THE VOLVO WITH ADDED FOCUS (some text hidden)
BY ANDY ENRIGHT
Introductionword count: 99
If you're a dyed-in-the-wool Volvo buyer, you probably know the buying maxim. The big ones are good and the small ones are well worth avoiding. That changed with the introduction first of the S60 and then with the V40 of 2012. Especially the V40, come to think of it. It uses the same chassis as the all-conquering Ford Focus and wraps it in some cool Scandinavian design. As such, it's one of the smartest used picks on the market, although that does tend to be reflected in some fairly robust residuals. Here's what to look for when buying used.
Modelsword count: 16
(5dr hatch, 1.6, 2.0, 2.5 petrol, 1.6, 2.0 diesel [ES, SE, SE Lux, R-DESIGN, Cross Country])
Historyword count: 264
We've come to think of Volvo as one of the most conservative of car manufactures, based in no small part on the corporate messages of safety, family and environment. Hardly hedonistic is it? While the messages from Gothenburg preach unthreatening responsibility, the products that Volvo has been building in recent years are a good deal more daring. That's in marked contrast to most car manufacturers who promise the world and then sell you what, after you've stripped away the pretensions, are often quite dull vehicles. The Volvo V40 used to be dull. Wholly, terminally dull. Worthy, yes, but nothing aspirational. That has changed, and how. The 2012 model year V40 was poised, polished and was certainly one of the coolest five-door hatches around. Yes, that's right, a five-door hatch. Perhaps Volvo belatedly realised that it needed to chase the big numbers in this sector, or maybe the Kronor finally dropped that people don't tend to want small estates, but the V40 attacked a new sector of the market and did so convincingly. The range launched with the choice of ES, SE and SE Lux trims in the one body style with a decent array of engines. At the entry-level was the T3 model, with a 150bhp 1.6 GTDi unit and it ranged right up to a 2.5-litre five-cylinder that was good for 254bhp. Volvo started infilling the range in September 2012 with the launch of the ritzy R-DESIGN trim level, soon followed by a Cross Country model, with the D2 automatic and the 120PS 1.6-litre T2 petrol model arriving in the spring of 2013.
What You Getword count: 586
Aim directly at Audi's A3 and BMW's 1 Series and you've got to come equipped with quite some hardware. The Volvo V40 has the showroom appeal to meet and beat both of these vehicles. We recently had the opportunity to compare the interiors of these three cars back to back. The latest A3 shades the 1 Series in terms of interior look and feel but the V40 aces them both and by quite some margin. Some serious styling has gone into the V40's interior. The floating centre console houses a button-dense centre stack and the eye is drawn to slick detailing such as the frameless rear view mirror and the translucent gear selector. It's not perfect of course. Some of the stalks feel a little cheap and headroom is a little pinched in the rear with narrow rear door apertures, but features such as the rubberised microswitch tailgate release, the full TFT graphic instrument panel and the deft piano black framed door mirrors keep the design balance well into credit. The boot is a decent size and features a hidden underfloor section to keep documents and valuables out of sight. The exterior is also a clever piece of design with a rear end reminiscent of the XC60, featuring a complex, curved tailgate section which melds into a subtler interpretation of Volvo's signature 'shoulders' that run forward towards the headlamps. The aggressive wedge shape of this car has been created courtesy of a low bonnet, lower in fact than any of its rivals have managed due to pedestrian impact legislation. So how have Volvo got away with it? It's done by fitting a pyrotechnic airbag under the bonnet that fires when a pedestrian impact is detected, keeping any unfortunate's head well away from the V40's potentially injurious cylinder head. As with any car in this class, Volvo has striven to offer as many high-tech options as possible, integrating the sort of features that not so long ago were the preserve of some seriously high-end vehicles. We've got used to features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot assistance and lane keeping assistance and the V40 offers all of these things. Reducing personal injury claims, especially around town, is a growing concern for both manufacturers and insurers alike and Volvo's City Safety function now functions at up to 31mph rather than the original version's 18mph limit. City Safety keeps an eye on traffic in front using a laser sensor integrated into the top of the windscreen at the height of the rear-view mirror. The car automatically brakes if the driver fails to react in time when the vehicle in front slows down or stops - or if the car is approaching a stationary vehicle too fast. There's also Driver Alert system, a revised knee airbag design. Pedestrian Detection with full auto brake is a technology that saw its debut in this class of vehicle. It can detect if a pedestrian steps out into the road in front of the car. If the driver does not respond in time, the car can warn and automatically activate the brakes. Pedestrian Detection with full auto brake consists of a radar unit integrated into the car's grille, a camera fitted in front of the interior rear-view mirror, and a central control unit. The radar's task is to detect a pedestrian or vehicle in front of the car and to determine the distance to it while the camera determines what type of object it is. It works at speeds of up to 21mph.
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Category: Compact Family Cars
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