Volvo’s all-new V40 has arrived in Ireland, having tested it in Italy earlier this year, I was keen to get to grips with the car on Irish roads. The good news is that it wasn’t just the stunning scenery and fantastic Italian summer weather, that lent me to become fond of the V40 quite quickly, it’s just as pleasant a car to drive across Ireland in wet weather. It’s squarely aimed at taking on such cars as BMW’s 1 Series, the Audi A3 and the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, all of which are categorised in the Premium C-Segment. The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class won’t be here for a few months yet, but in terms of style the 1 Series and A3 have some serious competition from the V40. Its low-slung bonnet and coupe-like roofline give the V40 a modern sporty appearance. The interior is bright, modern and functional with an array of switch gear concentrated in the central instrument panel. There’s a quality tactile feeling to the switches which are clear and straightforward to use. The V40’s interior feels more spacious to its closet rivals for both front and rear seat occupants.
Prices for the V40 commence from €26,995 with a choice of either the diesel powered D2 115hp ES model, or the T3 150hp ES petrol variant. My test car was the D3 model, power comes from a 2.0-litre five-cylinder engine that’s got a sound somewhat uncharacteristically sound accustomed to a diesel, it sounds fantastic. There’s ample power on offer with 163hp in reserve, more significantly though it has 400Nm of torque available, resulting in impressive mid-range power. The six-speed automatic transmission is effortless to live with, taking the strain out of daily drives. A six-speed manual gearbox is fitted as standard.
The V40 is available across three trim specifications, ES, SE and SE Lux. All models come equipped with Volvo’s new Pedestrian airbag as standard. Sensors in the front bumper will activate triggers under the bonnet on impact, the bonnet is hinged upwards and the airbag inflates at the bottom of the windscreen to cushion the impact of a pedestrian hit by the car. My test car was finished to SE specification, this comes equipped with some additional equipment over the ES variant, some of these items include, cruise control, exterior chrome trim, keyless start, autofolding door mirrors and a multi-function steering wheel. In addition to these my car had a Winter Pack, Business Pack and a Style Pack fitted, all offering useful additions but at a price, my test car was €40,256 which for a car of this size is rather expensive. The V40 is a welcome addition to the Premium C-Segment where it should succeed with its subtle combination of stylish looks, comfort and intelligent safety features.[table “79” not found /]