2015 Volvo V40 | Road Test
* Surprisingly powerful
* Attention to details impresses
* Slight delay in power delivery
* Cruise Control only increases in increments of 5 km/h
* Brand perception prevents the youth from even considering a Volvo
Introduction & Summary
With summer just around the corner, beach bods adorning the shore and the aroma of the cool blue sea in the air, I decided to follow the ill-famed tradition of Spring Break and get back with a Swede that I had a fling with nearly three years ago: the Volvo V40.
Over the years, the V40 has remained rather consistent with not too many alterations to its appearance or the mechanicals that drive it and while that may come across as a bad thing, it’s a blessing in disguise.
Styling & Design
Designed by Chris Benjamin and Peter Horbury, the 2015 Volvo V40 is the mature individual’s choice over the garish Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Ford Focus ST. Substituting the pretentious gaping inlets of its rivals for sleek chrome and taut contours, the 2015 V40 is a handsome offering in an elegant, dignified sort of way.
Inside the car, it isn’t carbon fibre and Alcantara that bedeck the cabin but instead brushed aluminium and supple leather. It is plush without being prosaic and an experience that is not just pleasant to the touch, but to the other senses as well. As far as refinement goes, the 2015 V40 is the benchmark that its rivals should strive to achieve.
Unlike competing offerings, the car’s set of comfort, safety and convenience features feel integrated as opposed to standalone, uncoordinated pieces of technology. The Start-Stop system, for instance, works just as it would on any other car to save fuel, but only operates when temperatures are below 30.5°C to ensure occupants don’t suffer when the A/C stops cooling and the engine shuts off at traffic lights. It is precisely this attention to detail that is truly commendable.
Performance, Ride & Handling
Proving that looks can be deceiving, the V40 T5 houses a 2.5 litre turbocharged 5-cylinder engine that produces 245 horsepower at 5,500 RPM and a phenomenal 350 Nm of torque from just 1,800 RPM onwards. Compare that to its rival from Wolfsburg and you’re looking at a bump of over 20 horsepower – a significant jump on all counts for a hatch.
Out on the open roads of Dubai, working through the 8-speed automatic transmission is an absolute joy – a process that is accompanied by a surge of torque and the prominent whoosh of the turbocharger seeping into the cabin. Keep the pedal to the metal and the 2015 Volvo V40 will accelerate to the 100 km/h mark in 6.3 seconds and continue until hitting its top speed of 240 km/h.
That said, do not confuse the 2015 V40 for a straight line rocket. When the opportunity to carve corners arises, the Swede’s chassis begins to shine. Although there is none of that adaptive suspension wizardry to be found in the car, the boffins have nailed the magical balance. The ride is stiff enough to corner without excessive body roll and supple enough to be driven sensibly with the family on board.
When nudging the car out of its comfort zone on the bends, a number of things become apparent:
- The 205/50 Pirelli tires on all four corners glue the car to the black top
- A lenient traction control system that allows the car to be pushed before intervening
- Confident braking via 320mm discs up front and 280mm discs at the rear
Comfort & Practicality
Though I was thoroughly enjoying riding this Swede, it didn’t take long to recognise the V40’s shortcomings in the comfort and practicality department. While the driver and front seat passenger benefit from decent headroom and legroom, the same cannot be said for those stuck in the back.
With only the mildest of whiffs from the A/C unit that struggles to cope with the heat, there is little to compensate for the already claustrophobic rear.
Price & Verdict
Place the spec sheets out across a table and number for number, the 2015 Volvo V40 stands victorious. But while the Swede is the most powerful of the lot, it doesn’t adopt the styling, demeanour or pizzazz that you tend to associate with a hot hatch.
Due to the brand’s image and perception, the Volvo V40 has a long way to go before being able to garner any interest from the youth. And while that may put it at a superficially inferior position, it is an absolute cracker of a car. So much so, that I’m questioning why it hasn’t featured on those ‘Travel to Sweden’ brochures yet, alongside Ikea and its meatballs of course.
|Specifications||2015 Volvo V40 T4||2015 Volvo V40 T5|
|Engine/ Cylinders||1.6 litre turbocharged / 4-cyl||2.5 litre turbocharged / 5-cyl|
|Max Power |
|180 hp @ 5,700 RPM||254 hp @ 5,400 RPM|
|240 Nm @ 5,000 RPM||360 Nm @ 4,200 RPM|
|Tranmission||6 speed automatic||6 speed automatic|
|Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive|
|0-100 km/h||8.5 secs||6.1 secs|
|Top speed||N/A||240 km/h|
|Price||AED 134,900||AED 145,900 - 154,900|