Volvo is well-known for producing cars with practicality and safety in mind, but the firm is now trying to make a name for itself in terms of cutting-edge features and sporty ride and handling, to tap into a wider audience. Armed with a 2.0-litre 5-cylinder turbo-engine, I decided to take the V40 T5 for a nice drive up to Genting Highlands during one fine sunny Saturday morning to find out what it had to offer.
With my suitcases all packed I made my way to the Elite highway before reaching the Gombak toll. Luckily, there was very little traffic along the way, but not smooth enough for me to do a proper 0-110 km/h sprint. Low-speed ride quality is also very good in the V40 T5, but be careful with the brakes though, they are superb but it will take a while getting used to, as they are very quick to bite.
As soon as I passed the Gombak toll, I kept my right foot pinned along the Karak highway. The car is decently brisk out on the freeway and feels faster than Volvo’s claim of 6.9 seconds for its 0-100 km/h dash. The V40 T5 provides 213hp of power and 300Nm of torque to overtake any slower moving vehicles blocking my way.
Despite its Swedish badge, this car is actually a closet hot-hatch that drives like a bad-boy! When climbing uphill, the gear change is super smooth and slick and it doesn’t matter how hard you work this engine, the car never feels over-stressed as the automatic transmission is very keen to kick down a gear. Moreover, there is a lot of grip available, allowing the car to tackle tight corners without breaking a sweat. The steering is precise, however it suffers from a poor turning radius to a point that you will have to do a three point turn at many U-turns or in a parking lot.
The suspension system fitted in this hatchback seems well-suited to the less-than perfect Malaysian B-roads, proving very pliant, although bigger potholes and bumps were noticeably felt through the sporty suspension, especially for those sat at the back.
The responsive 5-cylinder engine proved to me that my decision to spend an afternoon driving an entertaining mountain road with the V40 T5 was worthwhile, although at the very beginning I was actually tempted to take my own hatchback for a ride instead.
Mind you, the V40 T5 does not come with paddle shifters, which is a total kill joy for speed demons. Although you’ll have the option to change gear manually using the gear stick, it just doesn’t feel sporty enough. My other gripe is that if you do not switch off the automatic start-stop function, the cabin warms-up rapidly as the air-condition compressor cuts off to save fuel.
Volvo’s core selling point is safety and just like other Volvo vehicles, the V40 T5 benefits from a plethora of innovative active and passive safety technologies. For example, the V40 T5 comes standard with City Safety that automatically brakes the car up to speeds of 50km/h if the driver fails to brake; a blind-spot warning system (BLIS) that warns you if there is any vehicle creeping onto your blind spot area; and a Cross Traffic Alert that assists the driver to cross from the side when reversing out of parking space. I found this feature very helpful especially in tight and crowded areas where double parking is a norm in Malaysia.
To top it off, its drop-dead gorgeous design makes the V40 T5 a suitable drive for all occasions, be it from escaping the city for an adventure out town, or tooling around your neighbourhood area. Complemented by the futuristic and aerodynamic 17-inch ‘Segomo’ alloy wheels, this car is quite an attention grabber.
Thankfully, the interior is just as pleasing as the outside with a familiar Scandinavian design featuring Volvo’s trademark ‘floating’ centre console. The cabin’s environment exudes spaciousness; that ‘large car’ feeling with a very cosy and relaxing atmosphere.
Although the V40 T5 comes with a keyless entry, there is a special slot located just below the push start button which allows you to slot in your car key just in case you have short term memory and can’t figure out where it is. I also like the ‘fully graphic’ instrument cluster behind the chunky steering wheel that allows you to choose between three graphic themes including ‘elegance’, ‘eco’ and ‘performance’ in any given driving situation.
Jam-packed with all kinds of creature comforts like leather upholstery and tech features such as Bluetooth hands free system, the V40 T5 is actually a great companion for everyday use.
With an on-the-road price of RM190,888 with insurance, the V40 T5 finds itself in a fairly competitive place in the market. However, it appeals to customers due to its well-built quality and solidness. You don’t need to be a car expert to convince yourself that this car has a great sense of agility on the road, a short test drive run would suffice.
Specifications: Volvo V40 T5
Price: RM 190,888 (on-the-road without insurance)
Engine: 5-cyls, 1984cc, turbo
Power: 213hp @ 6000rpm
Torque: 300Nm @ 2700-5000rpm
Gearbox: 6-speed automatic with Geartronic
0-100 km/h: 6.9 seconds
Top speed : 230 km/h