2014 Volvo V40 T5 R-Design Review


When you think of premium hot hatches Volvo normally isn’t the first the brand that comes to mind, but after spending a week in the Volvo V40 T5 R-Design I really think it should be one of the first that you think out.
I’ve reviewed a lot of cars in the past year and the V40 T5-R created more interest in one week than most of the cars I’ve reviewed.
It seemed everywhere I went during the week I was stopped by people who wanted to have a look and a chat a about it.
It wasn’t just the brilliant blue paint work called rebel blue that attracted people lots of people commented on the looks of the car as well and many were taken back by how good the interior looked.
When you take a close look at it the V40 is an attractive looking car to begin with but tick that R-Design box and it takes it to another level. The aggressive looking body kit complete with blacked out grille 18inch alloys, rear spoiler, rear diffuser and dual exhaust complete the package.
Step inside and your greeted with a waft of luxury and sportiness, the R-design sport seats not only provide a great amount of comfort but also offers a great amount of support while cornering.
The leather bound steering wheel is comfortable to hold and was the perfect thickness for me.
The Instrument panel is what Volvo calls the Adaptive display which lets you toggle through 3 different themes Eco, Elegance and my personal favourite Performance which has a large digital speedo in the middle, rev tacho on the right and throttle position metre on the left.
The dash is softish to touch and the binnacle is covered in leather, the centre stack is a floating design which means there storage shelf behind it.
The top of the centre stack is home to the 7inch screen for the multimedia system.
The system is operated by a knob on the centre stack or via the via recognition button on the steering wheel. I found the system easy to use although not quite as user friendly as a touch screen.
The system offers you full control over most of the systems on your car as well as letting access a manual for your car.
The sound from the audio is extremely good and I really liked being able to connect to internet via my phones internet connection and listen to radio stations from around the world via the tune in app. MY wife really got a kick out of being able to listen to her favourite radio station from back home in Kansas.
The back seat offered plenty of comfort and ample legroom and my kids didn’t complain the whole even when spent a whole day driving around looking at houses.
Under the bonnet the V40 T5 R-Design is powered by a 2.0L 4cyl Turbo engine with auto stop/start engine, pushing out 184Kw of power and 350nM torque.
That means the its more than a tidy performer Volvo quotes a 6.3 0-100km/h time for this and while I didn’t do a proper 0-100 test it certainly felt like that Volvo weren’t fudging their figures.
The V40 T5-R has more than enough power to keep up with traffic and because it develops it’s torque down low it’s an extremely tractable engine indeed you can just potter around in peak hour traffic but then should the mood take you, put down your foot a bit for some fun.
Despite that it can return rather decent fuel economy figures during the week I got just over 12L/100 which is awesome considering the traffic I drive in. In more urban driving the fuel economy went into the 10’’s and on the freeway I saw it get down in the 6’s. So really you can get great economy from this if you drive it with that in mind I didn’t. The car also has an eco function which when enabled the car will try and shift into the highest gear possible to improve fuel economy.
One saving grace though is the start/stop feature which meant while I was sitting in bumper to bumper traffic I wasn’t using any fuel at all when I was stopped.
I only used a tank of fuel the whole week which considering I drove everywhere that and spent most of the Saturday driving around looking at houses when I returned it, the computer was stating I had 80km til empty.
Backing the brilliant engine is Volvo’s 8 speed adaptive Geartronic automatic transmission with paddle shifters. I really like this transmission the shifts are smooth and seamless and it is well matched to the engine, if you want to shift for yourself slip the car into sportsmode and you change gears via the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.
On road and V40 T5-R equip with Volvo’s sports chassis and while the suspension is a touch firm I found that it rode rather well indeed, there was no crash or bang and it seemed to absorb the bumps well. The plus side is that it’s handles extremely well when you throw some corners at it.
Safety wise as you would expect from a Volvo the V40 T5-R is packed to the rafters with safety features including City Safety (to 50km/h), Pedestrian Airbag System, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, Advanced Stability Control, and Corner Traction Control, ABS brakes with Ready Alert Brakes , Hydraulic Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Distribution, Emergency Brake Assist. Two stage driver and front passenger airbags, Roll Over Protection System and Inflatable Curtains, driver’s knee airbag, rain sensor and auto lights. It also scores bonus points for having rear parking sensors and a rear parking camera.
This car came with the optional driver support pack and while it might seem a bit pricey at $5,000 it adds things such as Blind Spot Information System and Cross Traffic Alert, Driver Alert System, Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, Park Assist Pilot to the already impressive feature list.
After a week in the Volvo V40 T5-R I came away mighty impressed, the fit and finish and quality of material used on the interior were top class, it has more safety, features then you can poke a stick at. The T5 engine extremely tractable and can return decent economy, but has impressive power and low down torque. The 8 speed transmission is wonderfully precise and seamless, the multi media system and has the added bonus of being able to connect to the internet via your phone.
If you are after a premium sports hatch then you should definitely have the V40 T5-R design on your list.
Thanks to Volvo Australia for the loan of the car for more info on the V40 or the rest of Volvo’s range of vehicles visit their web site.
The V40 range starts at $36,990, list price for the T5 R Design $50,400, options fitted Exterior Heated front seats ($375), Panoramic tinted glass roof ($2,650), Driver Support Pack ($5,000) – Blind Spot Information System and Cross Traffic Alert, Driver Alert System, Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, Park Assist PIlot Price as tested $58,425*


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