There’s plenty of room up front for even taller drivers to get comfortable, but the Volvo offers fractionally less head and leg room than the Audi A3 or VW Golf. Avoid the optional panoramic roof if you’re particularly lanky, though, as it cuts into head room.
Storage space is also good, and there’s a shallow, rubberised cubby hidden behind the centre of the dash that’s ideal for storing parking change. It’s also big enough to store most mobile phones, but these would be better placed in the cubby in the central armrest. The glovebox is big enough to store the usual gubbins, such as the owner’s manual, while clever touches include a pen holder, a sunglasses compartment and a drained recess in the driver’s door for the ice scraper.
The two in-built cupholders up front will be fine for all but the largest takeaway cups, but are placed slightly too close to the driver’s elbow. The door pockets, meanwhile, are each big enough to hold a 1.0-litre bottle.
Head room is a bit tighter in the back of the Volvo than it is in most rivals, but the bench seat is well shaped and leg room is on a par with most cars of this class. A pair of six footers will be comfortable enough when sitting side-by-side.
The middle passenger will be less comfortable, though, because the V40’s cabin is fairly narrow, and the centre seat is raised and fairly hard. A high central tunnel means they’ll have to splay their legs either side of it, too.
A couple of small, shallow cubbyholes at either side of the bench can be used to store small items at a push, but in reality are fairly useless. Instead, the door pockets (which will each hold a 500ml bottle) or the map pockets on the back of the front seats will have to suffice for most items. At least every V40 has a central armrest and two cupholders in the back.
Seat folding and flexibility
The rear seats are split 60/40, and are released by conventional levers that you pull on each outer shoulder of the bench, at which point the seatbacks need a light push to fold flat. You can do this from the boot, but it’s a stretch unless you are particularly long in the arm.
All models except entry-level Momentum get a height-adjustable front passenger seat with lumbar adjustment. This can also fold forward to help with loading longer items such as skis or planks of wood.
The V40’s boot is smaller than those of most rivals, and by a fair margin, but in the real world, the Volvo manages to take the same amount of carry-on suitcases as the Golf. It has a narrower boot opening, too, so if you regularly carry really bulky items this isn’t the best family hatch for you.
It does have some clever features, though; Its floor is hinged, and it’s an easy, one-handed job to lift and fold it out of the way, which gives you full access to the space below. When folded up, the boot floor can also act as a support to keep your shopping bags in place, and there are a number of bag hooks for extra stability.