Volvo is either a brand you love or hate. In saying that, you would probably either consider it or not at all. We really believe Volvo has got a winner here with the V40 and we’re going to convince you to take one for a drive.
The T4 is placed in the upper range of Volvo’s V40 stable with power just a tad bit down from the top of the range T5. Alright, it’s about 50kw down and while that might sound like a lot, the 132kw on this 1.6 T4, with its 270nm of torque, actually makes for a very driveable everyday car. No, it’s not a hot hatch per-se, but it is a performance orientated hatch, which means it has got some decent grunt which will make your choice so much easier to live with.
Let’s look at the interior; our model was fitted with optional off-grey leather interior, which is sort of between grey and blue and we feel that this really individualises the car in terms of personalisation. Not only does the different colour look great, it also gives it a much more of an upmarket feel. Let’s get one thing straight, the V40 T4 is no entry level baby and Volvo has done pretty well to remind us of that. This car comes with mostly everything you need, from Xenon headlights with washers, to a premium audio system featuring USB, Bluetooth and navigation. The centre dash waterfall is still there and still offers a nifty little wallet stash behind it. If you are an ex Volvo driver, you will still appreciate the modern or futuristic art that goes with it.
The T4 was also specked up with a sportier suspension and 18inch Midir alloys which, we think, is probably the best looking wheel in the Volvo catalogue. This gives the V40 a very aggressive look, much like it could compete in the hot hatch fighting circle. However, seeing as we are a few pony’s short, we would rather not attempt that. We would like to summon the troops when we get our paws on the lovely T5 with 180+kw!
The 132kw version with over boost is not slow. Our power-shift automatic version, which is usually down on paper in terms of performance testing, did an impressive 8.4second 0-100kph sprint and ran the 400m in a 16.2 seconds, which puts it right up there and pretty closely matched with the older Golf 5 GTI, which in its time was a very good hot hatch. One thing we did note was the impressive fuel economy which hovered around the 6.5l/100km in our mixed driving conditions.
Volvo has also been one of the first brands to pioneer pedestrian safety and, as an option, you can now order your V40 with a pedestrian airbag which should deploy and cover about 35 % of the windscreen. According to Volvo, this will reduce the severity of pedestrian injuries.
The V40 is also fitted with the likes of ABS, EBD, EBA, dual front, side, rear and driver knee airbags. One thing is for sure, Volvo has not skimped out on safety since they changed ownership.
The interior specification on this car can be matched with nearly anything the likes of BMW or Audi can throw at it and it will come out pretty good against those brands. The Volvo is no longer an underdog in this fight; it’s really a brand which is going to sink its teeth into the young and trendy demographic.
Watch out for a V40 parked on your block. They are coming…
The V40 starts at R281 200 for the base model and our T4 model in base trim will retail at R316 800. For more info check out volvocars.co.za