The hatchback that’s an estate

It’s 20 years since Volvo first made a 5-door hatchback.

It’s 20 years since Volvo first made a 5-door hatchback.

Then the 440 died out and Volvo went all saloon and estate. So Volvo have made a big decision and replaced two cars with one.

The new V40 replaces the S40 and V50 and to do this it had to be something special, something that could compete with with the luxury market but yet be affordable with the mainstream. This is the hardest thing any car company has to do; balance.

That’s just what Volvo have done, they’ve made something special for everyone. The V40 is a 5-door hatchback that looks a bit like an estate. And it’s not just looks, the boot is bigger than most hatchbacks but still manages to be very sporty looking.

The outside has strong lines and there’s one little curve on the back doors that’s a nod to the P1800. In terms of design I think Volvo have made a very handsome car that will appeal to both men and women.

The inside is one of the finest I’ve seen in recent times. The materials you touch are made from top notch stuff, you’ll struggle to find any cheap plastics around the driver.

There’s an all electronic dash that is quite simply beautiful, you can choose from three modes which changes the layout and colours on the screen.

The same screen gives you lots of menus where you can fiddle just about any setting on the car. You can even check when the next service is due. There’s even more menus on the centre console that can allow you to change some of the safety features and lighting stuff.

On the drive, the V40 is very well sorted. They’ve managed to make it smooth at low speeds while still being responsive at higher speeds.

I drove through the Snowdonia mountains in North Wales rather rapidly and I couldn’t fault the handling and balance of the car set up.

The engine line up is simple enough - you can have a 1.6 115bhp diesel or a 2.0 150bhp diesel - both are band A for tax. There’s a 1.6 150bhp petrol version that’s in tax band B. All the engines pull very well: of course the petrol version is the most fun through the rev range, but the diesel is where you’ll find the best economy.

There are some packs to choose from for options and I would recommend the winter pack which gets you Xenon headlights and lots of extra lights for €1,595. I’d also plump for the business pack which gets you a a better stereo, cruise control and remote control with Bluetooth for €795.

The packs are very reasonable and I’m telling you that you should take advantage of the prices while you can.

The V40 starts at €26,995 and metallic paint is only €835 - there is a good selection of flat paint colours to choose from.

You can see the new Volvo V40 in Finlay’s of Newbridge from August and it is really worth a look.