Volvo V40 – The final curtain

  • We bid farewell to our long term Volvo V40
  • Over 5,500 miles covered during its time with us
  • Lots of pros but Powershift gearbox not one of them

It seems like only yesterday when I was taking that first trip to Cowes but after six months and over 5500 miles in our Volvo V40 D2 SE Nav it's time to bid farewell.

This was my first experience of a V40 and over the past six months the car has proved a capable and reliable companion; it’s pretty clear to me why it’s a popular choice for both retail buyers and company car drivers.

The highs

One of the biggest strings to the V40’s bow is its comfort levels. It makes a great motorway car and has been an asset on some particularly long journeys during its stay with us. The soft suspension and well-weighted steering make for a pleasant overall driving experience.

Volvo V40

Another of the V40’s plus points is the equipment levels, our test car came with plenty of kit which was refreshingly easy to navigate around and operate. The heated seats and Bluetooth in particular proved to be useful additions.  

It may not be the cheapest hatchback to buy but the V40 stands up well against it’s rivals and that's clear from the moment you look at the cabin - there's not an ounce of cheap plastic to be found.

Practicality is just as important as quality for a long termer though, and the V40 has risen to the challenge, helping me to go on holiday over Christmas and various family trips to the seaside over the summer. On each trip it swallowed luggage with ease and the handy cubbies inside the car were perfect for smaller items.

Volvo V40

Safety is an imperative part of a cars make up and according to safety experts EuroNCAP the V40 is the safest car you can buy in the UK.

The lows

The V40 has one big flaw that could potentially ruin it all and that is the optional powershift gearbox.

Volvo V40

Jerky, unresponsive and seemingly out-of-tune with the engine the Powershift gearbox is also a nightmare when pulling out of junctions, the delay in the car accelerating after pressing the pedal is worryingly long. Things improve when you're on the move, but even accelerating gently saw the engine revs soar and the noise of the diesel filtering into the cabin.

Curiosity got the better of me when we had the V40 so I tested a manual version of the exact same car, find out more here. Suffice to say it improved the experience dramatically.

Fuel economy also suffers because of the Powershift gearbox, the overall average during our time with the car just 43.5mpg versus the official combined figure of 74.4mpg.  

Sad or Glad?

Volvo V40

At the start of the loan I was sure I was going to love my time with the V40, and in many ways I did; there's few other cars on our fleet that were as comfortable and well-built as the Swede. And there's no doubt the Volvo is a sharp looker too.

But before we'd even come to the end of the six month loan I'd fallen out of love with the gearbox - the jerky shift action, delayed response and propensity to hold onto gears waaaaaaay too long has left me frustrated. Fundamentally the V40 is a great car, I just hope that if I ever have the fortune to encounter one again it has a manual gearbox fitted instead.

Mileage: 5,564 miles

Economy: 43.5mpg