I must confess that when I hopped into the driver seat of the V40, I was not sure what to expect. How could they style a car with so much bark and not have some bite to it? Let’s be honest; how quick could a 1.6 actually be.
Things are not always what they appear. It’s just one of those things and the v40 is very much that. The V40 is going to change the way the younger generation is seeing the brand forever and I’m sure it might have been said with the likes of the C30 a couple of years ago but, in fact, it was only really (dare I say it) a yuppies answer to the Ford Focus ST.
If I recall, it was a little heavier and slightly slower, too.
Just look at the curves and lines of the V40. It is styled towards the sportier hot hatch side of the market, yet with only 110kw and 230nm, how hot could this hatch be? Power is pretty much down from most of the other cars, but to be pretty frank, this little car runs pretty well for what it is. The T3 engine is a four cylinder. No, the 3 in T3 has got nothing to do with the previous generations of T4’s and T5’s cylinder configuration, although, the T4 and T5 also exist in this platform and indicate exactly that. (Hrmmm, okay then!).
The T3 is a 1.6 Double Over Head Cam, direct turbo injection engine making 110kw and a whopping 270nm of torque on over boost. The engine is mated to a very tall ratio gearbox, resulting in superb fuel economy on the open road. In our mixed driving conditions, which went from open road cruising to performance testing, we came in at 7.0 liters a hundred over 700km.
In our performance testing we drove the car over some of the Cape’s most demanding roads and the car surprised us. So much so, that under further investigation I discovered a front strut brace under the bonnet. The suspension is a little harder than what I would expect from a car like this. It’s comfortable on the highway, but can get a little bumpy on those older roads found in the country. Nevertheless, I think that for a hatch which is a little sportier than some of its rivals, it handles and drives extremely well.
Our performance figures weren’t earth shattering and with our short testing our quickest 0-100kph came to 9.5seconds, .7seconds off the claimed figure. The 1/4m figures we’re in the high 17seconds. Yet again, a pretty impressive for a car weighing in at 1.35 tons and only making 110kw.
The interior is full leather with a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel. Volvo has kept the interior multimedia recessed in the dash and the majority of it and the cars settings are controlled from what I like to call the “waterfall”. Yes that beautiful centre console is still a signature Volvo interior trademark. Why change something if it works so well? Bluetooth support with USB in the centre cubby is available standard.
The driver seat is full electronically adjustable with manual lumbar support. The passenger will have to put some muscle in to adjust their seats, but it is still fully adjustable, in height too.
Volvo has always been known for being one of the safest cars on the roads and it goes without speaking that this model is no different. A 5 star Ncap rating is still apparent with all Volvo’s. The V40 Excel model is also fitted with City Safety, an intuitive system that will help you avoid collisions up to 15km/h. Anti-lock brakes with hydraulic brake assist is standard, it even features hill assist and ready alert brakes where severe braking is anticipated and pads are moved closer to the disks. Combined with fading brake support, makes the V40 a real stopper.
The new V40 is a great car which brings a fresh wind into the Volvo stable. Right now it’s a proper hatch which not only looks superb, but will also compete very well with the competition.
The V40 is also available in a D2, which returns silly fuel economy, a D3 making great torque, a T4 producing 132kw and a top of the range T5, making 187kw. All of them can be individually specced. Pick either one – you won’t go wrong.
V40 prices start at R281 200. For more info, check out volvocars.co.za