Volvo V40 thinks outside box

Iain Dooley checks out Volvo's compact holdall – the V40.

Engines – Volvo offered a wide choice of petrol motors for the V40, with horsepower varying from a modest 98 to a heady 226. Predictably, something in the middle should do the trick for everyday tasks. Being a generation behind current cars, the V40's diesel engines might be frugal but they could be quieter.

Exterior – Instantly recognisable as a Volvo, the compact V40 shares much with its close relation the S40. Volvo's designers did a good job of streamlining the V40's loadspace though, and the car is anything but boxy.

You may also want to watch:

Interior – With its solid construction and clever ergonomic touches, the V40's cabin feels more premium than its asking price suggests. And for a compact estate comparable to, say, Ford's Focus, it's ideal for a growing family on a budget.

Most Read

Driving – Volvo never pitched the V40 as a sporting wagon, and its great strengths lie in its ability to safely and securely transport you and your family from A to B in comfort. In petrol form it's something the V40 does well – it goes where you point it and is refined and responsive. Better economy does result in more noise, however, as the Volvo's diesel engines could be quieter.

Ownership – As a compact family workhorse or enhanced hatchback the V40 performs well. It's not too big to park yet its load bay has enough potential to accommodate a surprising amount of stuff. Solidly constructed and refined on the move, the V40 is a competent alternative to the mainstream opposition.

What to look for – Being an estate car, always check a V40's load bay for excessive signs of wear and tear. Soggy rear suspension and a tow bar should have you asking questions, while anything other than a smooth driving experience should have you walking away. Given its age don't expect a full dealer history, although lots of receipts would be a bonus.

Model history – 1996, Volvo introduces S40 and V40 range of compact saloons and estate cars respectively. Wide range of four-cylinder petrol and modest choice of diesel motors offered. Good level of standard kit for a car positioned as a semi-premium alternative to cars from Ford, Vauxhall and the like. 2000 saw revisions inside and out plus improvements to the car's engine line-up.

Reasons to buy – Affordable, well-built alternative to mainstream alternatives, practical loadspace, brand image.

Reasons to beware – Diesel refinement, modest cabin space for adults in the back, won't please keen drivers.

Pick of the range – V40 1.8 SE.

What to pay – 2001 Y �2,900; 2002 02 �3,425; 2003 03 �3,900; 2004 04 �4,450. Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter