Last V40 was a wagon, new one takes Volvo into premium hatchback segment targeting BMW 1-series and Audi A3

Last V40 was a wagon, new one takes Volvo into premium hatchback segment targeting BMW 1-series and Audi A3

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Geely's Volvo Car has released first images of the new V40 ahead of its Geneva show press day debut on 6 March. The previous V40, built from 1996 to 2004, was a wagon; the new model is a five-door sport tourer style hatchback. Volvo still offers a compact wagon badged V50.

"The V40 is ready to overtake the competition in the premium hatchback class with sharpened features and characteristics from larger Volvos wrapped in a sleek, compact package," the automaker said.

"The V40 is the first new model that is fully developed according to our human-centric, 'designed around you' strategy," said Volvo Car president and CEO Stefan Jacoby.

"Thanks to input from customers all over the world our most compact V-range model features an outstanding blend of design, safety and versatility. The car is loaded with features that buyers of modern luxury cars want," he added.

Volvo claims class-leading driving dynamics. The available engine range will run from the automaker's first diesel with CO2 emissions of 94g/km [exempt froom London's congestion charge] to the turbocharged 254hp T5 petrol engine. All engines will have start-stop and braking energy regeneration with both manual or automatic transmissions.

Equipment includes pedestrian detection with full auto brake, claimed 'world first' pedestrian airbag, lane keeping aid with haptic auto steering and self-parking.

The city safety low-speed collision avoidance system has been further developed and now operates at speeds up to 31 mph (19mph on other models).

Volvo expects to sell 90,000 units a year, 85% in Europe.

Production starts in in Ghent, Belgium, next May.