The reason for the revisiting of the model was to sample the addition of a new powertrain to the T5 model in the form of a 2.0-litre turbo petrol motor and eight-speed gearbox in place of the characterful 2.5-litre five-cylinder that’s been around for a while.
Initial impressions were very good indeed with the new eight-speed gearbox making far lighter work of swapping cogs than the old-six speed, while on the engine front the charismatic five-cylinder wail is gone and in its place, a whistle-happy four-cylinder grumble, which admittedly is less satisfying but far more efficient.
The car is no slouch with 180kW/350Nm for a 0-100km/h time of 6.3 seconds. However, the addition of steering-mounted paddles would be a welcome addition to enhance the performance sensation. The car did not achieve its 5.9 litres/100km claimed consumption figure however, at times, I did see it dip under 8.0 litres/100km even with some spirited driving.
Other than the new powertrain, the same plus and minus points affect the Volvo’s best-selling car locally. The boost is still a bit on the small side, while the ride can become unsettled at times. On the plus side, it’s still one of the safest cars on the road and is beautifully screwed together.
I had the V40 T5 Elite on test, which retails for R445 800, which is more than a Golf GTI but less than the Mercedes-Benz A-Class A250 Sport with which it competes. The fact remains, if you want a safe, relatively fast, suave hatchback, the V40 still makes a compelling left-field choice.