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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For The V40 has an upmarket, expensive look and is safe and well equipped

Against The loadbay is not huge, while ride and handling are poor on early versions

Verdict It's an adequate family car, but not an estate in the great Volvo tradition

Go for… 2.0-litre petrol

Avoid… 1.6-litre petrol

Volvo V40 Estate
  • 1. Rattling dashboards and electrical faults are common
  • 2. The Mitsubishi-sourced GDI petrol engines can give problems if run on lower-octane fuel
  • 3. The boot isn't for serious load-lugging but it's adequate for families
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Volvo V40 Estate full review with expert trade views

Think Volvo and you probably think big, all-accommodating estate cars, but this one is a bit different. The V40 is more of a 'lifestyle' estate than a hardcore load-lugger. True, the rear seats fold quickly and easily to extend the load area - which will cope with most family clutter - just don't try taking up antiques dealing.

On older cars built before mid-2000, the ride and handling have a particularly ancient feel. However, steering feel, body-control and comfort did improve when Volvo revised the chassis.

There is a wide range of engines to choose from, but although the diesels are economical, sadly they're not particularly refined.

Equipment is good across the whole range, as is safety, with the V40 scoring a - then - maximum four-star Euro NCAP rating. The cabin looks good in the usual Volvo big-button tradition, but build quality could be better on early versions.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Practical estate with some image. Go for post-2000 model with 1.9 diesel

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Petrolheads may fancy the hottest version, the T4 with its 200bhp turbocharged four-cylinder engine. But, although it's brisk, it lacks the lovely warbling note of the five-cylinder unit in the larger 850 T5 estate and, even with the revised chassis, its handling is still a let-down.

It's also not worth bothering with the 1.6-litre petrol, and the non-turbo 1.9 diesel is none too rapid, either. The turbodiesel does a better job, although refinement is not great.

On the other hand, the V40 was jointly developed with Mitsubishi, and the Japanese 1.8-litre GDI engine offers a good blend of performance and economy, provided you run it on super-unleaded fuel. For all that, though, we like the lightly turbocharged 160bhp 2.0-litre turbo best.

The top trim is CD, but SE has more than enough toys to make the highest trim a needless expense. Get a car built after 1998 and it will have a CD player as well as air-con, a height-adjustable driver's seat, electric front windows and side airbags.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Well built and reliable. Starting to show its age. Early cars had some problems

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

The petrol engines can run to 12,000 miles or a year - whichever comes first - before needing attention. The diesels operate to a slightly shorter time span, requiring a service every 10,000 miles.

That's not too bad and, if you take your V40 to an official Volvo dealer, the hourly rates shouldn't work out more expensive than having, say, a Focus worked on by a Ford dealer. Independent Volvo specialists tend to be pricier than the class average, though.

For sheer fuel economy, the diesel engines can't be beaten, returning 50 to 52mpg. However, the 1.8 GDI petrol engine's economy is attractive, with an official 41mpg, but it needs dearer super unleaded fuel to get the best from it.

The T4 is easily the most thirsty and will return a real-world mid-20s mpg if used hard. It also suffers from Group 15 insurance and even the cheapest V40 to insure is rated at highish group 8.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Practical estate with some image. Go for post-2000 model with 1.9 diesel

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

As the V40 and its S40 saloon sister were jointly developed by Volvo and Mitsubishi, one would expect a high degree of reliability, but that certainly wasn't the case with early models. Rattling dashboards and electrical faults were far from uncommon. While things improved throughout the V40's life, it was never quite as good as it should have been.

The Mitsubishi GDI petrol engine can give problems as the miles mount, particularly if it has been run on something other than the recommended high-octane fuel.

On top of that, wiring looms can be prone to corrosion on all models, suspension ball joints wear out very rapidly and, if the car has a towbar fitted, it's essential to check that the rear suspension is still in strong working order.

It's also important to check the Vehicle and Operator Safety website at www.vosa.gov.uk, because the V40's recalls listed there include the risk of the detachable towbar working loose.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Well built and reliable. Starting to show its age. Early cars had some problems

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing
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