Comfortable, pleasant to drive and well-equipped - a sound all-rounder
- Pleasant to drive
- Comfortable interior
- Good refinement levels
- Lots of standard safety equipment
- Shrunken 2018 engine lineup
- Dated, tricky-to-use media system
- Dashboard controls could be clearer
- Cluttered centre console
The Volvo V40 hatchback isn't as sporty as a BMW 1 Series or as upmarket as an Audi A3 Sportback and it looks completely different to both of them. However, Volvo hopes that its five-door hatchback can win sales from both of these, plus the hugely popular Volkswagen Golf and leftfield alternatives, including the Lexus CT.
The company also offers a jacked-up off-road style V40 Cross Country, for those who like the slightly raised driving position but who don't need any 4x4 ability (see separate review).
V40 range now has pared down petrol and diesel engine range
Since launch, Volvo has slimmed down the engine range, leaving two petrols and two diesels. Petrol power is provided by the 122hp, 220Nm T2 and the 152hp, 250Nm T3 - both of which are available with manual and automatic gearboxes.
Diesel engines, meanwhile, come in 120hp, 280Nm D2 form and 150hp, 320Nm D3 form - which can both be specified with manual or automatic gearboxes.
With similar claimed fuel economy between the two petrols and the two diesels proving similarly frugal, it's the more powerful models that appeal most here, if you can afford them.
Volvo pedestrian airbag boosts crash safety
Typically for Volvo, safety is high on the list with all manner of active systems available as standard or as optional extras. To ensure the greatest pedestrian safety the company has crammed an airbag under the bonnet.
This system features a bank of sensors in the front bumper that activates the airbag if it thinks the car is about to hit a pedestrian. The car 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 are some nice touches including newly designed seats, a frameless rear-view mirror and a backlit gearknob.
Three driving modes available in Volvo V40
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 central console.
The Parkers Verdict
The V40 is a good all-rounder with its comfy, reasonably well-equipped interior, smooth ride and tidy road handling. It's also no longer the newest medium hatchback, lacking some of the newest technology, which could hold it back - though it's still packed with plenty of safety kit.
So the V40 is definitely safe, but is it exciting enough to warrant bypassing the Audi, BMW and VW showrooms?