Volvo V40 hatchback

Volvo V40 hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Excellent safety credentials
  • Impressive fuel economy
  • Stylish design
  • Small boot
  • Costly servicing
  • Some relatively high prices

At a glance

The greenest
D2 R-Design Nav Plus 5dr £24,945
The cheapest
T2 Momentum 5dr £20,255
The fastest
T5 Geartronic R-Design Nav Plus 5dr £30,515
Top of the range
T5 R-Design Pro Geartronic 5dr £32,015

"The Volvo V40 is arguably the safest car on the road and has the comfort and style to make it a tempting choice for families."

The Volvo V40 is the Swedish manufacturer's answer to other upmarket hatchbacks like the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class. Buyers who find these cars predictable choices, or who just don’t like them that much, may find that the V40 is the perfect alternative.

The V40 is stylish and comfortable, plus its one of the safest cars on the road today. Euro NCAP identified the V40 as the safest small family car to buy in 2012 and it was one of the first cars to offer autonomous braking, a system that scans the road ahead and automatically applies the brakes if it senses an imminent collision. Even in the intervening years, nothing in the V40's class has bettered its score, which is why it was awarded Carbuyer's Safest Car 2015 award.

Safety isn’t the V40's only strength, with the quality of the interior and seats making it a very comfortable car that's a pleasure to take on longer motorway journeys. All V40 models are very competent on a twisty road but the sports pack does enhance the car's handling, albeit at the expense of some ride quality thanks to the lower suspension and larger alloy wheels. For keener drivers there's also the V40 R-Design, which has tweaked suspension and sports seats to make the V40 more involving to drive  - although it still can't compete with the BMW 1 Series for driver involvement.

Certain Volvo V40 models are also very cheap to run, with the D2 diesel returning an official economy figure of 78mpg and CO2 emissions under 100g/km, meaning there's nothing to pay in road tax. The diesel variants provide plenty of punch and their superior economy means we think they make the most sense.

The Volvo V40 is quite expensive to buy but this does at least mean the car comes with plenty of standard equipment. Entry-level models wear the ES badge, while the range tops out with sporty R-Design and plush Lux models. Several option packs are available – often they make more sense than buying optional extras individually.

Buyers also have the option of purchasing a Polestar Performance Package for the V40. It consists of a range of performance parts that can be fitted by the dealer either individually, or as a complete pack. There are bespoke springs and dampers, firmer suspension, 19-inch Polestar alloy wheels and a small rear spoiler.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.1 / 5

The most impressive Volvo V40 engine for fuel consumption and CO2 emissions is the 1.6-litre D2 diesel

Engines, drive & performance

4.3 / 5

The 187bhp Volvo V40 D4 offers an extraordinary blend of performance and economy, accelerating from 0-62mph in just 7.4 seconds

Interior & comfort

4.3 / 5

Seats are among the most comfortable in the class, making the Volvo V40 a good long-distance tourer, especially with a diesel engine

Practicality & boot space

2.9 / 5

With its impressive blend of power and economy, the Volvo V40 in D4 form is especially suited to towing

Reliability & safety

5 / 5

All Volvo V40 models have a full complement of airbags, including a pedestrian airbag that pops out from under the bonnet

What the others say

3.7 / 5
based on 3 reviews
4 / 5
"The V40 doesn't seem cheap, but when you compare it to some of its premium rivals and factor in its strong fuel economy and safety features, it starts to look like pretty good value."
3.5 / 5
"The 178bhp T4 sprints along with conviction, with a great torque spread and ample overtaking ability. It's smooth and quite quiet, but has enough of an aural edge to show it's interested in getting going."
3.5 / 5
"The D2 is the star of the range, and not just because of its tax-friendly CO2 emissions; it's also smooth, refined and gives perfectly acceptable performance."
What owners say 
4.6 /5 based on 12 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend

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Last updated 
2 Feb 2016
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