Volvo V40 (2012-present)

The Volvo V40 is a smart, safe and efficient premium family hatchback

Strengths & Weaknesses


Very high Euro NCAP safety scores
Handsome styling, inside and out
Highly efficient D2 diesel engine


Automatic gearbox disappoints
BMW 1 Series better to drive
Poor residual values

For families who want class-leading safety with Swedish style, the Volvo V40 is the only car that fits the bill. 

It’s strong and efficient, offers up-to-date technology, and has a smooth, flowing design that starts off at the front with Volvo's signature hammer-shaped daytime running lights, which boost the car's visibility when the headlights are off.

The V40 is a less common alternative to upmarket German hatchbacks, including the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class, as well as more mainstream - and cheaper - cars such as the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.

Back in 2012, independent crash-testers at Euro NCAP named the V40 as the safest car they had ever crash-tested, and although standards have become even higher since then, you can still trust the V40 to look after you in a crash.

The Volvo was one of the first mainstream cars to incorporate a range of active safety technology such as lane-departure warning, which sounds an alert if you stray out of your lane, automatic emergency braking that can stop the car to avoid a crash, and a pop-up bonnet with an airbag to help reduce pedestrian injuries.

The engine range includes some efficient diesels that also offer good performance but it's not the car to choose if you want sporty performance, and nimble changes of direction in corners: that's more the style of the BMW 1 Series, or Mini Clubman

Instead, the V40 is more like a Mercedes A-Class or Audi A3, with soft suspension that soaks up bumps and potholes effectively, offering more comfort but losing a sense of sharpness when you steer. The smooth ride is less impresive if you opt for the larger 18in or 19in wheels, which make the car more unsettled over bumps.

The Volvo's sense of comfort is boosted by the supremely comfortable seats - which are cosseting enough in standard fabric, let alone the leather facings of Inscription models. The interior is well finished but the button-strewn dashboard is more fiddly to use than the minimalist design of more recent Volvos, such as the V90 and XC90, as well as many rivals.

In particular, the dashboard screen is small and lacks the clarity that you'll find in a Volkswagen Golf, Audi A3, Mazda 3 or Hyundai i30.

An update in 2016 did bring some minor software updates, and introduced the hammer-shaped lights at the front of the car, but the interior space was left unchanged, which makes the V40 more cramped in the back than a Volkswagen Golf or Renault Megane.

Boot capacity is below average too: at 335 litres, it comes in a little below that of the Mercedes A-Class (341 litres) and significantly behind the Audi A3 (365 litres).

Another downside is the ‘Geartronic’ automatic gearbox, which is neither as smooth nor as efficient as Volkswagen and Audi’s. What’s more, the Volvo's high prices aren’t reflected in strong used values, so it pays to search out Volvo V40 discounts to reduce finance payments or reduce the amount of money that you lose when you come to sell it.

There's also a V40 Cross Country model, that's offers four-wheel drive and is slightly higher off the ground, to help it tackle off-road surfaces such as muddy fields and dirt tracks more effectively. It's a type of crossover, which combines the qualities of a hatchback and off-roader, but doesn't offer the high driving position of cars such as the Nissan QashqaiVolkswagen TiguanBMW X1 and Audi Q3

Last Updated 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - 15:00

Key facts 

Two years/unlimited miles
Boot size: 
325 litres
£120 to £200 in first year, £140 thereafter / Pre-April 2017 cars: £0 to £130

Best Volvo V40 for... 

Volvo V40 D2 Momentum Nav Plus
Volvo’s D2 diesel engine has reasonable performance, with an official fuel economy figure of over 70mpg. You should only expect 50mpg in normal driving, but that still makes this V40 relatively cheap to run.
Volvo V40 D3 Momentum Nav Plus
Unless you’re really pinching the pennies, it’s worth moving up to the slightly more powerful D3 diesel, which is smoother when accelerating and quieter on motorways and engine for a more relaxing driving experience, particularly on motorways. Momentum Nav Plus adds parking sensors, sat-nav and cruise control to the basic specification.
Volvo V40 T5 R-Design Pro
The fastest standard V40 takes 6.4 seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph, which is quick for a family hatchback, but not quite at the level of hot hatchbacks, such as the Audi S3. R-Design Pro trim brings a sportier design with lower bumpers, plus more supportive sports seats.
Volvo V40 T2 Momentum
If you're paying the higher price for a Volvo V40, then you might as well feel the benefit. This entry-level version just has a sense of cost-cutting: for less than £1,000 more, you can opt for a Momentum Nav Plus car that has sat-nav, cruise control and parking sensors that aren't fitted to the lesser car.

Volvo V40 History 

  • April 2012 All-new Volvo V40 hatchback goes on sale
  • September 2012 Sporty R-Design trim level joins the range
  • March 2013 Lower-emission D2 diesel and T2 petrol engines added to range
  • March 2013 Recall of 1,500 Nov ’13 - Mar ’13 V40s for software malfunction
  • February 2014 Further emissions and fuel economy improvements
  • June 2016 Updated design introduces the hammer-style lights at the front of the car, and brings some minor software updates, plus more wheel and interior design options. ES and SE trim levels are replaced with Momentum and Inscription.

Understanding Volvo V40 car names 

  • V40
  • Engine
    D2 [120]
  • Trim level
  • Gearbox
  • Engine
    Volvo’s petrol engines are prefixed ‘T’ and its diesels ‘D’, with higher numbers indicating more power.. The engine's horsepower is often given too (show here in brackets). It could be written as hp or PS, which are both the same measure.
  • Trim level
    The amount of standard equipment fitted to your V40 will depend on the trim level that you choose. Momentum is the most basic, followed by Inscription, R-Design and then R-Design Pro.
  • Gearbox
    The V40 is available with either a manual gearbox or Volvo’s six-speed automatic transmission, which it calls Geartronic.

Volvo V40 Engines 

Petrol: T2, T3, T5 Diesel: D2, D3, D4

The vast majority of Volvo V40s sold are diesel, and a quick glance at the figures reveals why. Even the entry-level D2 gets from 0-62mph in a respectable 10.5 seconds, and has an official fuel economy figure of more than 70mpg, as well as company car tax-friendly CO2 emissions of under 99g/km.

As usual, you should discount the official mpg figures to work out how much the Volvo will cost you to run: the Equa Index, which is based on real-world testing on public roads, suggests that you can expect around 50mpg, which is a respectable - if not spectacular - figure.

Officially, and in real life, the more powerful D3 and D4 diesel engines offer similar fuel economy but better performance, so choosing them is simply a matter of deciding whether faster and smoother acceleration is worth paying extra for.

Until recently, the V40's petrol engines looked a little redundant next to the impressive diesels, but the prospect of extra diesel charges and taxes in the coming years, makes them more appealing.

As with the diesels, you can discount the official 50mpg figure: the Equa Index estimates that all of the petrol engines will return around 35mpg. It's a considerable drop from the diesels, but these V40s are cheaper to buy in the first place. Low mileage drivers, in particular may find that the lower purchase price outweighs the extra fuel cost.

The T2 and T3 engines feel very similar to drive, with little performance difference, but the more expensive T5 is rapid, with acceleration from 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds.


Official fuel economy [Auto]


Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed



50.4 mpg [51.4]






50.4mpg [51.4]












78.5mpg [72.4]






74.3mpg [68.9]






74.3mpg [67.3]




Volvo V40 Trims 

Momentum, Momentum Nav Plus, Inscription, R-Design, R-Design Pro

If you believe Volvo's claims about the V40 being a premium car, then you might be a little disappointed if you see it in entry-level Momentum specification, with its mini 5in dashboard screen.

You do get 16in alloy wheels, climate control, a leather steering wheel, digital radio and Bluetooth for connecting a phone wirelessly, but it feels a little sparse. Even if, underneath the surface, every V40 is equipped with a raft of safety systems, including seven airbags - including one for pedestrians, an automatic emergency braking system and Isofix mounts for safely securing a child seat in the rear two seats.

For less than £1,000 more, Momentum Nav Plus cars increase the size of the screen to a more legible 7in, adding sat-nav, cruise control and parking sensors, all of which you might expect as standard on any car costing over £20,000, plus an upgraded sound system.

Inscription cars, costing an additional £2,000, start to feel more luxurious, thanks to their leather-faced seats and aluminium interior panels. A front centre armrest, rear reading lights and automatic windscreen wipers are included. Alloy wheels are also increased in size to 17in.

R-Design cars look sportier, thanks to their lower bumpers and silver highlights outside. More supportive fabric sports seats are added, but the lack of leather, sat-nav, parking sensors and cruise control make these cars slightly cheaper than Inscription versions.

At the top of the range, R-Design Pro cars are fitted with those missing features, including leather sports seats, and have bigger 18in alloy wheels too, for a premium of just over £2,000.

There are plenty of further options to upgrade your V40 with options packs, The winter pack, costing between £500 and £600 fits heated front seats, heated windscreen nd headlight cleaning.

The expensive £2,000 pack includes powered front seats that can be adjusted at the touch of a button, a panoramic sunroof, rear camera and self-parking system.

For a simialr price, Intellisafe Pro upgrades the Volvo's technology package, and inclues adaptive cruise control, which maintains a set distance from the car in front, an improved auto matic emergency braking system that can detect pedestrians and cyclists, limited self-steering to nudge your car back intio its lane and a camera that can detect the speed limit of the road you're on.

Volvo V40 Reliability and warranty 

Volvo projects an image of solid Scandinavian durability, which is borne out by customer experiences with the V40. The car was praised highly in the 2015 edition of Auto Express magazine’s Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, being rated 16th out of 200 cars for reliability, 30th for build quality and 16th overall.

It’s slightly disappointing, therefore, to find that Volvo offers no more than the industry standard three years or 60,000 miles of warranty cover. Fortunately, the V40’s very solid reliability record means there should be little chance of unexpected bills, even if you do decide to keep the car after the guarantee has expired.

Used Volvo V40 

The Volvo V40 depreciates sharply in its first year on the road – this is the case for almost every new car, but the effect is particularly pronounced here. Depending on exact mileage and condition, year-old V40s can be purchased for a remarkable two-thirds of their original list price. The curve flattens out after that, which points to the 12-month mark as being the smartest point to buy a used example.

If you’re after a petrol, you could be looking for a while, as diesel V40s outsell petrols by a significant margin, so there are a lot more of them to choose from on the secondhand market. The same is true of the higher trim levels: it is possible to find a high-spec used V40 for a good price, but many new buyers stuck to the better-value ES and SE versions, so R-Designs and SE Luxes are few and far between.

Prices below show typical BuyaCar discounts for our pick of new and used models. Scroll down further for the very latest new Volvo V40 deals or search for all new and used Volvo V40 offers.

List price

BuyaCar new

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

Best for performance

Volvo V40 D4 [190] R DESIGN Nav 5dr diesel hatchback












Best for families

Volvo V40 D3 [150] SE Nav 5dr diesel hatchback












Best for economy

Volvo V40 D2 [120] ES Nav 5dr diesel hatchback