Is also for verve

It’s eas­ily Volvo’s best com­pact to date, but the op­po­si­tion is daunt­ing

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

1.6-litre turbo diesel. The key new tech­nol­ogy— the im­proved City Safety soft­ware and a pedes­trian impact airbag sys­tem— will be stan­dard.

The look and feel of the in­te­rior plas­tics on the V40 is a marked step up and the equip­ment level is pre­dicted to bet­ter its ri­vals. For the record, the A3 starts at $41,300 and the BMWfrom $39,593.


As a car pitched at the the pres­tige mar­ket, there’s a lot of tech in the V40 and most of it is use­ful. An in­stru­ment panel with three sep­a­rate themes brings, ac­cord­ing to Volvo, the ‘‘ in­ter­ac­tion be­tween car and driver into a new di­men­sion’’.

Rub­bish, but it’s a good gim­mick that might im­press po­ten­tial buy­ers. The in­for­ma­tion, lay­out and colours change de­pend­ing on the theme— ele­gance, eco and per­for­mance. Blue­tooth with au­dio stream­ing will be a more ap­pre­ci­ated fea­ture, but own­ers will be re­warded if they take the time to dig through the menus and learn what

this car can do.


Wide and low is the look Volvo set for the V40, to em­pha­sise size in the com­pact hatch. It works— the car squats on the road and the wedgy de­sign is in­stantly iden­ti­fied as a Volvo front or rear. The in­te­rior is a step up from the C30 and shows Volvo is se­ri­ous about be­ing seen as a pres­tige player. The grey plas­tics on pre­vi­ous cars have been re­placed by a classier char­coal look that is soft to the touch on all the key sur­faces. A 5.0-inch in­fo­tain­ment screen jumps to 7.0 inches if the sat­nav op­tion is ticked, but the res­o­lu­tion is good even on the base unit.

The only crit­i­cism ap­plies to the rear seats where adults will be long­ing for leg room.


Sav­ing lives— the oc­cu­pants’ and those around them— is the hook on which Volvo has long hung its hat. The V40 takes that to the next level and Volvo ex­pects five stars. Eight airbags are stan­dard, in­clud­ing the world-first pedes­trian impact airbag.

The sys­tem uses seven ac­celerom­e­ters to de­ter­mine whether the front bumper has hit a hu­man leg, rather than a pole or shop­ping cen­tre bol­lard. If it is hu­man, it gives more than the metal ob­jects. At that point, the sys­tem fires a pair of ex­plo­sive charges to pop up the rear of the bon­net, giv­ing more cush­ion­ing dis­tance be­fore the pedes­trian hits the en­gine— and mak­ing room for an airbag to de­ploy and cover the trail­ing edge of the bon­net and the base of the wind­screen.

The City Safety soft­ware pre-brakes the car if it an­tic­i­pates a rear-en­der with an­other ve­hi­cle. The thresh­old has been raised from 30km/h to 50km/h in the V40.

Blind-spot as­sis­tance, lane

World first: Pro­tec­tion in­cludes an airbag for pedes­tri­ans

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