TO SOME extent, Volvo’s V4 is a deceptive car.
Beneath its hatch styling and modest technical specifications is a sports car that delivers an entertaining performance.
Admittedly, it has to be in Sport mode for you to enjoy the growl of the engine and the nippy behaviour. But, at least, it’s an available, albeit surprising, option.
The Swedish car manufacturer is now a subsidiary of Chinese company Geely, but has been left to its own devices, provided it shows a profit, one would assume.
It retains some telling Swedish notes of bravado, like daytime running LED lights shaped like Thor’s hammer, and the symbolic male dominance in the logo.
Volvo has made some strides in focusing on its product line up. By streamlining its offerings, it keeps to a narrow bandwidth that hits the key touchpoints. And in Singapore’s complex, fluid and heavily taxed market, it takes some work to keep track of the moving parts.
This sense of streamlining is also evident in the cockpit. The cosy confines is textured, but still black — at least in the test drive car, a T4 R-Design variant which works out to be financially more prudent for the customer. A panoramic roof lets the light in, but there wouldn’t be too many days you’d like your head cooked in the tropical heat.
The single dial in the cockpit is controlled by a couple of stalks. You can change the ambience and settings, but its simplicity helps you focus on one spot where you get your vital information.
Connectivity is easy and the sound from phone calls and the music on your phone are well delivered by the sound system.
Engaging In Sport
The six-speed shifter is also kept simple, with a push to the left putting you in the engaging sport mode. A button on the centre console lets you try Eco, which is still a reasonably sharp ride from the turbocharged two-litre model.
Space at the back is tight, and the boot is adequate for daily activities or that longer road trip.
Sprung tighter than its Momentum equivalent, the R-Design is comfortable on the move. When you floor it, the enthusiasm is evident and is matched by a desire to deliver. At speed, the front-wheel-driven car seems like it would like to get into a drift, but that adds to the fun of driving this car.
By 2019, all Volvo cars will be either fully electric of hybrids. This is the general direction most car industries are taking, but it would be a pity to silence the vim and vigour of this petrol-powered model.
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VOLVO V40 T4 R-DESIGN TECH SPECS
Engine: In-line 4 cylinders, 16 valves, turbocharged
Capacity: 1,969 cc
Max Power: 140kW@4,700rpm
Max Torque: 300Nm@1,300-4,000rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
VES Band: C1
0-100kmh: 6.9 seconds
Top Speed: 210kmh
Retail price: *$152,000
Please reconfirm price with the dealer.
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