When I was invited to try the new Volvo V40 variant range I immediately thought of my previous time with Volvo: we went sailing to the Isle of Wight where, lots of fabulous watery sports and splashing happened.
So I thought oh yes that will be fun another day with Volvo. But when I read the invite it clearly stated I turn up at a delightful village pub and drive cars all day with a lunch break. No sailing?
What I hadn’t realised was that to really appreciate how the V40 varies you do really have to drive as many different cars in the range as you can all day (and even that lunch gap which was a properly tasty meal, was sufficiently long enough) and only then would you understand how one car range be so different in so many different ways.
I started off with the V40 R-Design T5 - in hindsight, I think that was like starting off with the strongest cheese or the fruitiest red, and as the V40 is the smallest vehicle in the Volvo range, aimed at a younger and more design influenced audience, I certainly felt like I could throw some articulate moves around the fabulous British country lanes that the day had in store.
Expected to account for 25% of all the V40 sales in the UK, the V40 R-Design, comes as standard with City Safety and the world's first pedestrian airbag. Along with a host of other safety features, it has resulted in the V40 having the highest overall score in Euro NCAP's tests and the fitment of City Safety as standard has resulted in the car benefitting from lower insurance ratings. Amongst the great safety comes great design such as the new extra bolstered R-Design black Nubuck textile/leather with embroidered R-Design logo on the backrest, the three-spoke leather sports steering wheel with R-Design logo is complimented with the illuminated gear-knob. All in all I felt like I could really enjoy driving all day in this car – alas on to the next…
The increased chassis ride height of the V40 Cross Country range provided me with an altogether different feeling to the roads. Offering optimum handling, steering feel, agility and ride comfort. The V40 D2 Cross Country emits just 99g/km of CO2 which means both retail and business users benefit from low BIK, road tax and residential parking savings.
The V40 Cross Country is available in two specification levels, Cross Country SE and Cross Country Lux. Prices start from £22,595 on the road for the V40 D2 Cross Country SE, up to £33,875 for the V40 T5 AWD Geartronic Cross Country Lux Nav. I drove all three and I think it really depends upon your budget, your need for the functions of the car to be able to decide on which is better for you – as I certainly enjoyed driving all three. The T5 AWD gave me some confidence of the potential for an escape whilst the Cross Country allowed me to feel perfectly relaxed in the sunshine and allowed me to enjoy all the comforts of this distinctive Raw Copper, low emissions car.
Something I rather liked finding out was that the roof is tinted to reduce infrared radiation into the cabin. A fabric curtain, under the roof, provides shade, and can be used to block out the sun for part of the cabin.
So the rear passengers, for example, can enjoy sunshine while the driver relaxes in shade, just one of the thoughtful ideas that the Volvo designers come up with.
I finished my day’s driving with the smallest of the pack, the Volvo V40 R-Design D2, a car that caught me thoroughly by surprise when I took it round the country lanes that I had begun to know. This front wheel drive really brought out the playfulness with low emissions, and all the safety standards of its larger brothers, I felt happy to splash in as many puddles I could find and for as long as I could find them. Starting with a strong cheese and ending on a light soufflé with a kick of chilli.
So my day with Volvo did indeed involve water again – only this time I splashed in them discovering that the Volvo team have brought out the V40 Variant range that makes you want to get on the roads, whether it is for work (as this range is a perfect fleet car), for a general family car or if you want to make a statement with the stunning Copper and Rebel Blue. By Lara Platman