Volvo Breathes Again with the V40

Volvo V40, front

The V40 hatch is the sharpest car Volvo has made in years, but it won’t come to the U.S., since the company sees no demand here for 5-door hatchbacks. Another example of how our markets lag Europe.

Shown at Geneva, the V40 will compete against BMW’s 1 Series and the Audi A3. TopGear drove it briefly and especially praised the interior, the seats, the great improvement over older Volvos in handling, and the smooth, “torquey flow” of power.

Two gas engines (150 and 180 hp) and a 2-liter diesel are available. It looks good from any angle, and an XC40 crossover may be coming.

You also get a pedestrian airbag that pops out of your hood and inflates to cushion the blow for those you unluckily slam into. For the extra complexity and cost of this item, I wonder if this isn’t just a bit “over the top,” so to speak. Although, as Volvo says, about 12 percent of traffic fatalities involve pedestrians.

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