1 March 2012
Volvo V40: the sensible premium hatch
It will have its work cut out: Audi’s A3 is about to be rejuvenated into its third incarnation, BMW’s 1-Series is in the middle of its second-generation rollout, Alfa’s newish Giulietta is selling well, and Mercedes-Benz will shortly screech into the same space with an A-Class that no longer looks like an egg.
The kink towards the rear of the car’s shoulder line is meant to evoke fond memories of the stylish Volvo P1800, which it may well do if you’re about 55. Younger buyers, at whom Volvo is undoubtedly aiming, will probably be more interested in whether they can easily hook up their phone.
The main instrument panel is also a digital screen, which can be configured in a number of ways to suit the driver’s preferences.
It’s a Volvo, and so the safety features will be excellent and forward thinking. The company aims to have zero injuries in new Volvos by 2020, and its latest move in that direction is an airbag that deploys to protect pedestrians from being injured by the solid lumps of metal under the bonnet and at the base of the windscreen. If the V40 doesn’t score a full row of stars under the new, tougher Euro NCAP tests, it will be a big shock.