The Volvo V40 has a history that goes back to the mid-1990s when it was a variant of the new 40-series that used the same platform as the Mitsubishi Carisma (which, incidentally, was also used by the Proton Waja). However, its history has a ‘blank space’ between 2004 and 2012 because, under Ford, the V40 was replaced by the V50 when the 40-series went into its second generation. Then Ford decided to bring back the V40 and sat it on the platform that was also used by the Ford Focus and Mazda3.
That model, regarded as the second generation of the V40, is still in production and was the last model developed when Volvo was under Ford ownership (it is now owned by Geely) and it was also the last model designed under the direction of Peter Horbury, the Briton who said that he ‘threw out the box’ when he designed the first C70. During Horbury’s time as head of Volvo design, the straight lines that were typical of Volvos were eliminated, leading to more curvaceous and bolder designs.
That the V40 was launched in 2013 and continues to look good in 2017 is testimony to the timelessness of Volvo design philosophy. However, over the past few years, Volvo’s designers have settled on a common ‘face’ for the new models and for the latest update, the V40’s looks have finally been unified with the rest of the range.
The notable new feature is what is known as ‘Thor’s Hammer’, the signature shape in the headlights. Thor is a famous mythical character in Scandinavia and the powerful hammer he used has become a signature Volvo designers have adopted for the cars. It provides instant recognition from afar, the same way the unique tail lights of Volvos also identify them at night.
The meshed grille is also new, along with the new Inscription ‘rank mark’ which was first introduced in the XC90. ‘Inscription’ refers to the equipment level and is the highest after ‘Momentum’ and ‘Kinetic’.
Other than the cosmetic changes, the exterior remains the same with the sharp profile that gives the V40 a sporty image even if the ‘V’ originally referred ‘Versatility’, which was the strong point of Volvo stationwagons.
Inside, the changes are mainly in trim materials with Milled Aluminium replacing the Shimmer Graphite inlay and a new Inscription treadplate has been added. The new Volvo Iron Mark update will carry across the entire car including the steering wheel, Sensus display, and the key fob.
The cargo volume is 324 litres (including underfloor storage) and for those who frequent IKEA, the floor length can be extended to 1.51 metres with the rear backrests folded flat. However, unlike some Volvo models, the backrest of the front passenger’s seat can’t be folded completely flat (due to the shape) so it is not possible to get that extra length up to the dashboard.
Besides its leadership in automobile safety, Volvo has also been a pioneer in clean air technology for its cars since the 1990s. It has been said that the interior air quality of a Volvo is far better than what you breathe outside the car (at least in Malaysia) and this is thanks to Volvo’s award-winning CleanZone technology. Outside air is effectively filtered before entering the cabin, removing harmful pollutants that are increasingly common in large urban areas. CleanZone technology reflects Volvo’s ongoing work to improve the in-car experience, covering incoming air, interior emissions and odours, interior surfaces and contact allergies.
The V40 T5 Inscription continues to use the Drive-E powertrain which consists of a 2-litre all-aluminium petrol engine producing 245 bhp/350 Nm, and an 8-speed Aisin AW automatic transmission. Claimed performance is 6.3 seconds from 0 – 100 km/h and a top speed of 240 km/h but with 8 ratios bringing down engine speeds at higher cruising speeds, the fuel consumption is said to be as good as 17 kms/litre. With a 62-litre fuel tank, that means you could go up to 1,000 kms – if you don’t make use of all that 245 bhp all the time.
“In terms of overall product offering, this is the best, value-for-money package that a customer could get in this segment – be it in performance, safety and convenience features, the V40 T5 Inscription is hard to beat,” said Lennart Stegland, MD of Volvo Car Malaysia, adding that the company will also add a T4 variant in due course.
The V40 T5 Inscription is priced at RM180,888 (without insurance) and customers have four exterior colour choices: Ice White, Onyx Black, Osmium Grey, and Luminous Sand (new for 2017). I comes with a 5-year warranty and 5 years of Volvo-on-Call Roadside Assist.