Stream­lined in ele­gance

Volvo’s lit­tle stun­ner doesn’t sac­ri­fice safety, re­ports

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kentmotors -

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

Jeff Fuidge

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.

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