Volvo is now back, and this time, the carmaker has transformed into a high-volume premium brand. Now owned by China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, Volvo is attempting to compete against other carmakers in the high-volume segment like Audi with its A3 model and BMW with its 1 series line-up by introducing its first high-volume premium car -- the five-door V40 compact hatchback.
Volvo unveiled the V40 at the Geneva Auto show in March and is building it using a platform supplied by Ford Motor Co., its former parent. The V40 is expected to replace the V50 station and S40 saloon.
Volvo has used "V" as a designation for its wagon products, but the letter in V40 is used to mean another thing as planned by the company's marketing executives -- "versatility." The V40 uses the same 60/40 rear seat configuration like other hatchbacks that could be folded down to create a flat cargo area. Despite that, Volvo wants the V40 to stand out among other hatchbacks, at least in terms of safety technology.
The V40 utilises Volvo's City Safety system that employs a radar and camera to detect and avoid low-speed collisions with vehicles as well as pedestrians. The current City Safety system could prevent or if not, mitigate collisions of up to 50 km/h, compared to the 30 km/h figure logged by the previous version.
The V40’s pedestrian detection feature, on the other hand, alerts the driver if a pedestrian is in front of the vehicle. If the driver fails to respond accordingly, the system will cause the V40 to automatically brake from speeds of up to 35 km/h.
If the collision becomes inevitable, the rear of the V40’s bonnet would be released and elevated by a ground-breaking pedestrian air bag underneath the hatchback, covering around a third of the windshield. Despite being marketed as safety vehicle, the V40 boasts of having sporty handling.