- Most eco-friendly version emits just 94g/km of CO2
- Averages a claimed 78.8mpg
- Standout styling
- Numb steering
- Not as good to drive as a BMW 1 Series
- Cluttered centre console
Volvo, sick of BMW and Audi taking the limelight in the medium hatchback segment, has thrown down a gauntlet in the form of its V40. An all-new car, the Volvo V40 is a sleek and classy looking five-door hatchback that will target the likes of the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, while the off-road lookalike V40 Cross Country takes care of the lifestyle market (covered in a separate review).
Engines include a low-tax 1.6-litre diesel engine that emits just 94g/km of CO2 with a claimed average fuel economy of 78.8mpg. That means it'll be seriously efficient and cheap to run for company car drivers and private buyers alike. Volvo also offers a version with a T5 petrol engine that produces 254bhp, allowing the V40 to get from 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds.
Typically, Volvo safety is high on the list with all manner of active systems that are available as standard or as optional extras. It will be the first proper five-door hatch that the Swedish company has made for a long time, and because Volvo wanted a car with a low-slung bonnet it had to think outside of the box to conform to pedestrian safety standards.
So, it stuck an airbag under the bonnet. This unique system features a bank of seven sensors in the front bumper that activates the airbag if it thinks the car is about to hit a pedestrian. The system then lifts the rear of the bonnet clear of the engine and puts a cushion over the base of the windscreen and front pillars.
In a belt-and-braces approach there's also a camera on the front that'll prompt automatic braking if detects an obstruction.
Inside there's some nice touches including newly designed seats, a frameless rear-view mirror and a backlit gearknob.
There are three driving modes: Elegance, Eco and Performance and the colour of the driver display and the instrument panel change according to which one you select.
You can also select the steering weight of your preference - low, medium or high - by using the ‘My Car’ button located on the floating central console. Check out our full Volvo V40 review to see if the V40 can match its German rivals…
What owners say about this car
There are as many positives as there are negatives; no road tax (emissions tax? Who knows what to call it... Read owner review
Bought this car as an ex-demo model and utterly love it. It is superbly comfortable, capable of crossing long distances... Read owner review
I had wanted to get this car as soon as it was revealed in 2012. After finally getting one I... Read owner review