The competition in the premium hatchback segment is only getting tougher as Volvo brings out its new V40 model. The V stands for Versatile, and so far the V-models have all been wagons. Naming this new car as V40 is a bit confusing as earlier Volvo had the V40 wagon in its lineup. However, this all-new Volvo V40 hatchback is soon on the market and it has allready build up expectations to do well in the market, as it is going to replace the current S40 and V50 model ranges.
At least the styling shouldn’t be a problem, as the new V40 looks great. The car looks completely new, but there are a lot of familiar details that makes it look like a Volvo. The front end has much of the same look as the S60, while the rear looks a bit like C30. The Volvo V40 is available with a fixed panorama glass roof that stretches from the front windscreen to the backrest of the rear seats. The panorama roof is tinted and comes with an electrically controlled fabric curtain. The styling can be improved with exterior accessory styling kit. The exterior styling kit includes deflectors, a twin-coloured rear diffuser, a striping kit and enlarged rectangular, chromed twin tail pipes. Diamond-cut 18-inch alloy wheels with contrasting grey detailing and a roof spoiler can be added separately.
As the exterior, the inside of the car is also a nice mixture of familiar look with some new features. Volvo’s ultra-slim centre console comes now in a more sculpted version than in previous models and comes as standard in charcoal. The centre console has a Silk Metal Chrome finish frame that enhances the interior styling. The same finish is also found in the doors and on the Instrument panel as well as around the centre display, outer air vents, start button and gearshift gaiter. A new feature is a frameless interior rear-view mirror, that got its inspiration from the modern smartphone design.
The V40 is available with a new, fully graphic instrument cluster. The driver can choose between three different graphic themes; Elegance, Eco or Performance. The Elegance theme has amber illumination. The Eco theme features green background illumination, designed to create an environmentally inspired look. Eco theme includes also current and accumulated fuel consumption figures and an Eco meter. The driver is rewarded with a green light when eco-driving is optimal. The Performance theme has red background illumination that creates a sporty atmosphere. The tachometer scale replaces the speed scale displayed in the Elegance and Eco versions. Vehicle speed is shown digitally in the centre of the display. The right side of the display includes a power meter which informs how much power is available and how much power is being used.
Depending on the market, the new V40 is available with different engine variants. There are four- and five-cylinder petrol engines available, all turbocharged. The most powerful in the range is the T5, while the most economic is the D2 diesel. We tested the T4 version that comes with a 1.6-litre GTDi engine. This turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine delivers 180 horsepower and 240 Newton metres of torque. With the overboost function, the engine offers a maximum torque of 270 Newton metres. The top torque is available on a very wide rev range, between 1600 and 5000 rpm, which clearly improves driving enjoyment. The engine can be paired with a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed Powershift-automatic transmission. This car was equipped with the Powershift transmission that works quite well, but isn’t perfect. The transmission quite quickly drops a gear or two down when you need press the throttle a bit deeper and need more power. However, the gear changes aren’t always that smooth as you would expect from a modern automatic. Volvo T4 with the Powershift offers a fairly good performance. Acceleration from zero to 100 km/h takes 8.5 seconds and the top speed is 225 km/h. The manual box provides a bit better acceleration, as it takes only 7,7 seconds to reach a hundred kilometres per hour. A 2.0-litre five-cylinder T4 engine with 180 hp and 300 Nm of torque is available on certain markets.
There are two chassis available for the all-new Volvo V40. The car comes as standard with the Dynamic chassis. At the front it features McPherson struts that have the same 25mm piston rods as the S60. At the rear the V40 has monotube dampers, featuring compression and return damping via the same valve. This gives shorter, faster fluid flow, which in turn means that the damper responds more quickly. The optional Sport chassis is lowered by 10mm, and the springs and shock absorbers have a firmer settings compared to the Dynamic chassis. Corner Traction Control is a new feature that improves driving dynamics through the corners. The car’s inner driven wheel is braked, causing more power to be transmitted to the outside wheel. This allows the driver to corner more tightly and smoothly. On the road, the new V40 has very much the same feeling as the S60. The driving dynamics have make a great leap forward compared to the current S40. Eventhough the V40 is a front-wheel drive, its is very enjoyable to drive even on a curvy sections of the road.
- 132 kW (180 hp) / 5700rpm
- 240 Nm (270 Nm overboost) / 1600-5000rpm
- 6-speed automatic
0-100km/h / 0-62mph
- 8.5 seconds
- 225 km/h
- 6.2 l/100km
- 144 g/km