Our Cars: Volvo V40 - July

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Volvo V40
Volvo V40

Volvo V40 1.6D D2 SE Nav

Week ending July 19
Mileage 17,967
Driven this week 136

Volvo V40 review

There's a lot I like about the V40: the comfortable seats, the powerful and clear stereo, the effective air-con system and the efficient diesel engine. It also offers something different from its upmarket German hatchback rivals; not everyone wants to drive an Audi, BMW or Mercedes, after all.

There's a lot I don't like, though, such as how gutless the engine is at low revs, the vague steering, notchy gearshift and the small boot.

My biggest issue with the V40, however, is its ride. It's unsettled on seemingly smooth roads, uncomfortable on scruffy ones and crashy on pockmarked surfaces. It's bad, plain and simple.

It's also unforgivable considering our model has a comparatively light four-cylinder engine over the front wheels (the larger D3 and D4 five-cylinder engines are far heavier) and the standard, smallest wheels available, so the ride should be as good as it can be in a diesel V40.

The ride is a deal-breaker for me, which is a shame because I really wanted the V40 to be a proper alternative to the established big players.


Week ending July 12
Mileage 17,831
Driven this week 519

On a recent 400-mile round trip for a photoshoot, the V40 seemed to be in its element. The 1.6-litre diesel engine is a bit slow off the mark but easily keeps up with motorway traffic.

I was particularly impressed with the car's adaptive cruise control. I normally don't bother setting cruise control systems because British motorways are so crowded but the one in the Volvo brakes and accelerates so well that it is very usable and a good way of making long distances more relaxing.

By Matthew Burrow

Week ending June 28
Mileage 17,312
Driven this week 712

Volvo V40 review

I'm starting to see more and more D2 Volvo V40s on the roads of London, and when you consider their 94g/km CO2 emissions, I'm not surprised. Company car drivers must love the low costs and they're getting a genuinely classy car to spend time in.

However, a quick flick through the Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI's figures reveals there's better value than our SE Nav trimmed V40.

For a start the A3 is cheaper in Sport trim – cheaper by enough to add Audi's £495 sat-nav as an option on top – and it will be worth a whole 11% more of its list price after three years than the Volvo.

The A3's contract hire rates are also lower and although its 99g/km CO2 emissions put it behind the Volvo in the 14% tax band, that's only one band and 1% more expensive.

It's a shame, as I've had a couple of long journeys in our V40 recently and think the D2 works best cruising on the motorway at higher speeds, when you don't have to interact with its sticky clutch, or suffer its bad ride over broken urban roads.

The stereo is great, too, if you can remember which button does what – just look how many are crammed on to the V40's otherwise-stylish dash.

By Rory White

Our Cars: Volvo V40 - June


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