When gathering information about the Volvo’s incredible Hatchback, the V40, the one sentence I kept hearing over and over again was “it’s the safest hatchback on the road”, followed by a pause, and then, “Ever.” I thought this was a bit of an exaggeration, but when approaching my contact at Volvo East Rand, I heard this is indeed the truth.

Safety has been a priority for Volvo since the start of their vehicle manufacturing career in the 1920’s. As pioneers in the field of vehicle safety, Volvo has also been instrumental in the design and implementation of such important safety mechanisms as the three-point safety belt which has, undoubtedly, saved countless lives. This vision and mission remains ingrained in every Volvo produced, and the V40 is no exception.

One of the most distinctive vehicles on the road at present, the V40’s tell-tale black-inlaid boot has been catching my eye on the road for some time. The style and design of the V40 has it mirroring a sedan from the front, but the classy, hatch-backed rear changes the game substantially; in my mind, Volvo (together with certain other major German brands) has always stood out as a mature, sophisticated vehicle for the more experienced driver. The V40 has changed that perception entirely for me.

With a recent subtle, yet sexy, facelift, the V40 has elegance and fun bundled into one gorgeous package. The interior is characteristic Swedish luxury, with unparalleled quality in finishes. The steering wheel is leather-clad, as is almost everything else, effectively submerging the driver and passengers in lavish comfort. Although not as roomy as a sedan, the V40 is perfect for the hatchback segment, leaning more towards the Premium feel. The boot is also obviously not expansive, but this one negative is the result of having to search really hard for a fault.

The dashboard and infotainment system is more than sufficient, with a cool keypad for punching in phone numbers that the vintage-side of me really likes. It makes for an effortless drive and easy-to-use features are commendable, considering the amount of technology on board (which, if I start listing it, usually results in me getting my abbreviations tongue-twisted).

Released in numerous derivatives, the V40 Cross Country is an additional model that has made waves on the South African roads. With all the class and style required of a Premium Hatchback, the V40 is also superbly safe, making for an ideal family car that also doubles as a sporty, sublime vehicle for young executives. Volvo’s incredible reputation lives on!


By Desh Bechan