Long-term test review: Volvo V40

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20 Mar, 2017 3:45pm Richard Ingram

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First report: we line up our new Volvo V40 hatch with a pre-facelift car to spot the difference

Verdict

3 In D2 guise, the updated V40 is all about refinement and economy, so I’m hoping it proves to be comfy and cheap to run. However, while the exterior still looks great, inside it’s outshone by newer rivals, even if some light tweaks mean it’s still an interesting choice in a fiercely fought class.

Mileage: 2,804
Economy: 46.5mpg

Sometimes a manufacturer goes right back to the drawing board when it facelifts a car; other times the updates are far more subtle. Volvo has gone for the latter approach with its revised V40, so when I was thrown the keys to the latest addition to our test fleet – a D2 R-Design, the best-selling model in the V40 range, in Crystal White – I had to show my mate Ed. After all, only 12 months ago he took the plunge and bought himself a very similar pre-facelift version.

I was keen to get the cars side by side to highlight the changes Volvo has made, and it was easy to distinguish any differences with the two hatches being exactly the same spec.

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Volvo V40 long-term - first report rear comparison

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Just minutes after we parked the Volvos together, Ed and I were hurriedly pointing out what we liked and didn’t like about each other’s cars. It was clear that there was plenty to compare and contrast.

It’s from the front that the differences are most obvious. The old car’s halogen headlamps have made way for the ‘Thor’s Hammer’ daytime running lights – now a Volvo signature – giving a fresher look.

The only other detectable change is the new Volvo corporate badge, which ditches the blue accents for a classier black and chrome finish. Round the back there are even fewer discernable differences. Both cars feature a contrasting black bootlid, as well as the R-Design’s neat chrome exhaust tips. Our car gets a new-for-2017 R-Design logo next to the D2 badge, while I specified tinted glass for the side and rear windows, at £300.

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Volvo V40 long-term - first report steering wheel

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Inside, the changes are subtle. This is a shame, because while quality is excellent, the complicated dash design trails rivals from Audi and BMW. The button-heavy centre console takes some getting used to, while it’s not easy to familiarise yourself with the complicated climate control set-up.

It’s also a disappointment that the V40 isn’t available with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Still, pairing your phone is easy and our car’s kit count is generous nonetheless.

As I’ll be covering quite a few miles in the smallest Volvo, I’ve added some luxuries. All cars get LED lights, DAB and Bluetooth, but I also went for the Winter Plus pack (£875), which includes heated seats, automatic wipers and a heated front screen, as well as Active Bending Headlights. The Intellisafe Pro pack (£1,900) adds advanced safety kit.

Elsewhere, comfort and refinement are excellent, and body roll is kept in check. Our D2 isn’t as peppy as Ed’s T3 petrol, but after just 2,800 miles I’m seeing at least 10mpg more out of the diesel, averaging 46.5mpg.

* Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

Key specs

  • Model: Volvo V40 D2 R-Design Nav Plus
  • On fleet since: January 2017
  • Price new: £25,095
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 118bhp
  • CO2/tax: 94g/km/£0
  • Options: Premium Metallic paint (£825), Intellisafe Pro Pack (£1,900), Winter Plus pack (£875), Volvo On Call with App (£450), spare wheel and jack (£150), dark tinted windows (£300)
  • Insurance*: Group: 18/Quote: £653
  • Mileage: 2,804
  • Economy: 46.5mpg
  • Any problems?: None so far

For an alternative review of the latest Volvo V40 Hatchback visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk

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Volvo V40 Hatchback

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