It’s not unfair to say that Swedish marque Volvo is best known for its practical estates and SUVs. How else are you going to get your weekly supply of equally Swedish flat-pack furniture and meatballs home? But this is the Volvo V40, the brand’s smallest offering, which – unlike Volvo’s other ‘V’ badged models – is defined specifically as a “compact hatchback”.
Sitting below the V60 and even bigger V90 estates, and complementing the hugely successful XC40 and XC60 SUVs in Volvo’s model line-up, the V40 is intended to take on such upmarket giants such as the Audi A3 Sportback and BMW 1 Series, as well as the Mercedes A-Class and Volkswagen Golf.
There’s a choice of two diesel and two petrol engines, each available with a manual and automatic gearbox. Likewise, three simple trim levels – Momentum, R-Design and Inscription – provide a choice of styles and specification levels.
There’s also a V40 Cross Country which adds a raised ride height for an SUV-style stance. Although no V40 has estate-like dimensions, there’s still enough space for rear passengers and some handy interior storage spaces that boost practicality.
But does the V40 successfully bridge the gap between estate and hatchback in the Volvo range? Which trim level offers the best combination of practicality, ride quality and equipment? And how does the V40 compare with the rest of the family-hatchback competition?
Read on over the next few pages to get our in depth impressions of the V40, along with our recommendations for which trim levels and engines to choose. And if you’re ready to buy, don’t forget to head to our New Car Buying pages to find the best deal without having to haggle.