In-depth reviews

Volvo V40 (2012-2019) review - Interior, design and technology

Refined and comfortable interior marred by over-complicated infotainment and fiddly sat nav

The V40 has an interior that's characteristic of Volvo. There are plenty of soft-touch materials and classy metal trim, while higher spec Inscription and R-Design cars have some stylish design options for the neat ‘floating’ centre console.

There are a lot of buttons on the dash, though: the centre console is packed with them, and it’s a slight case of form over function as some buttons are tricky to find at a glance. 

Volvo V40 Cross Country - dash

Volvo’s ignition key is also compromised. It slots in high on the dash out of harm’s way (so knees can’t hit it in a crash), but if you have a large keyfob, especially a metal one, it can rattle irritatingly against the dashboard and scratch it, too. You also have to press a button after inserting the keyfob to start the car. Keyless Drive, which is part of the £1,500 Xenium pack, is an option we’d recommend.

There’s a lot of technology packed into the V40 – not least the active safety tech. City Safety autonomously helps you avoid accidents at city speeds and a speed limiter stops speeds creeping up. All cars now get sat-nav as standard, while the optional Sensus Connect system adds voice control, a larger seven-inch screen and connected web apps and internet browser. 

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The V40 uses Volvo’s previous-generation sat-nav system, rather than the latest touchscreen setup first seen in the XC90. As such, it’s very fiddly and awkward to use, requiring multiple twists of a dial and presses of a conform button to set destinations. It’s old technology, and it shows.

The system itself works reasonably well and the mapping is clear from the high-res screen. The display itself isn’t the largest, however, as space is restricted due to the fact it’s integrated into the dashboard rather than standing proud from it, like Mercedes does in its A-Class hatch. There's no touchscreen functionality, though.

Volvo offers its Sensus Connect system to go with the sat-nav for around £500. This adds a hard drive for music storage, European mapping, TMC traffic message channel and lifetime annual map updates.

Volvo has a well deserved reputation for excellent stereo quality, and the V40 is no exception. Even the standard High Performance Sound system has excellent depth, definition and clarity, although again adding the Sensus Connect option brings the optional Harman/Kardon 130W ‘sound stage’ system for even greater sound quality.

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