Volvo V40 D2 SE: Navigating technology

  • We take a look at the technology designed to make life easier
  • A few niggles but overall the V40 performs well
  • Park Assist still needs further development

Today’s generation of cars have so much high-tech kit that I find it can sometimes be quite overwhelming.

Designed to make life easier and allow you to keep connected on the move, technology like Bluetooth, cruise control, internet connectivity, digital radio (DAB), sat-nav, automatic high beams and Park Assist are becoming regular features on the standard specification list.

Our V40 comes loaded with much of the above equipment.

But having the technology is only half the battle - it needs to be easy to operate and navigate around too, so we've taken a closer look at the key equipment to see how the V40 stacks up.

Firstly, lets take a look at the centre console below.

Volvo V40

With graphite trim detailing and a phone style keypad, the centre console certainly looks the part but isn’t the easiest to navigate around, especially on the move.

The buttons are quite small and can be distracting while driving as you try to make sure you are pushing the correct keys, especially when it comes to the heated seats and windscreen demisters which are further down.

Bluetooth is very easy to connect up and the car recognises the phone almost instantly upon return to the car. Bluetooth audio is particularly easy to use, although when you wish to make a call on the road, to get to the point of calling, there is a lot of pressing ‘OK’ to contend with.

The sat-nav, although good when it comes to the map and giving plenty of notice for directions, does not have a full postcode look up which can be a nightmare when you are trying to find a hotel or local pub that doesn't have a specific street number.   

The postcode digits or street name is all selected by using a dial and pressing OK a lot, which can be very time consuming. Make sure you give yourself a five minute window before leaving to set up your destination.You can use the buttons in the centre console but this can take even longer. If you have experienced a touchscreen before, you will be disappointed in the V40... because it doesn't have one.

The DAB radio is operated by scrolling through for the channel of your choice and is a lot easier than tuning in the traditional way. The air conditioning controls are easy to operate too thanks to the funky buttons on the centre console.

Cruise control is turned on and adjusted on the steering wheel, and is very simple to operate - ideal if you travel a lot on the motorway.

There is also £4,500 worth of optional extras on our model which includes Park Assist, and although this technology will be a welcomed by many drivers, it’s not quite refined enough that you should switch off completely when parking.  

Unfortunately there have been a few instances while on test when the V40 has tried to fit into spaces that weren’t quite big enough, turning what is supposed to be quite a relaxing experience into a noisy one with various sensors going off to alert me of a car too close.

Park Assist can only do parallel parking too which means the majority of us will still have to resort back to our experience when it comes to the weekly shop.

As is the case with all new technology, there will undoubtedly be some niggles so we won’t judge the V40 too harshly.

Overall our V40 does well. The controls are a little small and fiddly and Park Assist is slightly tempremental but the kit as a whole makes life a lot easier.

Look out for the next long term report when we look at how the V40 shapes up as a motorway car.

Total Mileage: 4,343

Average MPG: 49.2mpg