unheard of at the time, and was provided (again as standard) by the forerunner of the SIPS system used on all modern Volvo cars. The SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) system, which includes airbag, further uprated side impact protection and various hooks, straps and pulleys to secure items in the boot, also became available for the first time from 1994. UK models also included daytime running lights as standard although these could be disabled by the dealer at the owner's request.

The original advertising campaign for the 400 range centred on occupant safety. A family of crash test dummies appeared to 'survive' intact after driving the car through a plate glass office window some storeys up. Various other scenarios simulating crashes were employed in addition, all of which ended with the family walking away relatively unharmed — only to be used again in further crash tests.

Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) Option

It is worthy of note that not all 440s or 460s fitted with automatic gearboxes had the CVT (constantly variable transmission) version, the majority having a conventional 4-speed automatic. The CVT gearbox, as fitted to some of the second generation 440/460 series, differs from the earlier, rubber belt driven system as employed in the previous 340. The system as used in the 400 series makes use of steel belts, and was known as 'Transmatic'. This differs from the rubber belt-driven system in the 340, which was known as 'Variomatic'. A dispute arose over Volvo's use of the Transmatic system in the 400 series, with DAF claiming in court that Volvo did not have permission to use the Transmatic system. DAF won the case, leading to the withdrawal of the CVT gearbox from the options list some time after. This, as well as the curious operating nature of the CVT gearbox, mean that relatively few CVT-equipped 400 series cars exist.

Standard specifications

The specifications of most models of 440 and 460 were relatively high when compared with similarly priced alternatives. The list of options included as 'standard' grew and changed regularly throughout the lifespan of the car, varying from country to country and later also differing according to trim level. Furthermore, various 'special editions' were also introduced with equipment differing from that found as standard on all other models; making any more general comparison difficult.

Heated front seats were found across the entire range, as was a 5-speed gearbox; adjustable seatbelt with pre-tensioners; folding two-thirds split rear seats; lockable glovebox with light; and boot and ashtray lights. Options listed as standard on later models include anti-lock brakes (ABS); traction control; front fog lights; separate reading lights for passengers in the back (located in the rear grab handles and cleverly shielded from the driver's view); Radio\cassette player with 6 High-fidelity Blaupunkt stereo speakers; tinted UV-blocking windows; Map-reading lights; Graduated sun visor; Self-supporting (propless) bonnet; rear window wash/wipe; lumbar support; electric windows/mirrors; heated wing mirrors; central locking; tachometer. The driver's console on all models housed an array of warning lights, a rheostat and a lambda sensor monitor.

There were two generations of 440\460: the 'Mark 2' replacing the original model from 1994. Changes included a new bonnet and nose, new rear light clusters, body-coloured bumpers, a different grille and numerous new options of engine, spec. level and equipment. The changes made the cars resemble the very successful Volvo 850 model more closely.


Both 440 and 460 had a 1.7-litre Renault engine at launch, carried over from the Volvo 300 Series; this was available between 1988 and 1,992 in (50,597 mm) two different versions with a carburettor (with 79 PS (58 kW; 78 hp) and 128 N·m (94 lb·ft) or 87 PS (64 kW; 86 hp) and 130 Nm), multipoint fuel injection in two different versions (with 95 PS (70 kW; 94 hp) and 140 N·m (100 lb·ft) or 106 PS (78 kW; 105 hp) and 140 N·m (100 lb·ft)) in the early GLT models and with multipoint fuel injection and a turbocharger with intercooler. The standard 1,721 cc powerplant sported 106 bhp (79 kW; 107 PS) and an announced top speed of 185 km/h (115 mph), which was marginally superior to some of its contemporary counterparts of the same class, such as the Volkswagen Passat or the Opel Vectra (their 1.8-litre engines only had 90 bhp). The turbocharged version offered 122 bhp (91 kW) and an announced top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph). These kind of performances put it on par with higher-end 1.8-litre engines, such as the BMW 318 or 518 of the time, and equalled the performance of a host of other 2.0-litre engines of the time.

From 1992 the engines offered were substantially different, with the range now offering 1.6i (84 bhp (63 kW; 85 PS)), 1.8i (89 bhp (66 kW; 90 PS)), and 2.0i (110 bhp (82 kW; 112 PS)) naturally aspirated petrol engines in addition to the 1.7-litre turbo option found in the mark 1 range. The 1.6 was equipped with multipoint-fuel injection; the 1.8 engine had singlepoint-injection and the 2.0 came with a choice of singlepoint- and multipoint-injection units - the older 1.7 turbocharged version however had more power.

From 1994, the engines became slightly more powerful. Diesel versions also became available: a 1.9-litre Renault turbodiesel option (89 bhp) was offered, badged as either TD or Turbo Diesel, depending on which European market the car was sold in. Volvo also released a limited market 1.8 HTA - the "High Tech Auto," using a much improved electric belt assisted CVT auto transmission but it was short lived and not many models survive.

Trim levels

Early cars were available in GL, GLE, GLT and Turbo trims. The GL trim level was basic; GLE was plush; and GLT was the 'luxury' trim level. GLT and Turbo were externally similar, both featuring lowered sports suspension and a large rear spoiler. Other trim levels were gradually phased in, such as limited edition Si and Xi, and Turbo later became simply an engine variant, rather than a full trim variant.

From 1992, the range was the same for a year-and-a-half. As a result of the 1994 facelift, the range altered drastically. Trim levels were now: base, S (which was intended as a "family" variant), Si (intended as a "sports" variant), SE ("business" variant), GLT ("performance" variant) and CD ("luxury" variant) trims. An Li model also appeared in 1994, offering base spec with the addition of power steering (and, on later models, a sunroof).

From at least 1995 onwards, all engine choices were available with all trim levels.

The later Si models and all GLT models were easily distinguishable from the rest of the range, due to the additions of sports suspension (making the car ride visibly lower) and a large rear spoiler. The GLT's specification was, however, significantly higher in featuring part leather upholstery, alloy wheels, ABS, traction control and an uprated stereo system as standard equipment. The SE was also slightly more distinguishable, having a small rear spoiler which it shared only with the limited edition ES pack model. The ES pack could be added to cars of any engine variant from late 1995. It featured sports suspension, 15" alloy wheels (see below), metallic paint, door sill decals, electric front windows, electric heated mirrors, front and rear armrests, ABS and immobiliser in addition to the small spoiler and an uprated stereo unit.

The S model was also notable, having twofold-out child booster seats integrated into the car's rear seat, a dustbin incorporated in the dashboard and rear headrests. However unlike all the 300 series, the 440 had, at last split rear seats fitted.

Specification of all later cars was high, with many featuring air conditioning (particularly as a result of a special offer operated by Volvo in the UK in 1995 where £100 deleted the standard electric glass sunroof from the car's specification in favour of air-conditioning and 15" alloy wheels identical to those fitted to Volvo 850 CD models, albeit with lower-profile tyres), remote central locking, electric aerial, electric windows, electric door mirrors and heated front seats.

The line up was reduced (for example, the Si and GLT models were replaced by the GS, which had all of the Si's equipment and some of the GLT's, such as ABS) prior to production ceasing in 1997, when the Volvo S40 and Volvo V40 replaced the car.