Volvo’s V40 is a safe bet
Volvo is aiming its sights at the traditional European makers with its V40, which it would like you to think was a worthy alternative to the likes of BMW’s 1 Series and Audi’s A3.
The Swedish firm is chasing the “compact premium” carrot, and the V40’s refined cabin complete with high quality materials is the first sign of exactly how serious the Swedish firm is.
For all the car’s edgy exterior appearance, the V40’s interior will look familiar to fans of the brand.
Volvo’s trademark “floating” centre console has been retained along with switchgear and display ergonomics that would shame the competition.
There’s even a customisable display on selected models, which can be user configured to show economy or performance-related information to help you get the most out of the car.
On the subject of performance, the V40 is being offered with a range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, plus a choice of manual, conventional auto and direct shift DSG-style gearboxes. And it’s here that there’s evidence of a big shift in Volvo’s priorities.
Yes, the car does come with a rather clever pedestrian airbag that pops out from the base of windscreen, but low CO2 and fuel consumption have become big talking points back at the mothership in Sweden.
The reality for consumers is that you can have a V40 with a sub-100g/km CO2 figure, making this compact premium hatchback a serious contender in the fiercely competitive company car market, low Benefit in Kind tax and overall running costs are key considerations. The bottom line here is that such a performance from the 114bhp D2 diesel variant should lead to more sales and the ability for Volvo to make steady inroads into the lucrative small luxury market.
And while that’s great for Volvo’s bean counters, it should also benefit car buyers.
It’s plain to see from the V40’s cabin that you’re going to be on the receiving end of an upmarket experience: ride comfort, space for front seat occupants, equipment levels.
That in D2 trim it boasts a decent turn of speed, 0-62mph in 11.7 seconds, 118mph max speed, ensures that you don’t feel compromised by the 94g/ km CO2 and 78.5mpg ecoratings.
Three trim levels complete the V40 package, with the base ES offering more than most rivals and the others serving to shine a bright light on the Scrooge-like behaviour of the opposition.
And that’s, obviously, before you include the V40’s various safety systems, including an automated braking function that can help when driving distracted at city speeds, plus the numerous airbags and electronic stability control features.