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The sleek and sporty Volvo V40 review

The Volvo V40 is a sleek and sporty-looking small family car that was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 2012. It has been on sale in the UK since August, 1012 and replaces the Volvo V50 estate and Volvo S40 saloon. Coming from a lineage of popular models like the 1995 Mitsubishi Carisma that shares the same platform and the Volvo 440/460 series of the late 1980s, the V40 is Volvo’s latest swing at the “compact premium.” Its design, performance and general usability is impressive to say the least.

Design

The Volvo V40 is available in 5-door hatchback form. It boasts impressive clean and elegant lines meant to meet the needs of even the most demanding driver. A combination of exclusive interior and exterior styling and refined optional sports chassis give the V40 an overall attractive look. However, the V40 lets in a bit of noise and wind at high speed.

Engine

The Volvo V40 boasts a range of fuel-efficient diesel and petrol engines, ranging from the powerful 254hp T5 petrol engine to the ultra-efficient D2 diesel engine that emits a mere 88g CO2/km. The D2, T3 andT4 engine options also give decent power. However, the D4 engine grumbles discontently when cold.

Performance

The different V40 engine options give varying performances. The D4 diesel engine is strong, but its power comes all at the same time and causes the wheels to wriggle. The T4 does not give the expected torque of diesel engines, but makes up with impressive pace when you keep the revs up. The D2 is not nearly as strong as the D4, but is adequate for everyday driving in urban areas as long as you keep the revs above 1700rpm. The T3 gives a smooth performance and has no problem revving hard.

Handling

The Volvo V40 comes with the option of a sports suspension or standard suspension. The sports suspension tends to make the ride overly firm. The standard suspension is somewhat better, but it also gives a rather unsettled ride.

Both suspension options, however, give overall good stability in bumpy sections and bends. The V40’s light, electric power steering and revised damper and spring settings also make low-speed manoeuvres a pleasure.

It remains to be seen whether the V40's offerings are enough to win over Europe’s fleet drivers from their Volkswagen Golfs, Audi A3s and BMW1-series.

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