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Volvo has updated its V40 range


In a market ruled by many a German hatchback there are other brands that tend to offer something a little different. Take Volvo for example, more specifically the V40, the Swede’s premium hatchback. It has been hiding in the shadow of the Volkswagen Golf, Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the BMW 1 Series for far too long and I can’t work out why. I travelled to Cape Town to sample the updated V40 to find out what it has on offer.

Parked outside a quaint little arty restaurant, along a bustling street somewhere in the CBD, stood three of Volvo’s updated V40 models. A Cross Country, an R-Design and a standard model graced the street with their presence. One thing I couldn’t help but notice is how all three cars blended into the vibrant, artistic atmosphere in which they found themselves in.

Time to take a closer look

As the cars sat there I struggled to notice any radical changes. It’s only once I took a closer look that I noticed some changes. For starters the grille has been redesigned and feature a vertical design for a more classic look, however on the R-Design models the grille appears to incorporate a sportier look. Mounted in the centre of the grille is the brands iron mark badge, which was first seen on the all-new XC90.

One of the more prominent updates comes in the form of the LED day-time running lights which, like the XC90 feature what Volvo calls ‘Thor’s Hammer’. The look is eye catching and I feel that it brings the car in line with the brands new generation of models. I also noticed that the cars on offer featured some new, striking wheel designs to suit customers specific desires.

Swedish hospitality

Inside the V40 one will be forgiven for missing the updates. However there are some which just enhance the cars cabin ever so slightly. Keeping with the artistic appeal of the car, the brands floating centre stack can now be enhanced with a choice of various decor panels available for a more modern feel. Customers can also select from an array of various interior colour schemes to best suit their tastes. I am definitely a fan of the City Weave which sees a blond/charcoal interior matched with a unique tweed-like textile pattern on the seats, and a two-tone blond/charcoal steering wheel.

As for practicality well the V40 tends to come across as shortened station wagon than a hatchback. I opened the rear tailgate to find a sizable boot. Rear head and leg room for passengers is also impressive.

Something for the adventurous

The V40 also come in Cross Country guise. The Cross Country features a slightly higher ride height than the city slicker, 12mm to be exact. It also features some added bits to enhance its crossover characteristics like roof rails, black bumper cladding as well as some slightly bolder nose treatment. The Cross Country will be great for those looking to head out to those isolated cycling routs. The ride in the Cross Country did feel softer over some bumpy roads.

About the ride

The updated V40 also features a range of new engines, known as Drive-E which include both turbocharged petrol and diesel engines. I drove the V40 D4 R-Design which makes use of a 140kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine. Add to the mix a smooth shifting 8-speed gearbox and the results are impressive. Low down grunt and the fantastic fuel economy stood out, it’s also rather spirited in the ‘go’ department. I also drove the T5 Cross Country model which featured a powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit developing 180kW and 350Nm. This model has AWD to deal with some of those tough conditions. It’s also a hoot through the corners and as with the D4 it also features an 8-speed automatic gearbox.

Volvo Safety

I guess it’s worth mentioning that the V40 is jam-packed with safety features, some are optional but the cars that I drove all featured blind spot assist, lane keep assist as well as ACC (Active Cruise Control) which I feel are all a must have. We, as South Africans need as much help as possible to keep us safe on our roads. Blind-Spot assist has helped me numerous times for those “where did they come from” moments.

Adjö (Swedish for goodbye)

After spending a sometime behind the wheel of the updated Volvo V40 I still can’t see why it is not as popular as the German offerings. It is, according to Volvo the safest model in the segment, it looks good and offers a fresh and vibrant feel. Sure, I think that it could do with some techno enhancements like a touch screen and a simpler control unit. While sitting on the plane heading home I had time to think about which model stood out for me the most and it was the D4 R-Design. Sure you could take it without the sports kit but the main attraction for me was undoubtedly that diesel engine.

Range overview and pricing

The new V40 range 

V40 D2         6-speed manual      Kinetic, Momentum, Inscription or R-Design from           R351 100

V40 D3         6-speed GeartronicMomentum, Inscription or R-Design from                    R432 400

V40 D4         8-speed GeartronicMomentum, Inscription or R-Design from                    R442 400

V40 T3         6-speed manual                Kinetic, Momentum, Inscription or R-Design from   R337 700

V40 T3         6-speed GeartronicMomentum, Inscription or R-Design from                    R396 500

V40 T4         6-speed manual                Momentum, Inscription or R-Design from                     R400 200

V40 T4         6-speed GeartronicMomentum, Inscription or R-Design from                    R420 300

V40 T5         8-speed GeartronicMomentum, Inscription or R-Design from                    R459 700

V40 Cross Country range

V40 Cross Country D3                 6-speed GeartronicMomentum or Inscription from           R452 700

V40 Cross Country D4                 8-speed GeartronicMomentum or Inscription from           R469 300

V40 Cross Country T4                 6-speed manual                Momentum or Inscription from       R412 500

V40 Cross Country T4                 6-speed GeartronicMomentum or Inscription from           R432 600

V40 Cross Country T5 AWD        8-speed GeartronicMomentum or Inscription from           R504 400

All V40 and V40 Cross Country models in South Africa are sold with a 5-year/ 100 000 km warranty, a 5-year/ 100 000 km Volvo Plan (full maintenance plan), Tracker Connect and tinted Llumar smash-and-grab-protected glass.

Article written by Justin Jacobs
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