The Volvo Ocean Race arrives in Galway on the 1st July, Volvo are using this event as a platform for the Irish launch of its all-new V40. Prior to its Irish launch we recently took a trip to Italy to experience the V40.
From launch there will be one petrol and two diesel models available to Irish motorists. The T3 petrol variant offers 150hp and 240Nm of torque from its 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine. With CO2 emissions of 125g/km it’s seated in tax band B, offering €225 annual road tax. It utilises a six-speed manual gearbox and comes complete with Start/Stop. For a petrol-powered car it returns a healthy 5.4l/100km on a combined run. However the two diesel offerings benefit from increased fuel efficiency. The D2 entry-level diesel model produces 115hp and 270Nm of torque from its 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel engine. It’s seated in tax band A with €160 annual road tax as a result of just 94g/km of CO2. It’s perhaps the most sensible model within the range and may likely be the volume seller. The D3 diesel variant offers a decent power increase with 163hp produced from its 2.0-litre five-cylinder engine. With a hefty 400Nm of torque available the mid-range power on offer is impressive. The six-speed manual version boasts tax band A placement, whilst the six-speed automatic falls into band B. As with previous Volvo five-cylinder diesel engines, this one emits a pleasant sound on acceleration and encourages you to push on at times.
I drove both manual and automatic versions of the new V40 across twisty mountainous roads surrounding Verona, with a short stretch of motorway driving thrown in. What become apparent quite quickly is how competent the V40’s chassis is, there’s plenty of grip on turn-in through the twisty mountainous roads. The steering can be adjusted to offer three different weights, with a noticeable feel between the lightest and heaviest setting. The ride is quite firm but comfortable, we will have to wait a few weeks before we can see how this fairs on Irish roads, which don’t offer the smoothest of surfaces. Whilst the automatic gearbox offers a relaxed and comfortable drive for the majority of the time, it’s not that responsive when switched into sports mode with a slight delay noticeable between gear shifts, the manual gearbox would therefore be my preferred choice. The petrol-powered model suffered from a lack of torque low down the rev range which results in more frequent gear shifts on twisty roads, whereas the diesel model was more enjoyable to drive as a result of its increased torque. Volvo has created an extremely airy and pleasant interior, the seats offer superb comfort and have a multitude of adjustment. My test car had the optional Panoramic sunroof (€1,345) which certainly increases the sense of space on offer with the additional light available. The Volvo V40 joins the likes of BMW 1 Series, the Audi A3 and the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class in the Premium C-Segment. The V40 certainly has the edge on the 1 series and A3 in the styling department, we’ve yet to see the A-Class in the flesh. With its coupe-like roofline and hook on the rear doors reminiscent of the Volvo P1800, the V40 is a handsome hatchback. There is an optional sports pack available which enhances the car’s looks with such additions as a rear roof spoiler and rear diffuser, the car also has a 10mm lowered ride height.
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. 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. It’s a positive step in the right direction for Volvo to have this potentially life saving piece of equipment fitted as standard, although it’s a shame that for the majority of their other safety and driver aids you’re required to purchase the Driver Support Pack (from €1,395). The entry-level ES grade features Dynamic Stability Traction Control (DSTC), climate control, a leather steering wheel and gearknob, a 5” colour screen for the audio system and 16” alloys. There’s a €2,000 increase to progress to the SE spec which gains some additional equipment which includes cruise control, keyless start, exterior chrome trim and electric folding door mirrors. The top of the range SE Lux demands an additional €2,500 premium over the SE trim and comes with luxurious items such as leather upholstery, 17” alloys, LED daytime running lights and active bending Xenon headlights. The optional extras have been mainly divided into six ‘packs’ which offer a variety of equipment to suit varying driver’s requirements. These include two Winter Packs, two Business Packs, a Style Pack and a Driver Support Pack.
With stylish looks and a strong diesel engine line-up, combined with competitive pricing, the Volvo V40 is a car worth taking a closer look at.