Streamlined in elegance
Volvo’s little stunner doesn’t sacrifice safety, reports
Normally associated with cavernous vehicles like the legendary 240GL, Volvo has launched into the luxury compact car market with a sleek and neat five-door beauty to take on the big boys.
When anyone mentions Volvo, the first thing which springs to my mind is the magnificent 240GL Wagon. A massive shed of a car, it could easily accommodate a family of five, a couple of suitcases and the dogs as well – it became an icon of the brand and was so popular it was kept on the production line for 18 years.
Its popularity spread across the globe and, like few others, it straddled the social divide. It was not only a family car and a firm favourite with pipesmoking middle-aged bearded men, it was also much vaunted by the moneyed gentry who carried their gun dogs and families between stately piles.
The final 240GL came off the production lines in 1993 and Volvo continues to build good
quality cavernous vehicles. Now it aims to take on the premium luxury compact market and with the classy and sleek five-door V40 D2 SE Lux competes against the likes of Audi and Mercedes and BMW.
Unlike its boxy, elderly relative, the V40 is streamlined, neat and elegant with a manual six-geared 1.6-litre diesel unit which turned in an average 63.8mpg from 890-or so miles of motorway, dual carriageways, A roads and country lanes.
The model I drove had an extras package which included heated leather front seats, an easy to use and accurate satnav on a 5in screen, DAB radio, Bluetooth, adaptive cruise control and many more.
Typically for Volvo safety is a priority and here we have pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind spot information system on both sides, collision warning with full auto brake and a lanekeeping aid. It also has sensors front and back, parallel parking assist and a rear park assist camera to help keep the bodywork scratch free.
As far as driving is concerned, the V40, though a tad heavy on the steering, delivers a comfortable and steady drive which offers a taste of luxury you would expect for much more than the £31,870 price tag of my test car.
With 60mph reached in 11.9 seconds, this is one car which is built for comfort and not speed, but saying that it still delivers a constant 70mph with quiet ease and will happily stay there all day. While it won’t appeal to the boy racers, it is more likely to catch the eye of motorists whose preferences are economy, comfort, safety and good looks.
Whether it competes at the same level as its rivals remains to be seen.
The V40 range is available from (T2 ES) £18,940. The V40 D2 SE Lux Nav version is available from £25,520.
For more information on the full range of Volvo’s models go to www.volvocars.com/uk/
Transmission: Manual Fuel type: Diesel Average tested mpg: 83.1 CO2 emissions: g/km – 88g/km Engine size: 1560 Power: 115bhp Acceleration: 0-62 in 11.9 seconds Top speed: 118mph IN A NUTSHELL It’s a lovely looking car with all the lumps in the right places and every gadget at your fingertips, is economic and has comfort to spare. On the down side lack of somewhere to rest my feet while using cruise control left me a little fidgety at times.