Volvo V40 Review

Great, stylish design; as safe as you can get; bags of equipment as standard

A bit short of headroom; cluttered controls; pricey at all levels

With stunning looks and the best safety record currently on offer, the Volvo V40 is a five door compact hatchback with style. Others in the class (the BMW 1 Series, the Audi A3 and the VW Golf) may be casting worried looks in the V40’s direction – but there are still a few space, economic and other issues which may make potential buyers hold back.

Continue reading for the full Volvo V40 review...

Volvo V40

The Volvo V40 range ...

List Price£20,715 - £34,330
Acceleration (0-62mph)6.1 - 10.6 secs
Top Speed118 - 149 mph
Engine Power120 - 245 bhp
CO2 Emissions89 - 149 g/km
Fuel Economy (Combined)44.1 - 84.1 mpg

Performance

With seven engines on offer (4 petrol and 3 diesel), potential buyers are spoilt for Volvo V40 performance choices. For sheer power you could go for the T5 (250 bhp) 2.0 litre petrol version – it will take you from 0-62 mph in 6.1 seconds; but it will also catapult you into tax band I; and with a fuel consumption of 35.8 mpg, it’s only for the less cash-strapped buyer. The D4 (175 bhp) 2.0 litre diesel is more manageable – it still has a lot of power behind it but with a fuel consumption of 65.7 mpg and falling into a lower tax band (C) it is far more within reach for most. For many the diesel D2 will be the obvious choice – it’s economical, offering 83.1 mpg and the lowest tax band (A); it has 113 bhp, goes from 0-62 mph in 11.9 seconds and will still overtake on motorways with ease.

Handling

A journey in the Volvo V40 is a very pleasant experience – it is comfortable and quiet and even the larger alloy wheels don’t make the ride too firm. The petrol versions, in particular, offer a refined, controlled and powerful ride; the Volvo V40 is great to drive and great to be driven in. There are three modes of power steering (Eco, Normal and Performance) on all models and all of them are enjoyable to use. The V40 has plenty of grip and little body roll on bends, and is easily manoeuvrable on twisty roads as well as motorways. The small rear window restricts visibility a bit, although this is helped by the enhanced Blind Spot Information System – so very few complaints all round with this one.

Exterior

A cut above other hatchbacks in its class, the Volvo V40 is sleek and stylish with some design features that make it stand out from the rest. From the distinctive headlights, to the curved tail lights, to the half-glass bootlid – it shouts quality and class, and is likely to turn more than one head in the street!

Interior

The Volvo V40 has a well laid out interior which looks and feels good to the touch. There are a lot of buttons and switches to get your head round though, and the infotainment system requires so much attention that you can easily get distracted from the road. It’s easy for the driver to find the right seat/steering wheel combination; and there’s plenty of legroom in the back. Taller, six foot-ish passengers may find head room a bit iffy though, especially with the optional panoramic glass roof.

The Volvo V40 has a generous amount of luggage capacity – 335 litres with all seats in place, expanding to 432 litres flat loading space with the rear seats folded. The driver’s seat folds flat too – although that may cause problems seeing over the steering wheel! The boot has an optional false floor, and there are plenty of pockets and bins in the cabin for the journey’s essentials. As far as space goes, though, the VW Golf probably has the edge over the V40.

Equipment

There are no less than seven trim levels on the Volvo V40, all of which come with generous levels of equipment as standard.  They are entry level ES, followed by the SE, SE Lux, R-Design, R-Design Lux, and the rather more rugged Cross Country SE and Cross Country Lux. All come with a wide range of electronic safety systems, Bluetooth, high performance audio, steering wheel remote controls, electronic climate control, alloys, power windows and leather steering wheel and gear knob. The most luxurious in the range is the SE Lux, which ups the size of the alloys to 17”, has LED day running lights, cruise control and active bending xenon headlights with a cleaning system. Plenty of other touches, both cosmetic and functional are added as standard along the Volvo V40 range; and there’s also a wide selection of optional (and quite costly) extras.

Safety

An unsurprising five-star winner in its NCAP ratings, (in 2012 it was awarded the highest ever score) the Volvo V40 is stuffed with electronic and other safety features to protect pedestrians and passengers (and driver) alike. City Safety automatic braking  is in there, along with an array of airbags (including an under-bonnet bag, triggered by sensors to lift the bonnet and help to shield a pedestrian in the event of a potential collision). The cabin feels solid and secure and, as always, Volvo have really come up with the safety goods.

Buying & Owning

The Volvo V40 is not the cheapest car on the road, either to buy or to run – but it is competitively priced against its rivals and does have a lot to offer for the money. Tax will vary from nothing up to £220.00 pa, depending on which engine you go for, and most versions offer reasonable fuel consumption, apart from the greedy T5. There’s a three year/60,000 miles warranty, and a variable servicing period (which could rack up the cost of ownership too).

Reviewed by Cars2Buy

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