Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Volvo V40 (2012-2019) review - Engines, performance and drive

Efficient D4 diesel packs a punch, but V40 is safe and secure rather than being exciting to drive

The Volvo V40 benefits from being based on a development of Ford’s Global C Ford Focus platform. That should mean the V40 handles with similar verve to the Ford Focus Mk3, which is also a derivative of the same platform. However, the V40 uses a lot of bespoke Volvo engineering to ensure it's even safer, while it isn't quite as engaging to drive as the Ford.

Advertisement - Article continues below

That said, the V40 is relatively agile and accurate in the corners, but it errs on the side of safe, rather than exciting. The steering is pretty sharp, however, and body control is pretty tight. It's even relatively comfortable, although the stiffer R-Design models are less forgiving.

Best hatchbacks

The suspension delivers a decent ride on standard models, with good bump absorption around town and a supple ride at speed. Beware that larger wheels do have a negative impact on the V40's ride, though.

Audi A3 vs Volvo V40 vs Volkswagen Golf -

The R-Design models have sporty suspension as well as bigger wheels, and both combine to deliver a stiffer ride. This is reflected by the mixed score the V40 has for ride quality in the Driver Power owner satisfaction survey.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Engines

The V40's petrol and diesel engine line-up has been revised over time. At the 2016 update, there were T2, T3 and T5 turbo petrols, and D2, D3 and D4 diesels, but the most powerfull of these are no longer offered. All engines are four-cylinder units, and Volvo has gradually phased out the older Ford-sourced engines in favour of its own designs.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The diesels are 2.0-litres in capacity, with 118bhp or 148bhp. The T2 and T3 petrol models get a 2.0-litre engine if you pick the six-speed manual gearbox, but the Geartronic auto comes with a 1.5-litre engine. Either way, the T2 has 120bhp, and the T3 has 150bhp.

Audi A3 vs Volvo V40 vs Volkswagen Golf -

The pick of the range are the diesels. Volvo’s latest D2 engine is pretty rattly at idle, but it smooths out at speed and it delivers decent performance. The 148bhp D3 is the pick of the range as it has the best spread of torque (320Nm from 1,750-3,000rpm).

Both diesels are offered with an optional six-speed automatic gearbox; there is a fuel economy penalty, but performance is slightly better and the gearbox itself shifts smoothly and always seems to be in the right gear. The core six-speed manual that’s standard across the V40 range is a decent enough box, but has a bit of a vague and slightly loose shift.

Best family cars on sale

Volvo’s 2.0-litre T2 and T3 petrol engines are impressive. They pull well from low revs: the T2 offers peak torque of 220Nm from just 1,100rpm, all the way to 3,500rpm. As with the diesels, there are six-speed manual or auto gearboxes, but even though the autos are quicker, we prefer the shift of the manual box here.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

New 2021 BMW iX3 SUV plugs in with 285 miles of electric power
BMW iX3

New 2021 BMW iX3 SUV plugs in with 285 miles of electric power

Electric version of popular X3 SUV lands next year with 150kW charging and long-distance efficiency promised
14 Jul 2020
New Peugeot 3008 could morph into a coupe-SUV in 2022
Peugeot 3008

New Peugeot 3008 could morph into a coupe-SUV in 2022

Peugeot’s next-generation 3008 looks set to receive a radical redesign in two years’ time, evolving into a style-focussed coupe-SUV
13 Jul 2020
Range Rover and Range Rover Sport get new straight-six diesel in 2021 update
Land Rover Range Rover

Range Rover and Range Rover Sport get new straight-six diesel in 2021 update

The Range Rover can now be specced with a new six-cylinder 48-volt mild-hybrid diesel engine and a choice of fresh special edition models
14 Jul 2020