The Volvo V40 is a robust rival for the competing five-door hatchbacks Audi A3 Sportback, BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class. Its exterior dimensions are stylish, while it also offers excellent fuel economy and low emissions for rock-bottom running costs. It may look like an estate car, but the V40 is actually a hatchback that superseded the Volvo S40 saloon and the Volvo V50 estate, and it comes with a massive array of safety equipment fitted as standard, including the world's first external pedestrian airbag.
The Volvo V40 is available in five main specifications – entry-level ES, mid-range SE and SE Lux, as well as top-of-the-range R-Design and R-Design Lux. Of the engines, the entry-level 1.6-litre D2 diesel promises to return 83.1mpg in combined fuel economy and emit 88g/km of road-tax-free CO2. There are also some powerful petrol engines on offer offer. All V40s come fitted with Bluetooth connectivity and Volvo's City Safety automatic braking system, plus alloy wheels and a DAB radio. For a little more money you can upgrade the standard car to the sportier, performance-focused R-Design or the rugged Volvo V40 Cross Country model, which has the option of four-wheel drive if paired with the range-topping T5 petrol engine.