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Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

TEST DRIVE VOLVO V40

REAT de­sign means not just look­ing good, but be­ing good – and the re­cently-re­freshed Volvo V40 hatch­back achieves both.

Let’s deal with the look­ing good first.

The re­place­ment for the S40 sa­loon was launched in 2012 and has since be­come Volvo’s best-sell­ing model in the UK.

So it is no surprise that when it came to the re­vamp the Swedish car com­pany’s de­sign­ers de­cided to tweak the ex­te­rior rather than in­dulge in any whole­sale changes.

So the face of the car now fea­tures natty “Thor’s Hammer” LED head­lights – bor­rowed from its larger sib­lings the XC90 and S90 – and a more in-your-face Volvo badge.

The R-De­sign Nav Plus model I drove also fea­tures sil­ver matt door mir­rors, front and rear tail­gate em­blems, roof spoiler and natty twin ex­haust pipes, plus 18-inch al­loy wheels which all add to the party.

The sleek lines, slop­ing roof and neat rear end are left in­tact so the V40 re­mains easy on the eye.

The “be­ing good” part of the equa­tion is sup­plied un­der the bon­net.

My mo­tor had the re­fined D3 2.0-litre diesel en­gine which is a de­light, pro­duc­ing 148bhp and bags of pulling power.

You’re not likely to ex­pe­ri­ence the top speed of 130mph un­less on a track, but you will be able to en­joy a 0-62mph time of a shade over eight sec­onds – helped by a slick six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion.

The real treat, though, comes in the fuel econ­omy figures. I know the “miles to go be­fore re­fu­elling” guide can be a bit flaky but, af­ter an hour’s driv­ing, mine had gone UP – from 500 to 520 miles. By my rough cal­cu­la­tions I was get­ting 60mpg-plus dur­ing a week of mixed mo­tor­ing. Mean­while, car­bon diox­ide emis­sions come in at a tax-bust­ing 99g/km.

The V40 is also avail­able with D2 and D4 oil burn­ers pro­duc­ing 118bhp and 187bhp re­spec­tively. A num­ber of petrol al­ter­na­tives are also of­fered.

It is nim­ble to drive, with the R-De­sign mod­els get­ting a sports sus­pen­sion and big­ger al­loy wheels, which make it ag­ile and sure-footed in cor­ners while still ab­sorb­ing most of the humps and hol­lows lit­ter­ing Bri­tain’s roads these days.

The in­te­rior is plush with com­fort­able sup­port­ive seats and un­der­stated bits of bling that en­hance the qual­ity feel.

The steering wheel on my model was fes­tooned with con­trols, giv­ing ac­cess to most of the car’s good­ies. It’s quite chunky so feels good in your hands.

Volvo’s classic ‘float­ing’ cen­tre con­sole re­mains in place and for those who pre­fer buttons and di­als to a modern touch­screen set-up it is a de­light.

That throw­back aside, the V40 is bang up to date on the tech­nol­ogy front.

The ‘Nav’ mod­els in­clude Volvo Sen­sus Con­nect fea­tur­ing a sev­eninch screen, voice con­trol, web apps and in­ter­net browser.

The Swedes have al­ways prided them­selves on the pro­tec­tion given to driv­ers and pas­sen­gers in their cars.

The V40 more than up­holds that tra­di­tion with R-De­sign mod­els in­clud­ing City Safety, side-im­pact and whiplash pro­tec­tion sys­tems. Also thrown in are sta­bil­ity con­trol, pedes­trian pro­tec­tion, a tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem and enough airbags to re­float the Ti­tanic.

Op­tional ex­tras in­clude am­ber lights strate­gi­cally placed to warn the driver if some­thing is ap­proach­ing through your blind spot – es­pe­cially id­iots do­ing 100mph-plus on the mo­tor­way – or if some­thing gets too close in front.

The new Volvo V40 both looks great and is a plea­sure to drive

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