We met Ivy, a Volvo V 40 D2 in Flamenco Red, two days before Christmas. And she (of course, it’s a she) remained in our hands up until a few weeks ago. The task was simple: we had to see for ourselves, whether these four wheels are in fact what we need. And want.

These few weeks were more than enough to allow us to safely conclude the obvious: this vehicle is by very far the absolute Best Car of the Year 2015. Moreover, it is exactly what we need. And what we should be lusting after. The only problem was this: we just couldn’t get enough of her.

Following, we shall explain why, dedicating every word and fact to all Non Believers out there, assuming there are any. And, although neither an overview of the car, nor its specs were ever considered to be absolutely necessary, we have indeed included both, wherever needed. But that would only be the cherry on the cake.

All in all: they told us the day we met Ivy, that the Volvo V40 would be the replacement for the S40 and V50. We disagree. It’s not a replacement. It’s most probably the most important new Volvo in 20 years. A premium compact car? PLEASE. Ivy is far more than just that. She was a loyal companion, a genius co-worker, a family member and a good friend, offering security, while turning heads.

And, let’s be honest. There is nothing a woman cannot do, when she’s feeling secure. She can then, in fact, conquer the world.

 

Fast and Graceful

The 1.6-litre D2 diesel has 115 hp and 270 Nm. The V40 D2 with manual gearbox comes with CO2 emissions as low as 88 g/km – corresponding to fuel consumption of 3.4 l/100 km.

So, yes. She is fast. If you need her to be. But she is never nervous. The motor does not roar underneath the hood (the opposite really, she is by far one of the most quiet cars ever built). And it definitely does not have to roar. For the distance of 520 kilometers between Thessaloniki and Athens, for which we usually need about 5 hours and 20 minutes (with an average 1.1 or 1.4 car), Ivy needed approximately 3 hours and 50 minutes of stable, graceful driving to get us safe home.

And we never even pushed her to her limits. Why would we? To feel, to really feel, you need to slow down and enjoy every second of the way.

And, although one should never talk about MONEY in front of a lady, mind this: we only had to tank approximately after 900 kilometres (of ehm, ehm, playful driving). So, yes, she saved us quite some.

 

Razor sharp

Beautiful things do not shout out for attention. They just get it. And it feels as natural as quenching your thirst. Ivy is a beautiful, luxurious car, designed with careful attention to each tiny little detail, both inside and out. But what makes her different is the fact that her design is sleek and razor sharp. Her shape allows her to mingle with the same grace and ease within the urban landscape of a fast paced city, and that of the natural landscape during your weekend getaway.

As for the interior. What can there be added? Scandinavian design of the absolute finest – with a strong emphasis on ergonomics, comfort and an engaging driving experience – with the fluidity of the door design, creating a spacious, “large-car” feeling. Of course, luxurious leather and dark wood composed a unique symphony.

 

The details are not the details

The V40 features the upgraded City Safety system. This system is active at speeds up to 50 km/h. The car automatically brakes if the driver fails to react in time when the vehicle in front slows down or stops – or if the car is approaching a stationary vehicle too fast.

Furthermore, in order to mitigate the consequences if a collision with a pedestrian is unavoidable, the Volvo V40 is available with a Pedestrian Airbag, a world first. Sensors in the front bumper register the physical contact between the car and the pedestrian.

Plus: the V40 is available with a fully graphic instrument cluster that expresses emotional functionality, always displaying the most important information in any given situation right in front of the driver. The driver can choose between three graphic themes: Elegance, Eco and Performance. We absolutely LOVED the Elegance alternative (but kept switching anyway).

And, of course, that new Premium Sound system by Harman Kardon made it hard to leave Ivy, each and every time.  See you can enjoy an immersive sound stage with improved bass performance, while being able to turn up the volume with full audio clarity (with a 5x130W amplifier, and 12 loudspeakers, including a new long-throw woofer for enhanced bass, new soft dome tweeters for soft highs and new, larger mid-range centre and door speakers).

Our favourite moment of the day: to listen to Malcolm McLaren’s “Paris Paris” so loud, one could feel Catherine Deneuve’s breath.

And, we very much enjoyed the so-called Active High Beam technology that actually helps the driver utilise high beam more efficiently. It offers automatic switching between high and low beam at the right moment.

Last, but certainly not least, the Volvo V40 is most probably the safest car Euro NCAP has ever tested. No wonder Ivy was packed full of cutting-edge kit (and remained yet extremely user-friendly).

 

Epiloge

The strongest natures, when they are influenced, submit the most unreservedly; it is perhaps a sign of their strength,” said once Virginia Woolf. We could not agree more.

The stronger a woman is emotionally and professionally in her daily life, the more she may sometimes desire some support. This does not make her vulnerable.

We simply have forgotten the term “chivalry” these days, it seems. And Ivy has proven to be chivalrous. In her very own way.

Thank you, Volvo.

 

All images were shot by Doya Karolini with an Olympus Pen Generation EPL-7 in Thessaloniki, Greece. On New Year’s Day. At dawn. Temperature below zero degrees Celsius.

A big Thank You to the Mayor of Thessaloniki and the Municipality of Thessaloniki for granting us full access permission. And mostly, for allowing Ivy to step on that gorgeous deck, along the endless seaside and to pose next to monuments and unique pieces of art (the only car ever). To compete against such beauty, and, dare we say, perhaps even win. Priceless.