Volvo V40 Review

Find out more about the Volvo V40 in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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  • Pros
  • Stylish design
  • Premium interior
  • Lots of standard safety kit
  • Cons
  • Outdated compared to most rivals
  • Unrefined
  • Small boot
  • MPG
    46 - 62
  • CO2
    118 - 143 g/km
  • Video

  • Price Guide

  • Trims

  • Summary

Model Review

The V40 name was first used in the 1990s for Volvo’s most compact estate model. It offered bulletproof reliability, but was hardly the last word when it came to design.

Fast forward to 2012, though, and the all-new V40 was something remarkably different – a stylish model rivalling the best when it came to premium hatchbacks.

Sales began in 2013, with the V40 receiving the highest score ever awarded by Euro NCAP at the time, due to it being the first car to be offered with airbags in the bonnet for pedestrians.

An SUV-like Cross Country model was also added to the line-up, alongside a new pair of entry-level petrol and diesel engines. A stylish R-Design option was also launched at a similar time, too.

Latest model

Volvo updated the V40 and V40 Cross Country in 2016, with the updated hatchback adopting the family face used on the rest of Volvo’s range.

At the front, the new model featured standard-fitLED ‘Thor’s Hammer’ headlights – the same as what’s now fitted to every new Volvo.

More efficient engines also featured, while the trim level structure was updated to be reflective of the rest of Volvo’s other models.

Volvo ‘On Call’ was also introduced to the V40 for the first time, which is a smartphone app that allows remote access for a car’s features – including checking oil and fuel levels as well as a number of other services.

Other small differences included the introduction of new colours, and new interior finishes.

 

Value for money

As the V40 is pitched as a premium hatchback, its prices are reflective of that. List prices start from £21,410, which puts it roughly on par with both the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series.

Despite its high list price, standard equipment is impressive, with entry level models coming with climate control, adaptive LED headlights, rear parking sensors and autonomous emergency braking as standard. Cross Country models are more expensive at £25,960, although they sit in a rather unique price point as one of very few off-road inspired hatchbacks.

Used V40s start from under £5,000, which mean you get a lot of car for the money - although admittedly at this price it will be a car with high mileage.

Around £7,000 will get you an entry-level ES spec car with the D2 diesel engine with around 70,000 miles on the clock. We’d recommend spending around £8,000 to get a V40 in either SE Lux or R-Design trim.

There’s some huge savings off the list price on nearly new models, too. We saw a car with just 3,000 miles on the clock for just £15,000 – over £8,000 off its list price in just six months. Cross Country models start from £6,000, with low mileage models coming in at around £8,000.

 

Looks and image

While the V40 is now getting a bit long in the tooth, it remains a fresh-faced model which is very stylish – more so than many of its important rivals.

The latest model has only built on this, with Volvo’s sharp LED headlights setting off the front end excellently. It’s certainly a car that stands out, with a tinted tailgate and large rear lights.

The interior is not quite as impressive, and it’s starting to show its age now. At the time of the V40’s reveal, it was a fantastic showcase. However, interior design has moved on leaps and bounds since then and despite Volvo’s efforts to update it, it just can’t keep up compare with newer rivals – namely the techy Mercedes A-Class. It still looks classy, but the button-heavy design makes it not as simple to operate as other cars in this class. That said, it feels well-built and sturdy, while the use of Volvo’s on call services gives the V40 a key advantage in this segment.

Where the V40 impresses more is when it comes to the way it drives. The chassis is not the sharpest, but it’s nimble and handles well. But unlike rivals such as the BMW 1 Series, the Volvo V40 is tailored more towards comfort. We have no grumbles about that, as providing you stay away from the R-Design with its big alloy wheels and sportier ride - it’s an exceptionally comfortable car with a supple ride and cushioning seats.

Video Review

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69TjGZR17Zg
Space and practicality

As a small family car, the V40 is very capable. It can carry four adults with ease, while an excellent number of interior storage spaces all helps to add to the V40’s practical feel. The only downside is that if you’re looking to use the V40 as a five-seater regularly, you could be better off looking at the Volkswagen Golf, which can seat three adults in the rear more comfortably than in the V40.

However, it’s boot capacity that lets the V40 down. The V40 offers 324 litres of luggage space, and while this might be enough for most people, it’s simply not as much as you would find in similarly-sized hatchbacks. All its key rivals from Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen offer more boot space, which is a touch disappointing for Volvo, who often major on practicality. Folding the rear seats down increases the boot space to 1,032 litres.

However, sticking to Volvo’s key selling point, the V40 is one of the safest new hatchbacks on the market. It received a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating in 2012, and became one of the highest scoring cars the organisation had ever tested. The V40 was one of the first cars to be fitted with autonomous emergency braking, which is now fitted as standard and was also the first car to come with an airbag for pedestrians. While rivals have undeniably caught up on the safety front, it’s still an impressively safe car.

 

Engines

A range of petrol and diesel engines are offered on the V40. It’s a rather complex line-up, because the engine size all depends on which gearbox you for.

The entry level T2 produces 118bhp, and is a 2.0-litre engine with a six-speed manual gearbox, or a 1.5-litre if you choose the six-speed auto. The more powerful T3 unit produces 148bhp, and uses the same engine size configurations as the less powerful T2. On both engines, the automatic gearbox is 0.6 seconds quicker to accelerate to 60mph – the T3 auto being the quickest with a 7.8 seconds 0-60mph sprint time.

The diesel engine line-up is far simpler, and is restricted to either the D2 or D3. Both of these are 2.0-litre units - with the former producing 118bhp and the latter 148bhp. A six-speed manual gearbox or six-speed automatic are available across both engines. The D3 can accelerate to 60mph in 8.5 seconds and onto a top speed of 127mph.

Volvo used to offer a 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine (D4), a 178bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine (T4) and a powerful 245bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine – this one was capable of a 0-60mph in a hot hatch-rivalling 6.0 seconds – but these engines have all since been discontinued.

 

Running costs

Regardless of which engine you go for, you can expect low running costs from the V40. The diesel engines will be the ones to go for if you cover a lot of miles each year, with the D2 returning up to an impressive 78.5mpg on the combined cycle, with low CO2 emissions of 94g/km. Even the more powerful D3 can still return a claimed 72.4mpg.

The petrol engines are unsurprisingly thirsty, but still make an excellent choice for those who spend most of their time driving around town. The T2 and T3 have the same fuel economy and CO2 figures of 50.4mpg and 127g/km. It’s worth remembering that choosing the automatic gearbox will reduce your fuel economy and push up the emissions, but only slightly.

Insurance groups are similar to other premium hatchbacks, and vary between 17 and 27, depending on the engine and trim level you go for.

Things to look out for

Volvo’s reliability has been a bit hit-and-miss in recent years, and not up to the standards you might expect from a firm labelling itself as a premium car maker.

In reliability surveys, nearly 20 per cent of owners have complained of their cars having a fault - with main issues being sticking door locks, dash warning lights appearing and reliability issues with the Ford-sourced 1.6-litre diesel engine – what used to power the D2.

 

Rivals

The premium end of the family hatchback market is taken up by some big-selling models, such as the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series, Mercedes A-Class and Volkswagen Golf – most of which frequently appear in the top 10 list of new car sales. Less conventional rivals to the V40 include the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Lexus CT. The Cross Country model has very few rivals – it’s only real competitor is the Infiniti QX30 and the new Ford Focus Active, which will be on sale soon.

 

Depreciation

The V40 is not as desirable as its other premium rivals, which means that used values are often much cheaper than its German competitors. With used examples starting from just £5,000, and nearly-new models are available with as much as £8,000 off their original list price, the V40 is a very sensible car to buy used.

Which V40 to Pick

Trims Explained

Five trim levels are offered on the V40 – Momentum, Nav Plus, Inscription, R-Design and R-Design Pro.

Momemtum

The Momentum features an impressive standard equipment list – including adaptive LED headlights, rear parking sensors, 16-inch alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, hill start assist and electric heated door mirrors. It also gets climate control, a five-inch screen with Bluetooth and DAB radio and important safety kit, such as autonomous emergency braking, side impact protection and whiplash protection.

The Momemtum cost from £21,410

Momentum Nav Plus

This model adds a seven-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and access to the car’s online services, as well as cruise control with speed limiter and a reversing camera.

Momentum Nav Plus is priced from £22,260

Inscription

Inscription is the comfort-orientated trim level, which comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, automatic wipers, a front armrest, chrome exterior trim and a more advanced trip computer.

The inscription starts from £24,260.

R-Design

The R-Deisgn builds on the spec of the Momentum and is the sporty-looking model. It comes with 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, sports seats, R-Design tread plates, twin exhaust exits, dynamic driving modes and a driver’s armrest.

R-Design comes in at £23,500.

R-Design Pro

The range-topping R-Design Pro comes with 18-inch alloys, leather upholstery, tinted rear windows, automatic wipers, cruise control, a rear parking camera and the aforementioned seven-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation.

R-Design Pro is priced from £25,850.

Summary

  1. Fantastic safety rating
  2. Lots of standard safety kit
  3. Very comfortable
  4. Starting to feel its age…
  5. Particularly on the inside
  6. Boot space could be better
  7. Affordable running costs
  8. Great value on the used market
  9. Disappointing reliability record
  10. A great used buy, but there are better premium hatchbacks on sale