Fleet News

Our fleet: Volvo V40 D4 SE Lux Nav auto - April 2015

Review

As Volvo tries to establish itself as a premium brand choice, it has adopted an equipment grade to shadow the success of BMW’s M Sport and Audi’s S Line. There is an appetite (particularly in the UK) for the styling cues associated with these models in a more attainable package.

Some might remember, about 10 or so years ago, Volvo having its own high-performance models: V70R (which also appeared in the previous generation model as well as the old 850) and S60R. Although Volvo has had no R model, the R-Design appeared as an equipment grade a few years ago, proving quite popular.

It rides lower on sports suspension, and have a more aggressive look, with a styling kit and larger wheels.

When I was selecting which V40 to run on long-term test, there was a choice of cars already on the fleet for media appraisal. Some were red R-Design models with a manual gearbox, and the others were grey SE Lux models with the eight-speed automatic.

I chose the automatic because of the high-mileage nature of the car’s use, as well as many hours likely to be spent stuck in motorway traffic jams – although a red R-Design would have looked a bit more exciting.

And there seems to be strong appeal on the used market. If I had chosen an automatic R-Design Lux nav, rather than the automatic SE Lux nav, there would have been a slightly higher front-end price. The R-Design Lux nav commands a £450 premium over our car.

However, at four years/80,000 miles – according to the Fleet News running costs database – the R-Design would also have a higher residual value: £8,075 compared with £7,750. A premium of £325, and a fairly sound investment over that period of use.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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