Our Cars: Volvo V40 - November
Week ending November 30
Driven this week: 200 miles
I've set my Volvo's door mirrors so that the passenger-side glass tilts down so I can see the kerb while parking. However, last week I discovered that the system has another neat trick – if I push the button on the driver's door that activates the right-hand mirror, that glass dips too, allowing me to see the kerb on the right side of the car.
Small touches like that make living with a car so much easier.
Week ending November 23
Current mileage 10,811
Miles driven this week: 285 miles
Last week, I wrote about what the Volvo was like to live with for a week's holiday, and one of the things that irked me was this D2 model's fuel range.
D2 is the eco special of the V40 range, and to make sure its economy and CO2 emissions are as good as they can be, Volvo has made the car as light as practically possible. Part of this involves giving it a smaller fuel tank than other V40s – 52 litres versus 60 for the other diesels and 62 for the petrols.
This cuts the distance the D2 can go on a tank of fuel (it's still impressive, mind you), but even worse is how much the range read-out lies.
After 580 miles, the range had dropped to zero, so I naturally assumed it'd take 50 litres or so to brim the tank. No so. Just 43.5 litres later, the fuel pump had clicked a second time.
If I'd known there was so much fuel still left in the tank, I wouldn't have taken a detour to find a fuel station. In fact, I probably wouldn't have had to fill up that day at all.
Of course, I'd rather not run out of fuel, but a fuel range that's so pessimistic is of little use. If you're a high-mileage driver, having to stop for fuel far earlier than necessary will soon become annoying.
See our V40 on video
Week ending November 16
Current mileage 10,526
Driven this week: 1326 miles
Until last week, I'd never driven our V40, so was keen to spend some time in it. A week's holiday that involved everything from Christmas shopping to a few days rambling in Devon seemed like the ideal opportunity.
Things got off to a promising start. The V40 is a great-looking car, inside and out, and the cabin feels suitably upmarket, as it should for the car's £22,500 asking price.
It's not that good to drive, though. It doesn't ride, steer or handle particularly well, so isn't as comfortable around town, as fun on country roads or relaxing on the motorway as it could be.
Still, that didn't stop me spending many hours in the car, from where I could appreciate the cracking stereo and the comfortable and supportive driver's seat.
Space isn't the V40's strongest suit, but it was decent enough for three people at a time, and the boot coped with everything from bags of shopping to suitcases and walking boots. It took some careful packing to fit everything in, though, so if you've got a couple of children and their clobber to take with you, a V40 won't cope.
If you're a high-mileage driver, you may also have issues with this diesel model's tank range, but more of that next week on whatcar.com.
Week ending November 9
Driven this week: 500 miles
I love the fact that I can get into the V40 and my iPhone streams music through the Bluetooth system. However, if I connect my phone using the USB socket, it'll play music for around only 30 seconds before crashing.
Colleague Will Williams, who has an old-style iPod, has suffered the same issue. When the car goes in to have its software issue resolved (see last week's report below), I think I'll get the connection looked at, too.
Week ending November 2
Miles this week 300
Drama! The Volvo came up with a disconcerting 'Engine system service required' message this week when being driven by colleague Will Williams.
He stopped, checked everything was present and correct under the bonnet, then continued to work. Once there, he called MKG 3000 in Twickenham (020 8892 4440) and they agreed to look at the car as soon as he could get it there.
It turns out it was a dodgy reading from a brake module. MKG cleared the message but said it might reappear, and that if it does the car will need to go in for longer to have its software upgraded. Still, good service.