What is the Volvo V40?
It’s the smallest model in the Volvo range and the only car not to use the company’s newer underpinnings first seen on the Mk2 XC90. As a result, the V40 is beginning to show its age, particularly on the inside, where the cabin feels outdated alongside the rest of the range.
That said, thanks to a well-executed mid-life facelift in 2016 and a suite of safety assistance systems, the V40 still manages to hold its own in a crowded segment.
- Top-speed: 118-130mph
- 0-62mph: 8.3-10.6 seconds
- Fuel economy: 37.2-56.5mpg
- Emissions: 118-143g/km
- Boot space: 324-1032 litres
Which versions of the Volvo V40 are available?
The looks are quite unlike anything else in the segment, with the 2016 facelift bringing the front end into line with the rest of the range, while the rear end has hints of the older C30 and 480 models.
The jacked-up V40 Cross Country tries to muscle in on the burgeoning crossover market, sitting 40mm higher than the standard car and boasting silver roof rails and integrated skid plates. Unfortunately, since the demise of the T5 version, you’re unable to buy an all-wheel drive version.
Just two petrol and two diesel engines are available, all four-cylinder, including 122hp T2 and 152hp T3 petrols and 120hp D2 and 150hp D3 diesels. All are available with manual or automatic gearboxes.
In the past, you could equip the V40 with more powerful D4 and T5 engines, but these are no longer available to buy new.
The V40 Cross Country T5 was a particular highlight, offering 245hp from its 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive to deliver stealth-like Subaru WRX STI qualities.
Today, the V40 T3 automatic is the closest you’ll get to a performance derivative, although a 0-62mph time 8.3 seconds and a top speed of 130mph aren’t figures to arouse your Swedish meatballs.
Volvo V40 styling and engineering
For a car that was launched seven years ago, the V40 has aged remarkably well, especially when you consider that it shares showroom space with some seriously impressive SUVs and estate cars.
The styling still looks fresh today, helped in no small part by the 2016 facelift, which ushered in the use of ‘Thor’s hammer’ LED headlights and a revised grille. It’s also worth noting that at its launch in 2012, the V40 was named the safest car ever tested by Euro NCAP.
It’s not all good news: the cabin feels cramped, especially in the back, while the interior design feels dated in light of Volvo’s revamped product line-up. The media system and button-heavy centre console are also unwelcome nods to the past.
How does the Volvo V40 drive?
From a dynamic perspective, the V40 has never been a class leader, but with many of its rivals updated since 2012, it’s beginning to lag further behind. That’s not to say it’s without appeal.
Few cars offer this much comfort, while long motorway jaunts are made almost pleasurable by the sumptuous seats and quiet cabin. The raised ride height of the Cross Country helps to smooth out the pock-marked back roads of Britain, but the V40 lacks the refinement of the new A-Class and Golf.
It’s not a rapid car, regardless of the engine choice, but the petrol versions feel the most refined. Just avoid the sluggish and lethargic automatic transmission if you’re after any sort of driver engagement.
How much does the Volvo V40 cost?
The entry-level V40 undercuts the basic A-Class, but – as a recently launched car – the Mercedes-Benz will offer new safety systems, the latest in-car technology and more efficient engines. An entry-level BMW 1 Series costs roughly the same as the Volvo, but a new version is on the way.
For the same price as a Volvo V40 T2 manual, you could buy a mid-range Volkswagen Golf.
What do V40 drivers think of the car? Find out with our user-generated owners’ reviews.
Volvo V40 Model History
Volvo V40 Estate (1996-2004)
In truth, aside from the badge, the old Volvo V40 shares very little in common with the current five-door hatchback. The V40 Estate was a sister model to the S40 saloon and was the result of a joint venture between Volvo and Mitsubishi.
Built by NedCar in the Netherlands, the V40 shared its platform with the Mitsubishi Carisma and Proton Impian, and Volvo hoped it would attract a younger audience to the brand.
It was unable to steal sales from the BMW 3 Series Touring and Audi A4 Avant, but it represents a good used car buy today.