December 11, 2015

The Road Ahead

I keep coming, and then I go. I would not disagree that in recent times I have become quite adept at the disappearing act. As you may have noticed, particularly so if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, my most recent jaunt across the seas was only a few weeks ago and in just two weeks I will be taking off once again. Unequivocally, I am enormously fortunate to traipse between two continents as I do (though not done anywhere near on the whim as some think – it’s actually a very well orchestrated mission) however that doesn’t negate how somewhat disruptive it is to my life here in Perth. This pattern of travel is going to continue into the first half of next year and it’s something that will require me to figure out the best way to navigate so that I can keep up with all that I do here and want to do. Not at all a whine or a whinge though, let’s be real now. New York every couple of months ain’t nothing to sneeze at, even if it does mean half a week of catching up on sleep and hundreds of emails in the work inbox to sift through. 

What I have been wanting to share with you all for a little while now was the Volvo Blogger Drive (hashtag #volvobloggerdrive on IG, y’all) I was a lucky little duck to be part of. For three weeks I got to vroom vroom around town in my own Volvo, kindly provided by Barbagallo Volvo in Cannington. Given the choice of the Volvo XC60 SUV or the V40 sporty hatch, I went with the sleek lines of the V40. My everyday ride is a Lexus IS250 and it being a full size sedan, I wanted the opportunity to drive a smaller car as I am in fact considering my next car to be something smaller. 

Upon picking it up and getting acquainted with all the features of the car, looked after wonderfully by Anthony at the dealership who most importantly synced my iPhone up with the car, I drove on out of the dealership and made the short journey home. While a car is first and foremost a means of transportation, it's undeniable that most people seek to make their travel as enjoyable and comfortable as possible. With so many of us spending a fair amount of time in our cars, especially making our daily treks to and from work and contending with sometimes horrendous traffic, an enjoyable ride can make all the difference. So in that regard, the V40 definitely ticked all the boxes. The seats were super comfy; ergonomically designed so were well moulded and sculpted allowing me to really sit back in comfort. Being on the smaller and shorter side, sometimes I do find it difficult to get comfortable in car seats particularly in adjusting the seat to accommodate being able to both see over the dash and still reach the pedals! The power controlled seats (with memory function) could be adjusted to a significant extent that I could find the best position for me. My biggest gripe is when I can't tilt or lift the seat enough, but no problems with the V40. 

The best way to really get a feel of a car and how it drives is to take it out of the city. The short trips around the metro area and the stop-start motion of city driving don't give you the best idea of how a car can perform and if it's really got the goods that will keep you satisfied over a couple hours of driving. So of course, out of the city I had to go and took my pal (and ever suffering photographer) Shu with me on a weekend away to York. Both of us were keen to see the fields of canola and wildflowers, which at that time were just coming into bloom and found that they were in abundance in the charming little town of York. We stayed at Laurelville Manor, which was a classic country house that was beautifully designed and styled, retaining little touches of the old mixed in with all the modern conveniences. The hosts welcomed us with afternoon tea (all the delicious morsels were baked in house) and breakfast the next morning was superb. 

Back to the Volvo though. The drive from Perth to York is neither overly long nor arduous but is different enough from city driving to feel how the car handles itself at longer distances and greater speeds. One thing to point out - though a smaller car it may be, do not understand its power and ability. The V40 T5 R-design, which is the particular variant I was driving, is fitted with a 2.5 litre turbo engine which means there is no struggle at all which sometimes can be the case with smaller cars. The V40 is definitely the not-so-little engine that could. 

The large display meant I could keep an eye on my speeds, which to be honest is a must when it comes to me as I'm known for the ease at which I tend to go over the speed limit. When using the navigation function, the information on upcoming road signs or fixed red light and speed cameras is another nifty feature. The factory fitted sound system delivers an awesome sound quality and this is important for me as tunes are a must even if it's a two minute drive.

I know that the popular belief tends to be that Volvos are family cars. That's not without good reason, as Volvos come with standout safety features and of course, when having children in cars you want to know they are travelling safe. However for me, as a professional woman in my early 30s who does not have children, I was highly impressed with both the aesthetics of the V40 and also all the little luxurious and premium features that I have become accustomed to having with my own car. Priced at $50,400 (the drive away price is $59,296) it fits into a segment of the market which I personally feel people such as myself would looking at purchasing in if they were shopping for a new car. The V40 offers exceptional comfort, performance and safety and is not at all short on features that allow for it to be considered a higher end hatchback.

While I was furnished with the use of this car by Barbagallo Volvo, my experience with the V40 is entirely my honest opinion and there is not really anything that I found fault with but if I was to be asked if there was anything that I felt could be improved upon or would increase my enjoyment of it, it would be that I found it somewhat strange the car did not have keyless entry. Whilst it is fitted with push start ignition (however, you still need to insert the key fob), there is no keyless entry which is something I am used to having and while you'll certainly survive without it, it's great to be able to just walk up to your car and have it unlock for you especially when you already have your hands full.


Despite that, I was a very happy and satisfied Volvo driver for those three weeks. If you're considering a new car and if it’s essential that your new car both looks good and drives good and if quality is important to you, I highly recommend you give the team at Barbagallo Volvo a call and take one of these little beauties out for a spin.


Volvo V40 T5 R-Design provided by Barbagallo Volvo
All photography by SOUL of SHU

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