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Volvo V40: Back to the 5 door hatchThe V40 marks the end of the C30 and V50 while also bringing Volvo back to a segment it's not been in for many, many years, the land of the five-door hatch.
Everyone loves an underdog. No idea of why that is, but they do. It is why I love Lotus over Porsche. Why I like Jenson Button over Sebastian [unk] Vettel. Or also, that's why I'm more than likely using the Volvo V40. This is the car that Volvo thinks is radically going to shake up the pre-impact segment. It's the kind you look at, when you think, well, I could have a Navigator 3, or BMW 1C, or a Mercedes A class. But no, I want something a little bit more Swedish. If you're big on aesthetics, I can understand why. It's a stunning car to look at. Gone are the days of boxy lumps of metal. Every angle, you try to look at the V40, you see a new, sort of, swoop and swish. Try doing that with an Audi A3, and you might just fall to sleep. Inside, it's largely the same as the outside. Everything is very Scandinavian, and very swoopy, and very swishy, and is a bowl of new electronic gun for an Audi because their interiors are so solidly built. They will outlast their own by a good 40 years. And again, the BMW is very minimalist and very German, as very efficient use of space. But in here, it has things just very Swedish. There's lot of tech in here too. You've got blind spot recognition that now tells you, there's someone talking it up behind you, and flash it to tell you to get out of the way. A sensor of which tells you if it's safe to reverse with it for a parking spot or nott. A pedestrian and traffic safety system that will brake the car if it speeds up to 30 miles an hour, and completely stunned it. That's sort of rather impressive. Also, and this is the best thing Volvo has ever, ever done. The sat now is no longer rubbish. They made it work. It's actually really good now. It's [unk] and easy to use. I don't know what happened, but I think someone, inside Volvo's head office went, now the sat that people don't like because it's really, really difficult in your country and hear it even makes people harm small animals, we should really fix that. And they have. Handling wise, the V40 isn't quite as good as the cars it's trying to kill with these. It's up against the BMW 1 series, which while it looks like a pack of pig, it's dynamically brilliant. And the Audi, well, the new Audi A3 is going to, well, it's gonna smash this. But I've got to say, the ride is so unbelievably comfortable. It's based on the Ford's Focus' platform and gets the Focus' suspension. The Focus is one of the best handling hatch as you can get. It really is good fuck. There's loads of it to choose from, but I've got two favorites. The 252 brake horsepower T5 because it's fast, and the 92 gram per kilometer million MPG D2 because well, why not? Volvo reckons this is its most important car for 20 years. The last time, the brand sold a proper 5-door hatch was the 440. And when they did, it sold 80,000 cars a year. Well, after they stopped selling it, the numbers went down to only 40,000. Volvo is being very ambitious, taking on the big boys with the V40. But while it might not be as good in specific areas as its competitors are, it's a brilliant all around it. It's really competent in every area. That's why I think this particular underdog stands a chance. Choosing your next premium hatch, just got a bit harder.