Volvo V40 review
The Volvo V40 is a small premium hatchback that is praised for its safety. The V40’s closest rivals are the Audi A3, the Mercedes A-Class and the BMW 1 Series.
What's not so good
Volvo V40: what would you like to read next?
Originally launched in 2013, the Volvo V40 was facelifted in 2016 to match the look and feel of Volvo’s larger models. It got equipment upgrades, a more efficient diesel engine and slightly revised styling to help it keep up with other premium hatchbacks such as the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class.
There’s also the V40 Cross Country, which is a rugged, all-wheel-drive, off-road inspired version. Read our Volvo V40 Cross Country review to learn more.
The Volvo V40 interior is well made and the polished aluminium trim on the ‘floating’ centre console makes it feel a genuinely classy place to sit. However, the sea of buttons on the dashboard can take time to get used to and the car’s infotainment system is feeling dated in this day and age. Passenger space, though, is good, and the Volvo V40’s boot is about average for the class in terms of size.
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Unfortunately, the V40 hatchback is pretty average to drive by those same standards. It doesn’t change direction with the verve of a BMW 1 Series, and the V40’s bigger wheels and the optional sports suspension make it a too firm for UK roads.
Four engines are available for the Volvo V40, but the standout favourite is the D2 diesel. Not only is it very cheap to run, but it’s also quick enough to feel comfortable in and out of town. Entry level V40 Momentum models are generously equipped with climate control, alloy wheels, DAB digital radio and a comprehensive range of safety systems. It even has a dedicated airbag for pedestrians.
If you want to to see what sort of offers are available, visit our Volvo V40 deals page.
The Volvo V40 will do a good job if you only want a couple of adults in the rear seats, but like a lot of similarly sized cars, it’ll be a squeeze fitting three people across the rear bench
Some people focus on how much room a car has inside, but I think another quality is just as important - comfort - and in that respect, the V40 is excellent
Space all round in the Volvo V40 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.
Storage areas are pretty good in the Volvo V40, with decently spacious door bins and a large glovebox. The floating console also has a small storage area behind and rear passengers get two cupholders in front of the central armrest.
The Volvo V40 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.
As one of the oldest models in the range, the Volvo V40 is feeling its age in the driving department
There was a time when the V40 felt up there with the class best, but times have moved on
The Volvo V40 engine-naming strategy isn’t the easiest to understand. For example, manual petrol T2 and T3 cars get a 2.0-litre engine, while, strangely, the automatic versions get a 1.5. Then there’s the 2.0-litre D2 diesel and the more powerful D3 of the same size.
Of the four available engines we’d say the D2 diesel makes the most rounded choice. It has enough low down pull to feel comfortable in town and on the motorway while offering impressive fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
That said, don’t rule out the petrols if you spend the majority of your time driving in town. The T2 is cheaper to buy than the D2, doesn’t feel off the pace and is quieter and smoother in terms of engine noise and vibration. It’s fuel economy and CO2 emissions are sensible, too.
There was a time when the Volvo V40 felt fairly agile, but as one of Volvo’s oldest models, the competition has moved on and left it behind. Its steering is well weighted but not particularly engaging and although there isn’t much wallow and lean through bends, there’s no doubt an Audi A3, Mercedes A-Class and BMW 1 Series all feel keener to change direction,
The same goes for comfort. On its smallest alloy wheel options, the Volvo V40 is just about acceptable, but models with larger alloys wheels and stiffer sports suspension – such as the R-Design model – feel pretty firm and jarring over broken UK roads.
The Volvo V40 interior materials are on par with what you’d expect from a BMW or Audi, but the look is distinctively Volvo in its execution.