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As previewed yesterday, the Volvo V40 has just been launched in Malaysia, in three model variants ranging from RM173,888 to RM198,888. It’s a mid-sized hatchback aimed at both the semi-premium Volkswagen Golf segment as well as the true blue upmarket Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the upcoming BMW 1 Series market.

The three variants available are the V40 T4 (RM173,888), V40 T5 (RM188,888) and the V40 Cross Country T5 (RM198,888; all on the road prices, excluding insurance). All three are assembled in Malaysia, alongside the rest of the Swedish brand’s range (S60, V60, S80, XC60 and XC90). Notably, the Shah Alam plant is the only facility outside Europe to assemble these models.

Clearly related, the V40 Cross Country is an SUV-styled spin-off of the V40. It gets a raised ride height, honeycomb grille, plastic body cladding all around, roof rails, black-painted side mirrors plus bespoke brown/black cabin upholstery and ‘Copper Dawn’ dashboard trim. The rest of the car is identical to the V40 T5.

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Powering the entry-level V40 T4 is the familiar Ford-sourced 1.6 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine already found in the current S60 and V60 T4. It gets 180 hp and 240 Nm of torque (plus an extra 30 Nm on transient overboost), paired to a six-speed dual-clutch PowerShift transmission. The 0-100 km/h sprint in 8.5 seconds, on to a 225 km/h top speed.

The V40 T5 and the sole V40 Cross Country gets a brand new 2.0 litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine with 213 hp and 300 Nm of torque. It’s built off Volvo’s own 2.5 litre five-pot motor and gets a different six-speed Geartronic torque converter auto ‘box. The T5 raises performance to 6.9 seconds and 230 km/h (Cross Country is limited to 210 km/h).

All three variants are front-wheel drive (all-wheel drive is unavailable at launch), with the V40 T4 managing a combined fuel economy of 6.1 litres per 100 km and the quicker T5 and Cross Country models rated at 7.5 l/100km. Euro 5 emissions classification is met across the range.

Equipment list varies depending on model. On the outside, the T4 makes do with 16-inch five-spoke ‘Matres’ wheels, while the T5’s are an inch larger in ‘Segomo’ design (pictured on the grey car here). The V40 Cross Country meanwhile gets its own 17-inch six-spoke ‘Larenta’ wheels as standard (optional 19-inch ‘Alecto’ items are fitted on the display car).

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The T5 and Cross Country is equipped as standard with a digital instrument cluster with an eight-inch Adaptive Digital Display (with three modes: Elegance, Eco and Performance) and a premium sound system connected to a seven-inch colour screen. The base T4 model has a smaller five-inch centre screen and conventional meter dials. Bluetooth, USB and iPod connectivity is standard in all models.

On the convenience front, there are electric front seats (with memory function for the driver), automatic climate control, auto wipers, flexible boot floor and fold-flat rear seats. The T5 and Cross Country models add keyless entry and Park Assist Pilot (auto park) features.

You’d expect nothing less from a Volvo in terms of safety. The V40 achieved a five-star Euro NCAP collision safety rating, getting the highest ever recorded results by the institute. Do note though, that in Europe the car comes equipped with Pedestrian Airbag (pop-up hood) as standard – a feature that is omitted in our local cars.

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Otherwise, Cruise Control, BLIS, Cross Traffic Alert, City Safety (now works up to 50 km/h, up from 30 km/h in the S60), Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, Torque Vectoring, and Active Bending Lights are all standard active safety features. Seven airbags (with a knee airbag on the driver’s side) complete the safety kit.

The Volvo V40 in Malaysia is offered with a market-leading, full complement of after-sales coverage. Five-year free servicing, inclusive of parts, five-year factory warranty plus Volvo On-Call service for the same period; you get them all. Refer to the official brochure in the gallery below for full details.

So there you go; a premium-badged Golf rival with competitive pricing at one end of the range, and a cut-price alternative to the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Golf GTI at the other. Volvo is back in Malaysia and is back in style. Fancy yourself a sexy new Swede, anyone?