We find out if the world’s safest car is as good to drive as it is at keeping us safely cocooned?
What is it? The V40 is the world’s safest car and is packed with a host of safety features, including the world’s first airbag system to protect pedestrians.
Who is it aimed at? Volvo has its sights firmly on Audi A3 and the BMW 1 series drivers but is also hopes to nab mainstream hatchback drivers from the Focus, Astra or Golf .
Styling? Photos fail to do justice to this cars distinctive styling and in the metal it is just stunning. With a chiselled profile, sleek and elegant look and creased waistline the V40 is simply beautiful.
Under the Bonnet? Powered by a 1.6-litre diesel engine our test car was the D2 version of the V40 which is the entry-level model.
What’s it like inside? Slipping into the cabin you are immediately reassured by the simple and stylish Swedish interior. This minimalist design is both practical and functional. The main controls of the futuristic-looking floating centre console are small and a little fiddly but the supremely comfortable sculptured leather sports seats more than compensate. Space is good throughout but the sweeping roofline does compromise headroom a little in the front and rear legroom is only adequate. Boot space is a decent 335 litres that extends up to a maximum 1,032 litres.
On the Road? The V40 is really fun drive thanks to its sharp steering and sporty ride. Our 1.6 diesel engine is by no means the fastest around and in town it feels slightly laboured but take it on a windy country road and it simply shines. The faster you go the better it feels and it responds to every command instantly. The six-speed manual is slick and makes light work of gear changes. Serious drivers may yearn for a larger engine but the 1.6 is a pretty unbeatable combination of fun and economy.
And Safety? In keeping with all Volvos that roll off the assembly line, the V40 is all about safety. In the Euro NCAP crash tests the V40 scored the highest mark ever recorded. One of the most innovative safety features is a pedestrian airbag; if the bonnet comes in contact with a pedestrian an airbag is deployed under the bonnet to cushion the impact by raising the lid to generate a crush zone. Another safety feature is automatic braking. When travelling at less than 50km, if an obstacle is detected ahead the car will apply the brakes and stop without any intervention from the driver.
Options? The V40 line up comprises three trims – ES, SE and SE Lux – which can be mixed and matched with three different engines, two diesels and one petrol.
How about Fuel Economy? The 1.6 diesel engine is so frugal that it will make your lawn mower look thirsty. It boasts an excellent 3.8 litres per 100 km on a combined cycle of town and motorway and CO2 emissions of just 94g/km.
Okay so the verdict? It is impossible not to love the V40. Stunning looks, delicious interior, incredible technology, divine seats and the way it drives, the V40 has the potential to change your view of Volvo forever.
BMW 1.6D Urban €30,800
Audi A3 1.6 TDi 6 speed manual €28,550
Why you’ll buy one? From its exterior styling to its innovative and futuristic interior the V40 is a classic of Scandinavian design.
Why you won’t? Despite being Volvo’s best car to date the rivals are formidable.
Volvo V40 D2 SE
Engine: 1,560cc engine putting out 84kW(115bhp) and 270Nm of torque between 1,750 – 2,500rpm
Max speed: 190 kph
0-100km/h: 12.3 seconds
Emissions (motor tax): 94g/km (€160)
Starting price: €26,995
Model price range: €26,995 – €35,995 (Test Car €34,500*)
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP: 5 Stars
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 3.8 litres per 100 km
Boot Capacity Seats up (seats down): 335 litres (1032 litres)
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear, but unfortunately not the easiest to use that we have tried
*Optional Features Test Car Winter Illumination Pack LED Daytime running Lights, Heated Front Windscreen, Heated Front Seats, Headlight, Cleaning System and Active Bending Xenon Headlights, Rear Reading, Theatre and Front Door Side Step Lights Retail Price €1595
Business pack pro (2) Satellite Navigation, Premium sound Multimedia, Retail Price €1895,
Style Pack, Graphic combined instrument, Park assist camera, Park assist rear, Illuminated gear shift knob Retail Price €595.
Sunroof Retail Price €1345
Flexible Load Floor Retail Price €75
21st September, 2012