11/04/2019
CJ Hubbard, Editor Parkers Vans, @ir_427

Volvo V40 Hatchback Review

The Volvo V40 is a slightly leftfield option in the family hatchback sector. Like the Volkswagen Golf, it’s a posher choice than a Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra, but doesn’t quite offer the same premium image (or ownership experience) as an Audi A3 or BMW 1 Series.

The V40’s major selling points are comfort and safety. There is no particular ambition to deliver a sporty drive here, with Volvo instead offering up a relaxed, easy going cruiser. Safety innovations include a pedestrian airbag, tucked under the bonnet – just one of the reasons it was rated the safest car on sale at launch by official crash testing body Euro NCAP, recording the institution’s highest ever score at the time.

However, that was back in 2012, and it’s fair to say that the world – and the medium hatchback segment – has moved on a bit since then. The V40 is starting to feel its age.

This is especially the case on the inside, where you’ll find a very cluttered centre console, crammed with buttons, and a somewhat old fashioned-looking infotainment system – both ‘features’ a far cry from more recent Volvos, which come with sumptuous minimalist interiors and large, clever touchscreens. On top of which, some of the ergonomics are a little iffy, not least around the gearlever. The seats are comfortable, though.

The engine line-up is limited to two petrol and two diesel options as of the 2016 facelift (which put an end to the more powerful models). All are fitted with turbochargers, which help provide a reasonable combination of performance and efficiency. Refinement is excellent, across the board.

A choice of three driving modes – Eco, Elegance and Performance – allows you to tailor some of the V40’s characteristics such as accelerator response and instrumentation to your own preferences, as does the choice of three different steering weights. Just don’t expect to see a significant transformation between any of these settings.

Verdict

The V40 comes in quite a wide range of different trim levels, so if you like the general idea of a safe and comfortable cruiser the chances are you’ll be able to find an equipment package on this Volvo that suits your preferences (or your budget). It is by no means a bad car. But there are much more modern choices in this area of the market now, and the V40’s interior certainly feels rather out of date these days.

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