A revolution in style
Wednesday 28th August 2013, 11:30AM BST.
Reporter DAMIAN WRIGLEY drives the Volvo V40.
STYLE is increasingly important in this visual world of ours. No longer would you look at someone who is slovenly dressed, hair askew and think: ‘I bet they’ve got a great personality’. No, you’d more think ‘I’d better check they aren’t in my phone book’. And if they are, you delete them.
It’s the same with cars. Not a decade ago it was substance over style. You could have cars with all the whizz-bang money could buy, but then you would notice the company had spent all its money working out how to cram everything in, and employ a person devoid of taste to do the styling.
But now no one wants to be seen in a car that not even Stevie Wonder would call attractive. Cars have become a lifestyle choice, what you buy reflects who you are and what you do. Now manufacturers go to great lengths to make sure their car could grace the cover of Vogue magazine – because designing a car that no one would be seen dead in doesn’t tend to lead to a big profit.
And this styling revolution has no better case-in-point than the Volvo V40 you see here today. Volvos used to have all the aesthetic merits of a shoebox, but, now look – it would appear you’ll have to ‘opt-in’ on broadband contracts to be able to see images of it. The way it tapers down gives it an element of stealth, and it has a stronger jaw line than Tom Cruise.
Don’t think this is a package-holiday style over substance bit either. Stepping in is like walking onto the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. Brushed metal this. Cream leathered that. A touchscreen sat nav come DVD player. The glovebox is cooled and so can double up as a fridge.
There’s even an app to download. It can park itself, alert you when you’re drifting lanes – and in Guernsey that means help prevent a head on smash – has a frameless rear-view mirror (much cooler than it sounds, it’s like it’s floating) and at the speed limit it does 50mpg. The eight-speaker stereo was so good if I’d have pulled up in a field and cranked the volume, people would have thought Guernsey Live was back.
I was the most out-of-date thing in it, and I’m only 25. It will comfortably sit five people, you’ll easily get a week’s worth of luggage for all of you in the boot and with its low-down F117 nighthawk looks its sporty enough for any dads out there who don’t want to feel like they’re compromising. When you get in you feel like you’re bumping into an old friend, it’s just natural. The seat will soothe the stress of your day and when you’re stuck in traffic you can pop in a DVD to pass the time. It is a perfect driver’s car. But more than that, it’s a pedestrians’ one too. Because the bonnet hinges release and external airbags are deployed to cushion any impact. It’s a mobile crash landing pad.
It really is a very, very good car, this. With prices starting at just shy if £17,500 it’s extremely affordable too. Like I said, cars are a lifestyle choice. And this is one to aspire to.