Volvo V40 (2012-2019) review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
The V40 is very comfortable, but cabin storage, rear seat space and boot capacity are all a little lacking
The V40 does a good job of feeling like a larger, more expensive Volvo inside. The front seats are comfortable, just like any other Volvo, with a supportive design that doesn't leave you with aches and pains. The Driver Power survey reflects this, with the V40 scoring an outstanding fourth place overall for seat comfort. It's a pity that another Volvo trademark, heated seats, are reserved for the options list (as part of the Winter Pack, costing between £350-£500 dependent on trim).
Interior stowage is a mixed bag. There are lots of cubbies, including a tray behind Volvo’s ‘floating’ centre console, but some are on the small side: the door bins, for example, won’t easily hold a bottle of water. Luckily, the sliding box between the front seats contains a holder for two cups.
Although it looks quite large for a hatch on the outside, the V40 isn’t one of the roomiest models. Clearly all the Volvo-specific safety engineering to reinforce the Ford-derived platform has eaten up a little of the room normally reserved for passengers.
The front seats are mounted high, perhaps a little too high in models with electric seats, which can impact a little on headroom. The pedals feel a touch tight too, and the V40 isn’t as open plan as models such as the Volkswagen Golf.
Car group tests
- MINI Countryman vs Audi Q2 vs Volvo V40 Cross Country
- Audi A3 Sportback vs Volvo V40 vs Volkswagen Golf
Used car tests
With bulky door panels and sporty, raked A-pillars, the V40 doesn’t feel overly spacious but it does feel extremely safe and reassuring as a result.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
The V40 is a little on the cramped side in the rear. Getting in and out can be a bit awkward, due to the size of the front seats which can get in the way of your feet. Once in, passengers will find comfortable seats but not an abundance of space.
Headroom is particularly tight for taller occupants, and if those in the front are tall, they may have to slide their seats forward a bit to free up kneeroom in the back – not something you normally expect in a family five-door.
It is very nicely trimmed in the rear though, and children will find the well-padded, plush rear bench seat a very nice place to while away the hours. There’s an added bonus too – optional heated rear seats are available, an option that costs around £200 and will transform winter comfort for those in the back.
The boot of the Volvo V40 is a bit disappointing compared to other five-door family hatchbacks. Seats up, the diesel model offers just 335 litres, compared to the 380 litres of a Volkswagen Golf (curiously, the petrol is slightly smaller still, on 324 litres).
Seats folded, the diesel expands to 1,032 litres, or 1,021 litres for the petrol cars. That’s with luggage loaded to the roof, too: in comparison, a Volkswagen Golf offers 1,270 litres of space with the seats down – a full 238 litres more space than the V40.
The stylish rear end means the boot opening is a bit on the narrow side, and the sill is a little high. The boot is very nicely trimmed though, with lashing points in the sides to help secure luggage, and the rear seats do fold fully flat for loading bulky objects. Just be careful when you close the tailgate – the rear screen is rather steeply raked.
In this review
- 1Volvo V40 (2012-2019) reviewThe Volvo V40 is a classy and economical alternative to the Audi A3 Sportback, as long as you don't need maximum boot space
- 2Engines, performance and driveEfficient D4 diesel packs a punch, but V40 is safe and secure rather than being exciting to drive
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsEngine range is efficient to deliver decent running costs
- 4Interior, design and technologyRefined and comfortable interior marred by over-complicated infotainment and fiddly sat nav
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot space - currently readingThe V40 is very comfortable, but cabin storage, rear seat space and boot capacity are all a little lacking
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe V40 has peerless safety credentials, while ownership should be relatively hassle-free