Volvo’s new V40 is an appealing alternative to the established ‘posh hatchback’ order from Audi and BMW, blending stand-out styling with one of the most comfortable cabins in the class.
It comes with a wide line-up of diesel engines, and while we aren’t so fond of the five-cylinder unit that you get in the D4 model, the 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine in the D2 is a bit of a star. It’s a little flat below 1750rpm, but providing you keep the revs above that point, it’s comfortable enough with a car of the V40’s size and weight. It’s an accomplished motorway cruiser, too, fading nicely into the background at 70mph.
The D2 can’t match the official fuel economy figure of 78.5mpg when it comes to our True MPG evaluation, which is calculated on real British roads instead of inside a laboratory. However, it manages a respectable 56.8mpg – a decent figure in the real world – and with official CO2 emissions of just 94g/km, this is also a model that will have appeal to company car choosers.
Inside, the V40 plays to Volvo’s strengths, with a good choice of quality materials (much of the design is drawn from the larger S60) and, if you opt for the more expensive SE trim, a generous smattering of standard equipment, including cruise control, keyless start, Bluetooth, climate control and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.
Down sides? Even the regular suspension is borderline too stiff for British roads (avoid the sports set-up like the plague) and much of the engine’s refinement can be lost to wind- and particularly road noise. However, the V40’s real-world economy makes it worthy of a recommendation.