Volvo V40 D2: First Journey

  • The V40 goes to Southampton for Cowes Week
  • Excellent comfort levels impress
  • Driver Alert system forces me to visit Greggs

To help me get to grips with my new long termer, I took the V40 on a 170-mile trip to Southampton so I could visit Cowes week on the Isle of Wight.

It was a good first test for the V40 as the route combines motorways, town driving and some country roads. 

What struck me most after setting off is how effortless the V40 is to drive. Comfort levels are exceptional and the ride is very smooth. The car handles well with little body roll around corners and the steering is well weighted, tackling the country roads on route well. The soft suspension also made easy work of potholes and bumps.

Yes it’s not the quickest car in the world - with a 0-62mph time of 12.1 seconds and a top speed of 118mph - but the 114bhp available from the 1.6 four-cylinder diesel engine is far from sluggish and offers enough pull when trying to get out of a junction in traffic.

Volvo V40

The V40 could be accused of being slightly conservative, and I can see where many of its critics are coming from. It does lack a little excitement behind the wheel. But on long motorway journeys, when what you really want is a smooth and comfortable ride, the Volvo is pretty faultless.

My only real niggle at this point is the ‘Powershift’ automatic gearbox, which can be quite slow to react. Considering it costs £1,485 extra, first impressions are in favour of a manual.

When it comes to space, the V40 has plenty, especially in the boot. There was easily enough room to fit a suitcase and two suit bags for my two-day trip to Cowes - I like to be prepared for everything, and that includes a fashion nightmare.

Because the majority of the route to Southampton from Peterborough is on the motorway, getting stuck in traffic on a Friday afternoon seemed inevitable, but thanks to the Volvo’s sat-nav, the route was readjusted and recalculated so I managed to avoid the bulk of it.

Volvo V40

This was the moment my V40 forced me to visit Greggs.

Breaks should always be taken on long journeys and our long termer comes equipped with Volvo’s Driver Alert system that tells the driver when they should take some time out from driving. I had the warning come up an hour and a half into the journey, which my passenger handily snapped on her mobile, and acting slightly out of character, I did as I was told. 

I retreated to the next services for a Costa coffee and a Greggs sausage roll (other coffee houses and bakeries are available).

The V40 has a variety of storage options so I was able to stow away my handbag and coffee cup easily for the remainder of the journey. 

I arrived in Southampton only three and a half hours later, and thanks to the V40, I felt relaxed and ready for the weekend ahead out at sea. 

Look out for the next update as we will be pitting the manual and automatic gearboxes against each other to see which comes out on top.  

Current Mileage: 900

Average MPG: 50.2