Volvo V40 T2 R-Design Nav review – Pocket-lint

31 Dec 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Volvo V40 T2 R-Design Nav review – Pocket-lint

Volvo V40

T2 R-Design Nav review


comfortable, class-leading safety lovely gauge pack

Interface can be fiddly, space is in the back, R-Design doesn#039;t the car#039;s demeanour, may be better more powerful, or diesel engines

Back at its launch in we were big fans of the Volvo V40. It was a choice, but smart, comfortable and all packed with safety and technologies.

Since then the Volvo has gained numerous challengers. Volkswagen has unveiled a new Golf, Audi an A3, Mercedes a A-Class and we’ve had our hands on improved powertrain and trim options from the BMW 1-Series and Guilietta.

We wanted to try out the recently R-Design trim level and the V40 in petrol-powered form. Does R-Design trim inject a twist of Swedish techno as the adverts imply, or add an unwelcome of aggression to a car that should be the antidote to a motoring world brimming with macho style?


Where cars have always a bit vanilla, the R-Design trim a dash of aggression and stylistic that we’d normally from a BMW M-Sport or Audi model.

We’re talking accents, large wheels black contrast elements, finish mirror casings, glass and a spattering of blue badges. We can’t help it’s a bit try hard. Should a look aggressive?

It doesn’t quite fit with the if you ask us.

Step inside and the story You get R-Design embossed seats, and even a branded welcome on the digital gauge pack. The is completed with some purple mood lighting, is projected down from the onto the centre console at

It’s a trim level really will come to your personal taste, but at you can see where Volvo has spent the money you’ll pay over a ES or SE model.

Still a Volvo at

Inside, it’s the same V40 we back on launch in 2011. The you get one of the more interesting small car a comparatively tight rear space and a boot that’s a few litres short of what the A3 Sportback or Honda Civic in this class.

Still, if sat in the driving seat, you’re to care because this is quite a special place to sit for the money, one of the best cabins in its

In the V40, Volvo seems to finally resolved the floating console design with oddments storage. There’s an lined space behind the which is good for sunglasses and while you still get two cupholders of the gear stick and a deep bin topped by an armrest too.

A Volvo?

The plastics quality is good, but up the V40 and your eyes are drawn to the digital gauge pack, can be configured into one of three – Eco, Elegance and

Sad petrolheads that we are, we it in the performance mode most of the This mode gives you a red colour scheme, with the area containing an outer display and a large digital appears in its centre. Underneath a small icon of the V40 is displayed. markers surround this as the around the car changes.

A tell-tale for a car in front comes up when the control is switched on and you are trailing a in front; lane marking illuminate red if you veer out of lane.

a great display. High full of colour and yet not too distracting we like the attention to detail, the moving bar graph in performance which shows you how much of engine power you’re Or the fact that the centre zooms in the scale of the car to highlight of the interior should, say, on board remove a seatbelt or a door.

An old fashioned interface

We wish we could say the same the centre display and the way it is controlled. The Coupe Volvo showed at the motor show previews the intention to move to touchscreen and do away with hundreds of buttons.

While we’re not touchscreen fans, for Volvo move can’t come enough, because interacting the current system which in our car Sat Nav can be a tortuous and long-winded game often ends in great Although it will accept postcode entires, unlike systems.

Rather like Citroen’s using knobs and buttons and a pad on the centre console – often perform other – proves no substitute for the rotary controller set up with buttons favoured by Mercedes, and BMW.

Furthermore, the quality of the gauge pack display the clunky, old-school central Sat Nav into stark relief. days in and we were running Maps in parallel on our phone driving the V40 – and it proved to do a job than the on-board system of us places and showing where the was.

Like a Focus, but not as good

In the short time has elapsed since the V40’s and launch, Volvo has become a different company – new owners and new faces in most of its positions. The V40 was partly developed the time Volvo was owned by and thus shares large of its platforms and technological systems namely the Focus. That’s why the Volvo’s rear quarters as commodious as we’d come to from a company famed for cars.

But it’s also that the V40 isn’t a fantastic in the way the Focus manages to be. It’s fine in many ways, but the tends to patter away it doesn’t feel particularly to turn in and the steering is lifeless. not really one for driver entertainment, but it is and refined.

Yet the standard of competition – the and A3 in particular – is so high, we the Volvo falls short.

And a shame the ride isn’t a bit as otherwise the Volvo could out more of a niche for itself as a refined cruiser. We tested the petrol engine – the T2 which offers up a 1.6-litre 120bhp. Consider it’s not a whizz-bang modern like competition, and it performs perfectly

It gets along quickly is super-refined and we got about 40mpg. But you want to consider an upgrade to the 150 bhp T3 – as it doesn’t harm the CO2 meaning you won’t pay higher

A safe steer

Yet above Volvo always gives you one a step above its competitors and that’s safety. Never that it’s festooned airbags and a clever crash the V40 – equipped as our test car was will do everything it can to prevent you a crash in the first place.

As found out with other like the Volvo S60, comes equipped with the Safety system, the Volvo will warn you if you’re too close to the car in front by illuminating looks like a small bar fire at the base of the windscreen. flash and audible alert if it you’re closing on something too and not responding. And as a last resort, slam on the brakes for you if you don’t at least lessening the impact but below 30mph potentially you to a … stop.

And should you achieve the seeming and still manage to mow down a there’s the world’s first airbag, which inflates to the unfortunate recipient’s impact the car. If we ever get run over, we arrange it to be by a V40 please?

Yet there’s more than just You get lane keep assist which tugs the steering to guide you should you stray out of lane. And the Volvo calls the services for you, should the happen.

It’s all very but for the easily irritated, also deactivatable.

Even in a world every new car seems to get a five-star rating, you just know has gone one step further. a V40 – or any of the company’s recent for that matter – and you can believe in the company’s laudable to ensure that no-one is or seriously injured in a Volvo by


It’s hard to the Volvo V40. Witness the behaviour of the of certain German-branded vehicles on our and you can understand why a section of society profoundly dislikes Audi and But Volvos? They’re driven by people.

The sort of people you’d as your neighbours.

In R-Design the V40 is a slightly confusing beast and – unless you want Volvo with some – we feel the car is better in a ES or SE trim. It has some lovely elements, such as the backlit the bezel-less rear view and digital gauge pack. But you get in pretty much every And R-Design whacks up the price.

also a bit aggressive, and its try-hard sits uneasily with typically more relaxed, manner.

Back on its launch, and in guise, the V40 was a four-and-a-half star Two years on, and with a host of super-talented rivals and in petrol its shines less brightly. We its technology worked as well as a but it doesn’t.

We wish it drove as as the new Golf, but it doesn’t either.

the company has showed off in concept and what should arrive in the of the new XC90 next year may a better answer to the question of Volvo stands for. But for if you want to look and be different, a V40 is the safe choice. And let’s not in a world where safety is now for granted, Volvo still further than anyone it’s hard not to admire

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