Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the Volvo V40 D4.
Volvo continues on its quest to shrug off the old and stodgy reputation with a range of cars in 2015 that combine safety, clever design and good driving dynamics.
The V40 range of five-door hatchbacks starts from $36,990 and there are turbo-charged 2.0 and 2.5 litre five-cylinder petrol engines on offer, as well as 1.6 and 2.0 litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engines.
The 2015 Volvo V40 D4 is priced from $42,990 for the entry-level Kinetic variant and the Luxury grade will set you back from $46,990. I had a week getting to know the upper-spec model.
Under the bonnet, the Volvo V40 D4 features just the one engine – 140kW/400Nm 2.0 litre diesel engine and transmission choice is eight-speed auto only.
There’s no doubting the V40 is one sharp-looking vehicle and I’m really pleased to say that it drives just as nicely. Steering, handling and ride all impress.
A couple of criticisms though, tyre noise at speed is quite noticeable and the turning-circle is disappointingly large.
The diesel engine can be run in three drive modes – Elegance, Eco and Performance. There’s also a sports mode on the transmission. Refreshingly, even in Eco mode the Volvo V40 moves along really well.
If you need more get-up-and-go then selecting Performance mode and the sports shift on the transmission lets you squeeze the grunt out of the 400Nm diesel.
Overall though, I really enjoyed driving the V40.
With those quite good driving dynamics comes excellent fuel consumption. I averaged 6.6L/100kms in a week of city driving, the official claimed combined consumption rate is just 4.5L/100kms. On the highway this diesel engine would be right at home, using as little as 4.0L/100kms!
Being a Volvo, safety is a top priority and a forward collision alert system is a handy addition. With a light strip just under the windscreen and a warning buzzer the system quickly tells you if danger is ahead.
The system will even apply the brakes if it detects that a collision is imminent!
Don’t let the Volvo safety reputation scare you though, there is nothing too complicated about the Volvo driving aids fitted to the V40.
One thing though that I did find ironic – the Volvo Bluetooth system allowed me to sync my smartphone while the car was on the go! This I thought was unusual as most infotainment systems require the car to be stationary to complete the operation.
The V40 cabin is quiet (except for the tyre noise) and comfortable with German-standard levels of fit and finish. The centre control space though is particularly complicated I felt and a disappointment given the Swedish reputation for simplicity.
In saying that, the infotainment system is top-notch. Attractive and easy to navigate around, I really can’t fault it.
The Volvo V40 D4 steering wheel is nicely sized and comfortable and all driving controls are well placed. The left hand stalk controls the driver info screen and functions such as the drive mode selection etc.
A little bit of a letdown is the ignition, which you have to place the quite sizable key-fob into the slot and then push the start/stop button. A key-less entry and start system is available as a $1,500 option.
Speaking of options, functions such as seat heaters (front $375 and rear $525) are also optional extra’s, as well as a premium sound system $1,425 and panoramic sunroof $2,650 etc.
The leather seats are superb, the stereo system sounded great and visibility all-round is excellent for a five-door hatch. Cabin storage areas get a pass-mark, only just. While boot space, especially with an extra under-floor area, is impressive.
You could make an argument that headroom for those in the front is fairly limited (thanks to the slopping V40 styling) and a large bump in the floor directly at the front and to the left of the driver’s seat takes a little getting used to.
Legroom front and back is otherwise acceptable. Clear and attractive instruments, relatively simple climate control adjustments (fan speed and temperature control) complete the interior package.
As yet there isn’t an ANCAP safety rating for the Volvo V40 range but you can be sure that if there was it would be five-star!
Summing it up; the Volvo V40 is a very likable, refined and easy to live with vehicle.
With top-notch build quality, enough safe and conservative aspects to keep the traditionalists happy and a fair bit of fun and sexiness too, this is one nicely-sized European five-door hatchback that’s worth careful consideration.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Volvo V40 D4 Luxury
Engine: 2.0 litre diesel producing 140kW and 400Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic (only)
Safety: Not tested
Warranty: Three years
Price: From $42,990 (Kinetic), $46,990 (Luxury)