posted 6 years ago

First Drive: Volvo V40 T5 R-Design Lux Nav

The R-Design is a new variant of the Volvo V40 which was my favourite car of 2012 and is also on the shortlist for Car of the Year 2013.

Some may say the Volvo driver is boring, but the R-Design adds a little spice to something that is already a very good car.

I first came across R-Design in their C30 model, it gave it a look of ‘I can run against the big boys’ and it became very popular and opened up the car to a much younger market.

Naturally it has been added to their successful 5 door hatchback with a host of external features, such as a metal frame around the R-Design logo’d grille, making it stand out even more when a driver sees it in their rear-view mirror, a diffuser and twin exhaust tailpipes and R-Design 18” alloys which look like Japanese blades.

In the cabin a mixture of alumimium, blue and black adorns it, even running down the floating centre console with a blue stripe. A go faster one maybe? You can’t get away from the blue, which is a good thing as it’s my favourite colour and it also lights up the TFT crystal display.

Like most Volvos I’ve driven, comfort is something they have just right, the embossed leather seats make for a snug ride. A sports steering wheel, illuminated gearknob frameless rearview mirror and the adjustable mood lighting provide a cool, simple, Scandinavian interior giving you a feeling of calm, which is more can be said for the exterior.

Available in a choice of colours the one that does it for me is Rebel Blue. To say it stands out is an understatement and it definitely lives up to its name as a non-conformist with added silver encased mirrors. Unfortunately this colour is only available for the R-Design.

Volvo V40 T5 R-Design Lux Engine and Emissions

The T5 is a new petrol engine and the 2.5-litre, 254hp automatic certainly knows how to shift. It goes from 0-60 in 5.7 seconds and has a top speed of 155mph. With CO2 emissions of 185g/km and just a combined 35.8mpg it’s certain the diesel options will be more popular. We found the Geartronic felt quite jerky going down the gears and with Start/Stop for economy, the progression from stop to start is a lunge rather than a smooth glide.

The D2 diesel is where Volvo predict they’ll have the most sales at around 63% compared to the other engines. Combined mpg is 78.5, CO2 emissions of 94 fall into the no road tax bracket and it’ll make more choice for those looking to expect more from a car regarding fuel economy.

Out on the roads it disappoints and entertains in equal measure. A solid chassis gives it a firm ride, but the steering is not that responsive removing the playfulness that should be enjoyed in the V40. And it certainly doesn’t like pothole strewn back roads either.

A common query with Volvo buyers was the fact they wanted the R-Design but didn’t want the sporty chassis. So now if you want to go all out sport, then it is available as a £500 option sitting the car 10mm lower.

A plus point is all the standard features available on the V40 and the Lux Nav had extras such as leather upholstery, Active Bending Lights, those scary looking 17”alloys, Daytime Running Lights and a sliding front centre armrest.

Safety is paramount to Volvo and as leaders in pioneering technology innovative features available are: Park Assist Pilot, Cross Traffic Alert, Lane-Keeping Aid, Road Sign Information (ideal for keeping you to the speed limit), City Safety (as standard) and the world’s first Pedestrian Airbag.

A new addition is the award winning Volvo On Call, which is an app downloadable to your smartphone that assists you with making emergency calls, has crash and theft notifications, remote door locking and can even track your Volvo if it gets stolen.

Volvo V40 T5 R-Design Lux Pricing

This T5 R-Design Lux we drive was £38,115 due to the options on it. Park Assist Pilot is £850 and the enormous panoramic sunroof is an additional £1,000. The rebellious paint colour is also £275, but without all these features is £31,390. The bottom of the range R-Design D2 is £22,295, while the level entry petrol 150hp T3 is £22,930.

There will be some that still avoid the Volvo brand like the plague. I think of the V40 R- Design as slightly Jekyll and Hyde - the interior reflects serenity and simplicity, whilst the Rebel Blue paintwork and exterior features scream daring, loud and vivacious. A good combination? Only time will tell.