In 2012, Volvo’s model policy is somewhat confusing. If you are looking for a successor to the C30, this V40 is the car for you. If you want to keep driving a saloon or estate because you’re stuck with your S40 or V50, you’re out of luck. Sweden looks higher. Volvo sees it in dire straits that the compact station wagon will lose out to the compact SUV crossover. There is still room for a competitor in the first C segment: the V40, a five-door hatchback, where the V stands for versatility, designed in Sweden, but built in Ghent. Just say the Scandinavian answer to the Audi A3 Sportback, BMW 1-series, Mercedes-Benz A-class and Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Nice to meet you! In 2012, during the first comparison test of the V40, we also found the Volkswagen Golf from the aforementioned German trio, and in its work as a new car, Volvo also met the Alfa Romeo Giulietta several times on the AutoWeek test field.
V40: four petrol versions, three diesel
The V40 (model code Y55) is available as petrol (T2, T3, T4, T5) and diesel (D2, D3, D4) and the car remains a popular rental car for seven years. Before the Volkswagen diesel scandal, the D2 and D3 were more popular. Now the emphasis is on petrol models.
The V40 is based on the Ford Focus
The basis is the Ford Focus C1 platform. Volvo also supplies engines from the brand and design comes from Chris Benjamin and Pontus Fontaeus (inside) led by Steve Mattin. They draw a three- and five-door hatchback with a long nose, a flat windshield and a rising and high waistline with a very low roof. From the rear, it’s a mix of the C30, V40 and XC60 thanks to the taillights and the high-gloss black connector. The three-door never made it to the production stage.
Difficult to enter
In the case of this V40, open form takes precedence over performance in some areas. Thanks to the flat windshield, the car provides a difficult front entry. Due to the sharp rear doors with a small opening angle, it is not a ceremony to get in there either. In the back seat you have a small space, but there is no good view because of the small windows. You can leave the big, hard suitcases at home, because the luggage compartment prefers to swallow collapsible weekend bags. In short, a car for single people or couples without children instead of families. This also applies to the Cross Country (model code Y56), which, together with a large ground clearance of four centimeters and 4×4 on the top model, further adds to the ‘lifestyle’ touch. It’s a successful styling exercise though, one in five V40s is a CC.
It is also offered with five cylinders
Because Volvo is still part of Ford during development, it also borrows some engines from the Focus. Consider the 1.6 EcoBoost (150/180 hp) and the 1.6 PSA/Ford Duratorq (115 hp) diesel. If you have a genuine Volvo engine on your wish list, all you have left is the big five-cylinder B525 (254 hp) or the I5 (150/177 hp). From 2014, Volvo only uses its petrol and diesel engine called Drive E VEA, both with four cylinders. In 2016 there is a facelift and, among other things, different lights.
Old Volvo interior style, still cool!
The V40 is dated inside, but that’s not a bad thing
This Volvo has been completely updated in 2012. Now, eleven years later, it is clear again how fast innovation is. A center console with lots of buttons is outdated, but how bad is it? Take the seats, standard Volvo, stone, suitable for long journeys.
D2 is a very economical diesel
If you have a D2, you can easily run 1 in 20, which makes a small 40 liter tank worse. How is it with the experienced V40? It is widely praised for its finish, but there are also very few complaints about the technique. There are many V40s with more than two tons on the counter. Of course, half a million is also not uncommon, but those are mainly diesels. That’s why this time we go to a major old company that leased the D2 to find out how such a car holds up during its second life with an individual who drives a lot. Overview V40 D2 with very low mileage – 106,000 – is ready for a test drive at Van Duijn Nottelman.
The V40 has a few weaknesses and malfunctions
Volvo has its business with the V40. The model is stable and has few major shortcomings or malfunctions. The body and lower group are well treated against rust. However, it doesn’t hurt to check the car for any damage. Open the hood, check the beams, open the boot lid and look under the bed. Also get down on your knees to check the rib for mistakes. The interior has no weaknesses. It is well finished and the seats offer typical Volvo comfort even after 200,000 km. Come on, the trunk mat spins fast. If you can look at the car on a car lift, you will see that the brake lines do not rust, but the suspension arms and subframes do. That’s not so bad, by the way. Mechanically, there is little to say about the V40. However, each car has its own specific problems. Steering ball joints usually show play after 150,000 km, as do the ball joints on the control rods.
All engines have good characteristics
All the engines, Ford and Volvo themselves, have good characteristics. However, they attach a serious condition to it: they like to be interested in regular maintenance. There are usually problems with things related to the EGR, such as the EGR cooler and the valve – on diesels, especially on the D4. You realize this when the power source means. An (expensive) repair kit solves these problems. In addition, Volvo has introduced a software update that results in less power and higher consumption. In versions with manual transmission (D2), the clutch slave cylinder and flywheel frequently cause problems. When you go for a test drive, also pay attention to the length of the clutch engagement and the noise and vibrations coming from the said flywheel. You can also feel if the engine is holding back and see if the check engine light is on.
Important in all versions of the engine is a timing belt with a replacement interval of 150,000 km and strict oil change intervals. Check the service book if those services have been implemented. A sticker on the engine compartment sometimes helps.
The start-stop system does not always work well and in some cases even causes it to stop. Causes vary from a broken module to a problem in the battery itself.
Sometimes plugging connections will open on their own. A modern car like the V40 has only so many sensors. Think lane assist, tire pressure warning and keyless entry. It is a good idea to check all the functions before buying. There have been reports of a fuel line problem, overheating on four-cylinder diesels, a left tail light and airbags that could malfunction.
A solid car with a comfortable seat, but a stiff chassis
You can definitely add the V40 to your list of premium C-segment cars. After all, it’s a Volvo and then you always do well in this country. It feels solid and has a great engine and, what’s more, you sit in it like a prince. You have to take in the trade: hard chassis and narrow space and transparency. The trick is to put together and find the right version and the right engine for your purpose. If possible get one with a stamped service book.
In 2018, when the model was still fresh and new in the showroom, we already made this video about the Volvo V40 as an event.