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Driven: Volvo's refreshed V40 arrives in SA

2016-08-03 09:48

Janine Van der Post

FACELIFTED V40 ARRIVES: Volvo has launched its refreshed V40 in SA. Image: Volvo

Cape Town - Volvo launched its current generation V40 in South Africa in 2012. In 2016, Volvo gives its popular premium hatchback a mid-life make-over.

In 2012, it was a premium C- segment vehicle I would have wanted to purchase for my father.

In the last few years, the Swedish brand has transformed its products into modern, great-looking, technically advanced vehicles. They're models I want as a mother and wife for my own family.

Volvo says its refreshed V40 sports the 'new face' of the brand as it features the new 'iron mark' logo (first seen on the XC90), distinctive 'Thor's hammer' LEDs and  subtle cosmetic and trim upgrades.

What else is new?

Besides the physical changes, V40 receives new trim-level nomenclature, Momentum and Inscription, first introduced on the XC90. There's also eight new wheel designs across the V40 and V40 Cross-Country range.

The three diesel and three petrol engine options remain unchanged and there are four trim levels including the sporty R-Design derivatives.

The V40 is now available in five new coloursBlue and Denim Blue. The other three shades have already been implemented on other Volvo models: Bursting Blue, Mussel Blue and Luminous Sand.

READ: Volvo's updated V40 arrives in SA - We have prices and specs

The new 'iron mark' grille treatment, has come full circle and is as 'old as the mountains' says Volvo SA's Michelle Naude. All derivatives sport vertical bars, including the R-Design versions. Inscription and R-Design models sport new badging on the tailgate and front-door sills.

In 2012, the V40 was a refreshing addition to the Volvo range but looking at the outgoing model now, it was rather chunky. That has definitely all changed. The lines flow better, it's more curvaceous and although tweaks are "subtle" according to Volvo, the nips and smoother tucks are well-rounded and more evident than the automaker will admit. I like it.

It retains its distinctive rear though it's tad classier. The facelifted V40 shares traits with the cheeky C30 and pays tribute to the automaker's 1972 1800 ES Shooting Brake.

Now that's pretty!

The V40 sports new 'City Weave' upholstery, which the automaker says is inspired by the Volvo Concept Estate. Owners can opt for a charcoal, yellow or amber colour scheme. The automaker says its fashionable City Weave trim option is matched with a unique tweed textile pattern on the seats, and a two-tone yellow/charcoal steering wheel.

Other than the above mentioned trim options, the fascia and displays remain pretty much the same as the outgoing version. What's improved is the addition of new trim on the controls as your fingerprints and smudges would remain behind on the glossy black plastic used in the previous version.  

No more messy prints: Volvo V40's new interior materials means unsighlty fingerprint smudges won't spoil the centre console compared to the outgoing version. Image: Janine Van der Post

Although trim options and niceties are never a priority in my book, the dashing tweed-esque seats are definitely a nice-to-have option I would include.

What's it like to drive?

During a week where the rain gods unleashed tremendous showers throughout SA, the V40 provided plenty of charm and fun behind the wheel.

Volvo's new Drive-E engines power the V40 and V40 Cross Country range. These modular engines are all turbocharged and available in 2.0-litre petrol or diesel guise with the exception of the 1.5-litre turbo petrol powering the V40 T3 automatic.

The Swedish automaker claims as little as 3.4-litres/100km from the V40 D2 with emissions of  89g/km of CO2. The  V40 Cross Country T5 AWD is capable of 180kW/350Nm. In terms of transmissions, engines can be mated to a choice of six-speed manual, six-speed Geartronic (automatic) or eight-speed Geartronic.

I sampled the 2.0-litre V40 D3 and the range-topping V40 Cross-Country T5 AWD, needless to say the latter was by far my favourite choice. Even if you hadn't glanced at the badging, upon accelerating, you'd know which of the two you were driving; despite the obvious difference in power compared to the its diesel sibling (+70kW), the T5 has a  lot more character, and adds a bigger grin to your face.

V40 Cross Country

The new Cross Country versions are sassier and, says Volvo, more adventurous. The major difference compared to the standard variant is its raised ride height, increased by 12mm in 2016 to 145mm. 

It is equipped with roof rails, black bumper cladding and a somewhat more distinctive nose to set it apart from its sibling. The range-topper has all-wheel drive. Inside, it has new lighting schemes and new stitching on the seats.

The Ultimate V40? 

The R-Design version sports a more assertive body kit with new bumpers (front and rear), larger exhaust tips, bespoke 18” alloys, sports seats and, Volvo says, “a more expressive interior ambiance”.

Polestar Performance 

If you're keen on customising your V40, SA customers can order Polestar performance parts from any Volvo  dealership. These parts and enhancements cover exhausts, suspension, chassis upgrades, style packs, Polestar optimisation software and unique Polestar.

Volvo safety assured

Volvo has always been perceived as one of the safest car brands with the automaker claiming its V40 is the "best-performing car" in terms of safety in its segment. It achieved a 100% score in the ‘Safety Assist’ category, along with the XC90.

Standard safety equipment include seven airbags, ABD, EBD and ESC (stability and traction control); City Safety - which uses autonomous emergency braking to avoid collisions with vehicles travelling ahead – is standard.

Optional safety goodies are available: Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA), Driver Alert System, Lane Keeping Aid, collision warning with full auto brake and pedestrian and cyclist detection, and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).

Standard kit

Entry-level Kinetic models (D2 and T3) are equipped with six speakers, an auxiliary jack, dual-zone aircon, power window, leather trim along the steering wheel, handbrake and gear lever. There are eight cup holders, two 12-volt power outlets, remote central locking, alloys, daytime running lights, spoiler and tyre pressure monitor.

Momentum derivatives can be equipped with either 17 or 18” alloys. Momentum versions gain heatable and electrically-adjustable side-mirrors (with puddle lighting), rear parking sensors, leather seats, cruise control, and rain sensor.

Inscription variants (V40 and V40 Cross Country) gain full-LED headlights with Thor's Hammer signature daytime running lights, chromed grille, digital instrument cluster, power-adjustable passenger seat, interior lighting package, an eight-speaker high-performance sound system with DVD compatibility, Bluetooth and USB functionality, and Connected Service Booking.

Option Packs

There are three option packs available for all derivatives; Sport Pack, Techno Pack and Premium Pack. The Base Pack (R15 750), available for Kinetic versions, specifically includes cruise control, the digital instrument cluster, a rain sensor, front and rear parking sensors and the high performance sound system. The R-Design models can also be specified with a choice of two extended R-Design packages.


All V40 and V40 Cross Country models are sold with a five-year or 100 000km warranty, a five-year or 100 000 km Volvo Plan (full maintenance plan), Tracker Connect and tinted Llumar smash-and-grab-protected glass.

V40 D2 6-speed manual Kinetic, Momentum, Inscription or R-Design - R351 100
V40 D3 6-speed Geartronic Momentum, Inscription or R-Design - R432 400
V40 D4 8-speed Geartronic Momentum, Inscription or R-Design - R442 400
V40 T3 6-speed manual Kinetic, Momentum, Inscription or R-Design - R337 700
V40 T3 6-speed Geartronic Momentum, Inscription or R-Design - R396 500
V40 T4 6-speed manual Momentum, Inscription or R-Design - R400 200
V40 T4 6-speed Geartronic Momentum, Inscription or R-Design - R420 300
V40 T5 8-speed Geartronic Momentum, Inscription or R-Design - R459 700
V40 Cross Country D3 6-speed Geartronic Momentum or Inscription - R452 700
V40 Cross Country D4 8-speed Geartronic Momentum or Inscription - R469 300
V40 Cross Country T4 6-speed manual Momentum or Inscription - R412 500
V40 Cross Country T4 6-speed Geartronic Momentum or Inscription - R432 600
V40 Cross Country T5 AWD 8-speed Geartronic Momentum or Inscription - R504 400


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