The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
There’s a wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustment to help you find a good position, and the V40 has some of the most comfortable seats in its class. All models get adjustable lumbar support as standard for the driver, although only plusher variants get it for the front seat passenger.
The centre console feels very outdated and cluttered, though, with a selection of small, fiddly buttons that are hard to tell apart at a glance. The dials for climate control and music volume are hard to tell apart from each other, so locating the right operation takes a bit of thought. Another niggle is the placement for the key, which slots into a space high in the dashboard. This causes any keyrings that hang down to rattle and buzz against the fascia even when the engine is just idling.
The layered menus of the driver’s information readout, which you navigate using a scrolling wheel on the end of the indicator stalk, are a bit convoluted, too, and can make it tricky to flip between the trip computer and the speed reading, for example. The graphics aren’t anywhere near as crisp as in rivals and the display can’t show a great variety of information, either. The Audi A3, with its Virtual Cockpit digital instrumentation is far superior, although it’s worth pointing out that this costs extra on most trims.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
Forward visibility from the V40 is fair, but rearward visibility is quite poor; the rear windows narrow noticeably and the thick pillars at the back of the car cause big blind spots. The high, slim rear window can make it hard to judge where the back of the car ends, too.
Front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera are standard on all trims, and you can also add Park Assist Pilot – a system that will steer the car into a space while you operate the accelerator. If you want additional assistance on the move, there’s an optional blind spot monitoring system that alerts you to passing traffic that you might otherwise not have noticed.
Sat nav and infotainment
All V40s have a DAB radio, DVD player and Bluetooth connectivity, plus a USB input (located in the front armrest) with the standard 7.0in colour display. There’s also European navigation standard on all trim levels. However, rather than using a touchscreen, the system is controlled through a mismatch of confusing rotary dials and small shortcut buttons. It’s a bit fiddly to get your head around and work out which controls do what, and is a long way behind the large, clear touchscreen of the Volkswagen Golf or the class-leading iDrive infotainment system of the BMW 1 Series.
Controls on the steering wheel are standard on all models, and make it easy to do the basic things such as skipping an audio track or changing the volume. The V40’s eight-speaker set-up is also one of the better standard sound systems in the class, and an upgraded Harman Kardon system is available as an option.
Inside, the dashboard is covered in a textured, soft-touch material and the switches work with precision, and the various plastic finishes and chrome highlights seem well screwed together. However, if you look towards the doors, you’ll find plenty of scratchy plastics, and the ‘floating’ central console feels a little flimsy. It’s a fair way off matching the quality of either the Audi A3 or Volkswagen Golf.
Inscription is pitched as the most luxurious trim level, and employs more eye-catching interior details and higher-quality surfaces, but is very expensive.