Volvo unveiled the new V40 five-door, five-seat hatchback at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, describing it as a sibling to the three-door C30, with which it shares engine options. The model also introduces a lower emission version of the 1.6-L Ford/PSA common-rail diesel. The car is due on sale in May 2012, aimed principally at European buyers who are expected to account for 85% of the planned production of 90,000 models per year.
The V40 can be specified with a comprehensive list of electronic driving and safety aids and is available with a diesel engine emitting 94 g/km of carbon dioxide. It can also be fitted with the Volvo Sensus graphic instrument display and is offered with a range of interior “mood” lighting displays.
Any new Volvo would set high expectations for safety equipment, and among the features available with the V40 are a pedestrian airbag, lane keeping aid using haptic automatic steering technology, automatic road sign information, a park assistance system, active high beam, and a radar-based cross-traffic alert system at the rear.
The pedestrian airbag technology is triggered by sensors in the front bumper, which can detect a collision with a pedestrian. If a collision is detected, the system releases the rear end of the hood near the windscreen and inflates an airbag beneath it, raising it further above the engine. The airbag also covers around a third of the windscreen and the A-pillars to cushion a pedestrian’s head and reduce the severity of injuries.
Volvo will also offer further developments of its Collision Warning and City Safety systems. Pedestrian Detection with full automatic braking is a development of the collision warning system. The system applies full braking if a pedestrian or vehicle is detected ahead and the driver does not take avoiding action. The City Safety system works in a similar way, using a laser sensor fitted at rear view mirror height at the top of the windscreen. Full braking is applied if the driver fails to brake when traffic ahead is stationary at speeds up to 50 km/h (31 mph).
The lane-keeping aid operates between speeds of 65 and 200 km/h (40 and 124 mph) using forward-looking cameras to detect lane markings. If the car begins to drift out of a lane, the system applies gentle corrective steering torque via the electric power steering system. If this is ignored and the car leaves the lane, a vibration is applied to the steering wheel.
The V40 is also the first Volvo to be equipped with an enhanced radar-based Blind Spot Information System. The radar sensors are fitted at the rear “corners” of the car and scan the sides and rear of the vehicle, delivering warnings in displays set in the A-pillars. Volvo claims that the V40’s pedestrian detection system, which can automatically brake the car to rest if a pedestrian 80 cm (31 in) or taller steps into the road ahead of the car.
The car is available with two chassis options: Dynamic and Sport. Dynamic will be standard, featuring identical 25-mm (1.0-in) piston rods in the front McPherson struts as the Volvo S60. The compression and rebound damping in the rear mono-tube dampers is controlled using the same valve to speed up response times. The Sport chassis rides 10 mm (0.4 in) lower and has stiffer spring and damper settings.
Drivers will be able to select their preferred level of steering assistance between low, medium, and high modes. Low mode provides the greatest level of assistance and high mode is tuned for enthusiastic drivers with the least amount of assistance. Corner traction control is also used to vector torque in cornering by braking the inner driven wheel and thereby transferring more torque to the outer driven wheel for greater control.