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Review: The Volvo V40 T3 R-Design Nav Plus

CAR OF THE WEEK: Volvo V40 T3 R-Design Nav Plus (price range: £20,715-£32,385)

I MUST confess that the Volvo V40 took me pleasantly by surprise. From the get go I found the Swedish offering smooth and a pleasure to drive.

Externally, you get the choice of eight new alloy wheel designs, five new body colours and a new grille with an updated Volvo badge. Most noticeably, Volvo’s LED ‘Thor’s Hammer’ headlights now feature, too. No matter which of the new trim levels you go for (Momentum, Inscription or R-Design), those lights are standard, making this the first car in the segment to get such technology across the range.

Inside is a pleasant place to sit with lots of high-quality materials, Volvo’s trademark comfy seats and its unique ‘floating’ centre console. While this is a nice design touch, it does mean the centre cubbyhole is obscured, making it difficult to reach items you’ve put there.

Just above you’ll find Volvo’s infotainment system, which has seen some mild revisions to improve connectivity.

Fitted to every V40 as standard is two-zone climate control, hill start assist and digital radio. Options include Volvo On Call with App (£450), flexible load floor with grocery bag holder (£100) and a Winter Pack which consists of heated front seats and windscreen and a headlight cleaning system (£575).

My Osmium Grey evaluation vehicle certainly stood out in the car park and drew admiring glances such is the dynamic look of the Volvo V40.

On the road the Volvo V40’s steering acts precisely, with weighting that may feel heavy to some but gives a feeling of heft that seems in keeping with a Volvo’s character. The engine range is plentiful, with sizes dictated by whether a manual or automatic gearbox is chosen. Petrol models are the 120bhp T2 and 150bhp T3, automatic versions of which have a 1.5-litre and manual examples a 2.0-litre engine, while the automatic-only T5 has a 2.0-litre 242bhp engine good for a 0-62mph time of just 6.4 seconds. All diesel models use a 2.0-litre engine, in 118bhp D2, 148bhp D3 or 177bhp D4 varieties.

Volvo has been at the cutting edge of automotive safety for years, and the V40 is no exception. Although it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP some time ago – back in 2012 – it easily achieved the full five stars and was the safest car in its class, just missing a perfect performance with 98 per cent.

The V40 will go under the radar for many but I implore you to give this particular Volvo some consideration should you be in the market for a hatchback that ticks most boxes.

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