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New Volvo V40 revealed ahead of Geneva Motor Show 2012
Volvo has revealed the first details of its new V40 - a five-door premium hatchback that debuts at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
What makes the 2012 Volvo V40 different?
Where the Volvo C30 arguably majored on style it definitely compromised on practicality; the new Volvo V40 aims to do a better job of both, with five doors, a wide range of engines and a comprehensive array of safety equipment - including the world's first pedestrian airbag.
Volvo is promising a "luxury look and feel" with "meticulous attention to detail", and a design that is "human-centric". In practice this means plenty of sharply creased lines and swooping curves on the outside, and a driver-focused cockpit style interior.
It's a far cry from the previous Volvo V40 estate.
Volvo is also keen to stress that the new V40 is intended to be good to drive, with class-leading dynamics and an agile chassis. But this won't come at the expense of the company's hard-won and well-deserved reputation for high levels of safety.
How safe is the 2012 Volvo V40?
Joining the existing Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake system, the V40 will also see Volvo launch the world's first pedestrian airbag. It isn't saying exactly how this will work yet, but we're assuming it's clever enough not to deploy during minor parking bumps.
Alongside this, the V40 will also introduce a "Lane Keeping Aid with haptic auto steering" and a "Park Assist Pilot" that's said to make parallel parking easy. Volvo's current City Safety collision mitigation system has also been upgraded, and now functions all the way up to 31mph - rather than the 19mph limit in other models.
Taken together this makes the V40 "the most intelligent and safe Volvo model so far," according to Programme Manager Håkan Abrahamsson. "All its features are designed around the driver, helping him or her stay alert and well informed to avoid collisions and dangerous situations."
How fast is the 2012 Volvo V40?
Full specification details will be announced at the Geneva Motor Show in March, but Volvo has already confirmed the V40 will be offered with everything from a 94g/km CO2 turbodiesel to a 254hp T5 turbo petrol that can go 0-62mph in just 6.7 seconds. Stop-start features on all models, including the automatics.
When is the 2012 Volvo V40 on sale?
Production of the new V40 starts this May at Volvo's factory in Ghent, Belgium. While it's UK on-sale date and pricing is yet to be confirmed, expect it to arrive before the end of the year at a slight premium over the smaller C30.
That car starts at £14,995. Volvo hopes to sell 90,000 new V40s a year, with 85% heading for European customers. No word yet on electric or plug-in hybrid variants, but given Volvo's current activities in these areas we shouldn't be surprised.
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