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As hatches go, the V40 is a great-looking car, despite its four years of age. I know four years doesn’t sound like much, but in car years, that makes it as old as Cindy Crawford. Good looks aside, the V40 is touted as "the safest hatch on the road. Ever." It received a five-star rating in the Euro NCAP with a 100% score in the Safety Assist category. You're saying to yourself, "But this goes without saying - it is a Volvo after all". Well, you'd be right.

 

Considering it is halfway through its lifecycle, like Cindy, it was due for a nip and tuck. Something Cindy knows and must have done too – I mean, have you seen her?! She looks fantastic – 50 years old or not.

 

Knowing it has good genes, the design team at Volvo have kept things simple. They've made small tweaks rather than major adjustments to the 2016 face-lifted V40. Most notable enhancements are its ‘Thor's Hammer’ detailed headlamps. This design highlight has been incorporated into the cars headlamp clusters via a hammer shaped LED. This modern enhancement, which is part of Volvo's new design language, can also be seen on the local Car of the Year, the Volvo XC90 and the forthcoming S90. It's an aesthetic detail that widens the car and gives it a unique visual reference that is now Volvo. 

 

There are other exterior adjustments, but you'd have to be Swedish to note them as they are minor. 

 

Moving on to the cockpit. Enhancements are also slight. There are trim detail additions that liven up a well-made interior that oozes quality. A notable addition is the City Weave tweed-styled fabric which can be optioned on the V40’s very cosseting seats. I'll let the picture do the talking, but I love how it adds character to the interior. The novel floating centre console remains albeit now out-dated. I’m looking forward to seeing the touchpad embedded in the new V40 when it arrives.

Under the skin - mechanically speaking, the V40 is driven by either T or D badged engines. The T symbolises turbo petrol, while the D , turbo diesel technology. Having driven a variety of Volvos, I have a preference to their diesel offering. Although both the petrol and diesel engines are good - offering ample power and performance, economy and refinement, I find the diesel options do the job just that much better than the petrol counterparts. 

 

Volvo makes selecting your V40 easy. The range is categorised or ranked via names: Kinetic, Momentum, Inscription and R-Design, each more opulent than the option before. The pricing below will give you a good idea of the related costs.

 

The V40 range is driven by 2.0l engines all turbocharged whether petrol or diesel. There is an exception, though: the entry-level petrol T3 is a 1.5l turbocharged engine. You can pair these engines to either a 6-speed manual gearbox or the Geartronic automatic. Top of the range models, T5 and D4, come standard with an 8-speed Geartronic.

On the road, the V40 is reassuring, quiet and cosseted in nature. Not the most exciting car in its class, with steering being somewhat numb and not giving its driver much feedback. Most drivers wouldn’t notice this sensation, though. Compared with its competition, the V40 stands its ground though not shining in the stars. The current market leader, the Audi A3 and its sister the Golf 7, manage to do what the V40 does, but just a smidgen better. Just as well, because they aren’t in the league of Cindy Crawford-like the V40 anyway.

 

What I liked

  • Looks
  • Quality
  • Refinement

 

What I didn’t

  • Firm ride with the additional Performance Coil Springs and Dampers.
  • Dated floating dashboard.

 

The competition

Audi A3, Golf 7, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, BMW 1-Series and the Opel Astra.

 

Pricing

Petrol options

V40 T3 112kW Manual Kinetic R344 500

V40 T3 112kW Manual Momentum R385 400

V40 T3 112kW Geartronic Momentum R404 400

V40 T3 112kW Manual Inscription R407 500

V40 T3 112kW Geartronic Inscription R426 400

V40 T3 112kW Geartronic R-Design R434 600

 

V40 T4 140kW Manual Momentum R408 200

V40 T4 140kW Geartronic Momentum R428 700

V40 T4 140kW Manual R-Design R430 100

V40 T4 140kW Manual Inscription R430 500

V40 T4 140kW Geartronic R-Design R450 200

V40 T4 140kW Geartronic Inscription R451 200

 

V40 T5 180kW Geartronic Momentum R468 900

V40 T5 180kW Geartronic Inscription R489 100

V40 T5 180kW Geartronic R-Design R498 900

 

Car tested: V40 T5 186kW Geartronic R-Design with Polestar performance parts R639 511

 

Diesel options

V40 D2 88kW Manual Kinetic R358 100

V40 D2 88kW Manual Momentum R392 600

V40 D2 88kW Manual Inscription R414 900

V40 D2 88kW Manual R-Design R423 200

 

V40 D3 110kW Geartronic Momentum R441 100

V40 D3 110kW Geartronic Inscription R463 800

V40 D3 110kW Geartronic R-Design R472 000

 

V40 D4 140kW Geartronic Momentum R451 200

V40 D4 140kW Geartronic Inscription R471 200

V40 D4 140kW Geartronic R-Design R480 900

 

Servicing and warranty

All Volvo’s come standard with 5 year/ 100 000km Warranty and Maintenance Plan. Included is a 5 year/unlimited mileage Road Assistance (includes a Skytrax unit – hardware & Installation).

My choice

V40 D3 110kW Geartronic Inscription R463 800

www.volvocars.com/za

 

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