Volvo's first new model since the brand's purchase by Chinese giant Geely, the small V40 hatch, has launched in Australia this week.
Hitting showrooms on March 1 with a $34,990 starting point, the V40 arrives as one of the safest offerings in the small car market, and a direct price rival for Mercedes' new A-Class range.
The 2013 V40 hits Australia with diesel and petrol engines, six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, and three distinct trim grades.
Standard across all three models is Volvo's world-first pedestrian airbag, a feature which has made the V40 the highest-rated vehicle ever crash tested by Euro NCAP.
An updated City Safety collision avoidance package is also featured, along with Park Assist Pilot, Lane Keeping Aid, and a Road Sign Information system.
In Australia, the V40 will be offered with two five-cylinder petrol engines, and a pair of diesel engines - one counting five cylinders, and the other four. All are equipped with idle stop-start.
The entry petrol option is the T4, a 2.0 litre five-cylinder mill that produces 132kW at 5000rpm and 300Nm between 2700 and 4000rpm.
The T5 tops the petrol options, available only in range-leading R-Design trim. Power here is rated at 187kW at 5400rpm and 360Nm of torque between 1800 an 4200rpm.
Both engines can be had with six-speed automatic transmissions only - and that's the conventional sort, there are no dual-clutch units here.
Fuel consumption with the T4 is listed at 7.6 l/100km, while the T5 returns 8.1 l/100km.
Volvo says the T4 will hit 100km/h in 8.7 seconds, while the fleet-footed T5 will get there in 6.1 seconds - quicker in fact than Mercedes-Benz' new A 250 Sport (but not, of course, the flagship A 45 AMG).
As the entry option to the whole V40 range, the D2 is the least powerful but also the most frugal operator in the bunch.
Power for the four-cylinder 1.6 litre engine is rated at 84kW at 3600rpm and 270Nm between 1750 and 2500rpm, and Volvo lists fuel consumption at a low 4.2 l/100km.
Offered with a six-speed manual transmission only, the D2 promises a trip to 100km/h in a stately 11.9 seconds.
The more powerful D4 is a 2.0 litre five-cylinder engine, delivering 130kW at 3500rpm and 400Nm between 1750 and 2750rpm.
In six-speed manual form, the D4 lists fuel figures at 4.9 l/100km, while the six-speed auto lists 5.3 l/100km.
The auto might be less frugal, but it is (slightly) quicker to 100km/h, getting there in 8.3 seconds to the manual's 8.6 seconds.
All models in the V40 range feature McPherson strut suspension up front, and all are available in front-wheel-drive only.
In petrol T5 R-Design form, a Sport tune of the V40's chassis is standard, sitting 10mm lower with firmer springs and shocks.
Standard across the V40 range is a three-mode digital instrument cluster, along with cruise control, rear parking sensors, LED daytime running lights, auto wipers and headlights, and alloy wheels ranging in size from 16- to 18-inch.
Key safety features that are also equipped as standard across the range include Volvo's new Pedestrian airbag system, a new City Safety collision system that works at speeds up to 50km/h, and seven airbags.
The entry trim grade in the V40 range is the Kinetic model, featuring cloth seats, powered driver's seat, halogen headlights and a five-inch multifunction centre stack display.
The mid-spec V40 Luxury (top-spec in diesel form) adds leather trim and a powered passenger seat, satellite navigation with a seven-inch display and a reversing camera, and Bi-Xenon active headlights.
In the petrol-only T5 R-Spec, upgrades include sports seats, higher-spec leather trim and a number of sports styling and handling tweaks throughout.
Depending on the model, an optional $5000 Driver Support Pack will also be offered, adding Adaptive Cruise and a new version of Volvo's blind-spot and cross-traffic detection system.
Volvo is also offering a free servicing deal over three years, valued at between $1500 and $2500 - depending on the model and the amount of kilometres covered.
Free scheduled servicing is capped at 60,000km.
“The All-New Volvo V40 is a car that offers extraordinary value for money, class-leading safety attributes, world-first innovations, a stunning design and a truly dynamic drive,” Volvo Australia boss Matt Braid said.
“Combine the incredibly sharp opening price point with the free scheduled servicing as standard, and we think it’s an extremely compelling offering to potential customers in what is going to be an exciting segment to watch.”
Internationally, Volvo expects to sell 90,000 units per year of the All-New Volvo V40, with 85 percent of the total volume going to European customers.
The largest individual markets are the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, China, Switzerland and Australia.
Pricing (excluding on-road costs)
- D2 Kinetic $34,990 (manual only)
- D4 Kinetic $39,990 (man)
- D4 Kinetic $41,990 (auto)
- D4 Luxury $45,990 (auto only)
- T4 Kinetic $41,990 (auto only)
- T4 Luxury $45,990 (auto only)
- T5 R-Design $49,990 (auto only)