June 26, 2017

DRIVEN: VOLVO V40 D2 POWERSHIFT SE LUX

Dynamic performer: Volvo's new V40 goes as well as it looks
  • Volvo V40 D2 review
  • Volvo V40 D2 review
  • Volvo V40 D2 review
  • Volvo V40 D2 review
  • Volvo V40 D2 review
  • Volvo V40 D2 review
  • Volvo V40 D2 review
  • Volvo V40 D2 review
  With the introduction of the new V40, Volvo has finally brought to market an attractive medium – sized premium hatchback alternative, to compete with the usual German crowd (Audi A3, BMW 1-series, VW Golf). Volvo’s have always been known for their safety and comfort, but recent models, such as the C30, have offered far more kerb - if not driver appeal. This new V40 aims to provide the complete package. A quick glance confirms that it’s certainly got it covered in the looks department, with a sleek, sporting profile and distinctive rear end, reminiscent of the P1800 ES 1970s classic. Being based on the current Ford Focus platform also means the V40 drives as well as it looks, with responsive brakes and nicely weighted steering. Using a MacPherson and multi-link suspension set-up affords this mid-sized hatch with a comfortable, if firm ride. On smooth roads and motorways it can’t be faulted, but on rougher surfaces and around town it can feel a bit fidgety, although body roll is tightly controlled in bends. Refinement levels are very good indeed for this class of car – with engine, road and wind noise all well contained. Sitting at the bottom of the diesel-engine lineup, this 1560 cc 4-cyclinder D2 might only have 115 hp, but thanks to 270Nm of torque on tap from 1750 – 2500 rpm it always feels strong - even on A-roads and motorways - where the low-down grunt provides plenty of get-up-and-go for overtaking. Although smooth once underway, one criticism of this D2 automatic model is the over sensitive throttle when pulling away from a standstill. Of course, being a Volvo, safety is still number one priority - and thanks to a raft of new innovations, this hatchback can lay claim to being the safest car ever tested by Euro NCAP - the arsenal of safety kit including an under bonnet pedestrian airbag and a standard City Safety low-speed crash avoidance system, which automatically applies the brakes if it detects an imminent low-speed collision. An extra £1,850 buys you an even more sophisticated version that incorporates pedestrian detection, while also equipping the car with lane departure warning, blindspot monitoring (BLIS), road sign information and driver alertness monitoring. Seven interior airbags also feature. The cabin looks and feels similar to that of the larger Volvo S60 and certainly has a premium feel, with a beautifully finished dashboard (featuring the firm’s now trademark floating centre console), and sophisticated driver information display. But although ergonomics of main controls are very good, the infotainment system isn’t as well thought out; its complex onscreen menus distract your attention from the road at times, plus there are too many small buttons that are hard to tell apart at a glance. Standard kit on this high spec SE Lux trim includes: leather interior, Bluetooth, front and rear electric windows, alloy wheels and climate control, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, keyless start and LED running lights. There’s a good view of the road and plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment for the driver, while the front passenger is treated to a comfy, supportive seat and plenty of leg and head room. Those in the rear don’t do quite as well (on all counts), but it’s still far from an uncomfortable place to be, with cup holders and centre armrest. While the 335-litre boot is 45-litres smaller than that in the Volkswagen Golf, the Volvo does offer the neat trick of having a false floor, meaning extra items can be hidden away and the rear seats easily lower to reveal a flat load space. Plenty of storage and cubbies are also located throughout the interior. Verdict: A Volvo V40 will set you back slightly more than the equivalent Volkswagen Golf, but it’s priced in line with BMW’s 1 Series, has plenty of equipment, and its running costs are competitive. This D2 Powershift SE Lux skillfully blends performance, economy, comfort and prestige in one stylish… yet incredibly safe package. Tech spec: Volvo V40 D2 Powershift SE Lux Nav OTR Price: £25,320 Max power: 115 hp Max torque: 270 Nm 0-62 mph: 12.1 seconds CO2 emissions: g/km) 102 Claimed combined mpg: 72.4 Tax band: B      
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