£20,255 - £32,015 Price range
47 - 78 MPG
In 2016 it was restyled to match the larger Volvo models and got equipment upgrades including a more efficient diesel engine and slightly revised styling.
The V40’s interior is well made and the polished aluminium trim on the ‘floating’ centre console makes it feel a posh place to sit. However, the sea of buttons on the dashboard can take time to get used to. Passenger space, meanwhile, is good and the boot is about average for the class in terms of size.
The V40 is really nice to drive – critics compare it to the best-in-class Focus and it rides really well – it’s a comfortable car to cruise in, although bigger wheels and the optional sports suspension make it a little too firm for UK roads.
Six engines are available for the V40, but the standout favourite is the D4 diesel. It’s not only very cheap to run, but also decently quick.
Entry level Momentum models are generously equipped with climate control, alloy wheels, DAB digital radio and the most comprehensive range of safety systems in its class. It even has a dedicated airbag for pedestrians.
The Volvo’s interior materials are on par with what you’d expect from a BMW or Audi, but the look is distinctively Volvo in its execution. As a result, the flashy details of the German pair make way for restrained quality, but features such as a centre console that appears to float from below the dashboard mean it’s still distinctive.
The car gets an infotainment system with crisp graphics and cloud-based access to music and maps. There’s no Apple CarPlay support yet, so it’s a bit behind rivals in terms of functionality. You can spec a digital dashboard option that replaces the conventional analogue dials and can perform a multitude of roles.
Volvo V40 passenger space
Space all round is very good, but like most cars in its class three adults will feel squeezed on the back seat. That said, the seats themselves are supremely comfortable with support, seemingly, in all the right places. Specifying the panoramic sunroof reduces headroom, so might not be the best idea if you are particularly tall.
Volvo V40 boot space
The boot, though a bit narrow, is plenty large enough for the class standard. It has a capacity of 335 litres with the rear seats up, folding them down increases the load space to 1,032 litres.
Volvos don’t have a great reputation for providing engaging driving experiences, but the V40 looks to change that. It’s based on the fun-to-drive Ford Focus and as a result comes complete with direct steering that makes the car easy to place in corners and suspension that does a decent job of resisting body lean.
What it doesn’t offer however, is the Ford’s well judged ride comfort that makes it both enjoyable in corners and comfortable on bumpy roads. R-Design versions of the V40, with their lowered suspension and big wheels, are the least comfortable of all.
Steer onto the motorway, though, and this is soon forgotten. At higher speeds the car deals better with bumps and reveals itself to be a quiet cruiser. Factor in its very comfortable seats and the two combine to make the V40 one of the best models in class if you cover a huge mileage.
Volvo’s engine-naming strategy isn’t the easiest to understand. For example manual T2s and T3s get a 2.0-litre engine, while automatic models get a 1.6. Volvo’s Drive-E engines, introduced in 2015, come with low running costs across the range and the most economical model, the diesel D2, can return fuel economy of 78.5mpg and is free to tax.
Volvo V40 diesel engines
Nevertheless, our pick of the range is the D4 diesel. It’s also free to tax, while its reduced fuel economy of 74.3mpg is offset by a significant power hike up from 120hp to 190hp, compared to the D2. As a result it accelerates from 0-62mph in just 7.4 seconds and is a spritely overtaker even at motorway speeds. The 150hp D3 sits in the middle of the diesel range, getting from a standstill to 62mph in 8.4 seconds, while matching the running costs of the D4.
Volvo V40 petrol engines
There are three petrol models to choose from – the T2, T3 and T5. The T2 kicks of the range offering 120hp, fuel economy of 51.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 127g/km that translate into road tax of £110 a year. With 152hp the T3 gets from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds (the T2 does it in 9.8) but shares the cheaper models running costs.
If it’s performance you’re after, though, the T5 is the model to go for. Its 245hp is enough to launch the car from 0-62mph in just 6.4 seconds, but when combined with Volvo’s eight-speed automatic gearbox it can return fuel economy 47.9mpg, although your yearly road tax bill rises to £130.
Though only a couple of reviewers have tested this car, they all seem to be hugely impressed with this spec of Volvo’s new hatchback. There are a few rough edges here and there, but overall it seems to be the pick of the range out of all the variants that have been reviewed so far.
If your main priority is fuel economy and low running costs, then the 1.6 four-pot D2 model will most likely be the one that appeals to you the most – Volvo claims a very impressive 78mpg is possible on the combined cycle, and the 94g/km of CO2 emissions means it’s exempt from road tax and the London congestion charge.
However, there’s more to this oil burning V40 than that, as both testers were very impressed with the way the car drove. With 115bhp on tap, it’s no road rocket, and the review both state that the engine’s a bit weedy below 2,000rpm or so, but overall it’s an engine that is surprisingly eager to rev by diesel standards. Couple this with a pointy front-end and an intuitive six-speed manual, and you have the makings of a diesel that’s good fun to drive.
We’ll reserve our final judgement on this spec of V40 until more reviews start coming in, but if the early road tests are anything to go by, the entry level diesel looks like it’s a car that’s definitely worth a closer look at.
As you’d expect from a Volvo, the V40 comes packed with all the latest safety tech that the Swedish brand has to offer. The main highlights are the updated ‘City Safety System’ which automatically brakes the car if it notices an obstruction ahead at speeds of up to 31mph, and – a world first for a production car – an airbag for pedestrians that’s located under the bonnet!
It received a full 5 star safety rating from Euro NCAP, and was named the world’s safest car as it got the best ever result in the tests.
Volvo offers the V40 with similar model levels to those in the XC90 SUV – from the entry level Momentum to the range-topping R-Design Pro, which comes with lots of equipment and sharper looks than basic models. Sat-nav is available across the range for around £850 along with cruise control, an upgraded stereo and rear parking sensors, part of the Nav Pack, while the Cross Country model adds a rugged edge to the standard car.
Volvo V40 Momentum
It may be the most basic model in the V40 range, but the standard equipment list on Momentum models is anything but. Automatic emergency braking is a feature few other rivals offer as standard, rendering the V40 one of the safest models in its class in one fell swoop. It’s a standout feature that joins a kit list that includes DAB digital radio, a five-inch colour display and climate control.
Volvo V40 Inscription
The Inscription trim boosts the luxury feel of the V40 still further on account of its standard leather seats, while plusher interior complete with aluminium trim, while additional equipment includes cruise control and electrically folding door mirrors. It also looks smarter on the outside thanks to 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and powerful Xenon headlights that follow the direction of the steering wheel and include a washing function.
Volvo V40 R-Design
R-Design trim is one of the most popular in the range. Its sportier looks come thanks to unique 17-inch alloy wheels, revised grille design and matt silver door mirrors. Inside, there’re half leather sports seats, a sports steering wheel and a larger eight-inch TFT display.
Volvo V40 R-Design Pro
R-Design Pro trim amps up the styling and luxury in the form of unique 18-inch wheels, full-leather sport seats, tinted rear windows and rear park assist.
Volvo V40 Cross Country
Rugged by name, but not really by nature, the V40 Cross Country isn’t designed with off-roading in mind. Only top-of-the-range models get grippy four-wheel drive, while basic cars make do with a ride height that has been raised by 40mm, a revised bumper design and black roof rails. Stood next a standard model it looks more distinctive, but most would struggle to notice the difference in isolation.
Volvo V40 Polestar performance pack
Costing £4,725, the Polestar performance pack doesn’t change the car a whole lot, but the small additions it brings make the Volvo look sportier. The main thing you’ll notice is the car rides on huge 19-inch alloy wheels and has lowered (and stiffened) suspension with a firm ride in town that settles down on the motorway.
For a bit more poke, the D4 engine gets a remap that bumps up power by 10hp to 197hp, while free road tax and 74mpg fuel economy make it a better performance diesel than the less-powerful and thirstier VW Golf GTD.
There are fewer changes inside – mainly aluminium pedals and a sporty gear lever.
The V40 is a very capable all-rounder in this fiercely competitive area of the industry. It’s the carmaker’s best-selling model in Europe and the 2017 updates are set to continue that success because the V40 is already nice to drive as well as comfortable (when specced with the right wheels) and the stylish updates make it stand out from the crowd.
The premium atmosphere in the interior and the good amount of standard equipment only add to the appeal of the hatchback. It may not have a badge as prestigious as the A-Class or 1 Series, but that shouldn’t put you off a test drive.