2013 Volvo V40 R-Design review
By Ian Lynas, 08th February 2013
The latest version of the Volvo V40 has a lot of credibility; the latest addition to the line of R-Design cars which feature interior and exterior design changes to differentiate them from their stablemates. The R-Design treatment is courtesy of the Special Vehicles Team in Gothenburg, Sweden.
The S60, V60, V70, XC60 and XC90 have all received interior and exterior refinements, along with changes to the chassis and suspension, to give a more sports-inspired appearance and feel.
The V40 is the baby of the Volvo range and is aimed at a younger and a more design-influenced customer and the R-Design is expected to account for 25 percent of all the V40 sales in the UK. The car has received special treatment from Volvo's chassis engineering team, ensuring the car has optimum handling, steering feel, agility and ride comfort.
I can back that up after trying a number of variants in the worst possible conditions on roads in Southern England which bore the aftermath of heavy flooding.
Standard equipment includes City Safety and the world's first pedestrian airbag along with a number of other safety features.
These safety features have 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 after being tested by Thatcham on behalf of the Association of British Insurers.
Low emission levels are becoming increasingly important and the V40 R-Design D2 emits just 94g/km of CO2 (when fitted with 205/50 R17 tyres), which offers major benefits not only to retail customer but also to business users, with lower road tax and residential parking savings.
Volvo's SENSUS infotainment system is fitted and is designed to give outstanding connectivity, security and personalisation. As part of SENSUS, the V40 R-Design comes as standard with Bluetooth music streaming and hands free mobile connectivity.
Comfort levels are excellent and the new seats have been fitted with additional bolster support but continue to offer occupant comfort. The rear seats offer the same level of comfort with two sculptured seating positions, however there is room for three, all with three-point safety belts.
Amongst the may other items fitted as standard, the rimless rear view mirror and illuminated gear-knob, which are further proof of a clean design focus with crisp and uncluttered detailing.
The V40 R-Design is available in two specification levels, R-Design and R-Design Lux. Prices start from £22,295 on the road for the V40 D2 R-Design, up to £31,390 for the V40 T5 R-Design Lux Nav Geartronic.
The flagship T5 which also offers all-wheel drive: 0-60mph takes just 5.7 seconds, whilst the top speed is 155mph. Despite the high performance, the engine emits 185g/km of CO2 and achieves 35.8mpg on the combined fuel cycle.
There is currently much talk of cars in a premium sector and in the C segment, where the V40 range fits, competition is fierce from the likes of Audi, Mercedes and VW. In my book, this new Volvo offers strong competition not only in terms of value for money but in styling and in performance.
Will buyers opt for the German competition? Volvo is staking a lot on the new V40 and the R-Design models further enhance the appeal.