Illuminating new

Volvo V40

Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2016, front, action
Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2016, headlight
Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2016, front
Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2016, front, static
Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2016, side, action
Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2016, side, static
Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2016, rear, static
Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2016, rear, action
Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2016, interior
Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2016, boot

VOLVO'S best selling car in the UK has been given a fresh new look - guaranteeing its appeal remains high.

The V40 and V40 Cross Country now get a new "face" with signature LED headlights as well as new grilles and a range of new trim levels.

The new-style lights were first fitted on Volvo's 90 Series and are fast becoming the corporate look of the Swedish car maker.

Certainly on the V40 the swept back style of the powerful new headlights and the revised mesh design on the grille give the car a more grown up appearance.

Volvo says claims a bit of one-upmanship with the headlights, insisting no other car manufacturer offers full LED headlights as standard on its premium hatchbacks.

Potential customers also now have a five extra colours to choose from as well as eight new alloy wheel designs.

The V40 was introduced in 2012 and represented 39 per cent of Volvo's sales in the UK last year so getting the design right is vital to brand.

Until now buyers of the more rugged look V40 Cross Country - a car with 40mm additional ground clearance for tackling rougher terrain - have had to pay an extra £700 for the styling kit which set it apart from the standard hatchback.

From now on, however, the kit - which includes side skirts, protective underbody panels front and rear and exhausts integrated into the body - will be fitted as standard.

The range starts with the 120bhp 2.0-litre, D2 diesel model in Momentum trim at £22,005 - popular with company car drivers because of its 18 per cent benefit-in-kind tax - while for buyers who prefer petrol there's the 2.0-litre, 122bhp T2 Momentum at £22,255.

A brief drive in the latter proved that you don't have to spend mega money to own a family sized hatchback which offers lively performance and sensible economy.

Boasting a 0-62 miles per hour acceleration time of 9.8 seconds and a top speed of 118 mph the T2 certainly gives a good account of itself.

With a six-speed manual gearbox the T2 is lively, refined and quiet and offers far more than one would expect from a range's entry level model.

Economy is pretty good too with a claimed average consumption of just over 51 miles per gallon, better than many diesel cars. Emissions are rated at 127g/km.

At the other end of the spectrum I also managed to get behind the wheel of the range's flagship T5 model in Cross Country trim and with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

This blisteringly quick 2.0-litre has a 149 miles per hour top speed and will hit 62mph in just 6.4 seconds. The downside is it will cost you just under £34,000 without any optional extras and the model I tried - with a host of extras - had a price tag of just under £40,000.

But not only is this a thrill-a-minute high performance car it comes with four-wheel-drive, hill decent control, a full satellite navigation system and leather-faced upholstery so you certainly get a lot for your money.

And whichever V40 model you opt for you can now get an app on your smart phone which enable you to locate your car on a map, flash the headlights and sound the horn if you have lost it on a large car park, view the dashboard readouts on the phone and even alert you if the car alarm has been triggered.

The new V40 range is in showrooms now - and with such innovative features is already creating a lot of interest.

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