Volvo V40 hatchback
Price £18,995 - £31,700
- Excellent safety credentials
- Stylish design
- Impressive economy
- Some relatively high prices
- Small boot
- Costly servicing
At a glance
"The Volvo V40 is a stylish and comfortable hatchback with excellent safety credentials and very good diesel engines."
The Volvo V40 is a sleek and classy medium-sized family hatchback – the brand's answer to upmarket rivals such as the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class. The Volkswagen Golf is a close competitor, too, although the cheapest version undercuts the least expensive V40 by more than £2,000.
The V40 is an impressively safe car. In 2012, crash safety body Euro NCAP named it the safest small family car on sale, and it was one of the first models to come with autonomous braking – a system that can detect an obstacle ahead and apply the brakes to avoid a collision. Even after several years of increasingly stringent testing, the V40 still retains the highest ever score in a Euro NCAP crash test.
But the V40 has other virtues beyond safety, including a smart interior with very comfortable seats. This makes it a great car for travelling long distances in, although the ride in some versions is a little too firm. The handling is good, but refinement could be better, with road noise and a notchy gearshift being particularly notable.
Depending on which trim level you choose, the V40 can be super-economical (the D2 diesel returns 83.1mpg and tax-free CO2 emissions) or sporty (the 149mph T5 petrol). Petrol versions are badged T and diesels D. The latter provide an impressive blend of power and fuel economy – the entry-level 1.6-litre especially so.
Standard equipment is impressive, although with prices starting at around £17,000, that's no more than you’d expect. There's a bewildering range of specifications to choose from, rising from ES, through SE (the best value) and on to the sporty R-Design with its aggressive looks and sharper handling. There are also numerous option packs, which make more sense than buying extras separately.
The most impressive engine for fuel consumption and CO2 emissions is the 1.6-litre diesel in the Volvo V40 D2
The 187bhp Volvo V40 D4 offers an extraordinary blend of performance and economy, accelerating from 0-62mph in just 7.4 seconds
Seats are among the most comfortable in the class, making the Volvo V40 a good long-distance tourer, especially when fitted with one of the powerful yet frugal diesel engines
With its impressive blend of power and economy, a Volvo V40 in D4 form would be especially suited to towing a caravan
All Volvo V40 models have a full complement of airbags, including a pedestrian airbag that pops out from under the bonnet