20 Jun 2013

Volvo V40 T5 - first impressions and photos

The Man from Volvo dropped off a V40 T5 today for a 9 day tenure at chez Speedmonkey.  I've done a few miles and taken a few photos and formed a pretty good impression of the car so far.

The V40 T5 R-Design Lux Nav, to give it its full title, is a 251bhp, 2.5 litre, 5-cylinder, turbocharged hatchback that does 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds.  It costs a smidge over £31,000.  It is Volvo's attempt at a hot hatchback, and is front wheel drive.

My wife gave the V40 a good look over and pronounced it "pretty good looking" - which is massive praise.  She's not forgiving when it comes to modern car design.  She also pointed out that it is an automatic which is, "stupid in a hot hatch."  Again, not wrong.

The engine is very willing, albeit quiet - although its turbo emits quite a whine.  The steering is fine, mid-weight, not too fidgety.  The ride is comfortable.  The car holds the road well in higher speed corners. In slow speed, quick turning, corners the soft ride gives way to some roll from the front end.

The interior is fantastic - I would struggle to fault it.  The seats are great.  The infotainment system seems pretty clear and easy to use.

The only let down so far is the automatic gearbox.  I could live with it if it had flappy paddles.  Coming out of a corner I want instant power so I'd normally use the left hand paddle to chuck it down a gear in readiness but with no paddle you have to plant the throttle and wait a moment for kickdown.  Yes, you can change gear using the gearstick but I've yet to get used to this in an automatic.  With an auto box I like being able to change gears only in certain circumstances and doing this on the gear selector just doesn't feel natural.

So far so Volvo.  It's not a manic, tyre scrabbling, hot hatch in the Megane 265 vein but it is a decent stab at the genre.