Volvo have announced a series of refinements for their 2008 model year S40 and V50 range. In an effort to increase the visual differentiation between the sedan and wagon variants and in response to owner feedback the following changes have been introduced.
? S40 front with lower, broader stance
? Sportier new grille for V50
? Slimmer tail lamps and new rear bumper
? Larger and more practical storage space (front doors)
? Scandinavian real wood inlay - Nordic Light Oak
? No pricing change for Australia
? Chameleon blue, Matt gold and Gekko green added to colour range
? Trip computer added to S40 S and V50 S
? Active headlamps available as an option across model range
While the Nordic Light Oak brings a little ?Ikea? into the cabin Volvo continue to dish up beautiful driving environments and the current round of refinements sees the emphasis on improving available cabin storage space. To achieve this Volvo have redesigned the entire lower part of the front door inside panels and the audio system loudspeakers have been reshaped to free space for a new, larger storage compartment with space for an A4 format book, an upright soft drinks can or a water bottle lying down.
Volvo designers even managed to find space for an extra Dynaudio loudspeaker but you will need to tick the ?Premium Sound? option box to take advantage of this little bonus.
The storage space between the seats has been increased by introducing a new handbrake with a more compact design, which in turn has freed space for more generous storage capacity within the centre console. The sliding cover over the larger storage compartments, in which there are also two holders that provide secure support for large and small cups (or drink cans), is complemented by an improved flexible armrest for the driver.
"We've utilised the small spaces that are normally covered over when they're not housing controls for options or accessories. Instead, this space has been converted into a handy compartment, for instance for a mobile phone. After all, the phone is not something we should be using while driving, anyway. And on the back of the console there is another little jewel: a flip-up holder for a 1.5-litre bottle within easy reach of passengers in the rear-seat?, explains Steve Harper, the man responsible for the design of the MY2008 Volvo S40 and V50.
With the drinks safely stowed, Volvo also sought to increase the differentiation between the S40 and V50 and in the case of the S40 sedan they looked to their S80 large luxury sedan for inspiration. The new colour-coordinated soft nose creates a broader, lower stance thanks to a new grille with a larger Volvo Iron Mark, new headlamps and a lower air intake that sweeps across the entire front unlike the current model's three-part design.
The V50 features a new black egg-crate grille with a larger Volvo Iron Mark, that Volvo believe emphasises athleticism ? we just think it?s a bigger Volvo Iron Mark. New headlamps and three sculpted lower air intakes have been added to the new colour-coordinated soft-nose V50 in an effort to endow it with a stronger visual presence.
The lower part of the tail lamp panel on both the S40 and V50 is 30mm higher than before and the lamps themselves have an entirely new graphic layout. The brake lights are now of LED type and the position marker lamps emphasise the car's shoulders, while the new bumper design features integrated reflectors in the lower corners.
So, it would appear that Volvo care enough to listen to their customers and provide them with more places to put their coffee or stow their road maps and they have managed to do it all without increasing the price. Which means all of these new cubby-holes could be yours starting from $39,950 for the S40 and $42,950 for the V50.