Volvo makes big estate cars, right? It’s an image that Volvo has been working hard to shake off for a few years now, but if there were any lingering doubts left, the V40 blows them out of the water. Confusingly, despite the ‘V’ designation being solely applied to estate models, the V40 isn’t an estate at all, hence its inclusion in our small family cars section.
The V40 has a contemporary exterior which is confident and individual. The interior is equally successful with an effortlessly cool and sophisticated look enhanced by the trademark ‘floating’ control panel.
There are some nice touches too, such as a full-length glass roof and a high-tech TFT instrument display with three different display modes. Neither of these are standard but they are both available as options and would be well worth selecting. Overall the quality of finish is a match for the premium German brands and there is more character.
The V40 gets a 1.6-litre turbodiesel which has a modest power output but a healthy 199 lb.ft. of torque available from 1,750 – 2,500 rpm. This provides decent performance, particularly in-gear, and also allows impressive fuel economy of 83.1 mpg. The V40 uses Ford Focus underpinnings which means that it isn’t bad to drive either, although as is now common, the electric power steering lacks feel.
The Volvo V40 1.6 D2 ES is an impressive addition to the class. If you want a premium small family car but don’t want to pick from the German offerings, the Volvo is a genuine alternative. Volvo hasn’t forgotten its routes either with a myriad of safety features looking after you – and others also, thanks to the world’s first pedestrian airbag.