We Like: Styling, quality interior, ride quality, safety features
We Don’t Like: Distracting buttons on centre console, small boot and limited rear passenger space
The Volvo V40 D3 is a stylish premium hatchback offering decent performance for the daily commute.
We recently tested the range-topping Volvo V40 Cross-Country T5 AWD Inscription derivative and although it offered sufficient power and torque (180 kW/350 Nm), it returned higher than expected fuel consumption figures, averaging 9.8 L/100 km. Does the turbodiesel-powered V40 D3 strike a better balance between performance and economy? Let’s see what this V40 D3 Momentum has to offer…
The V40 is undeniably attractive and this D3 looks even better with the "Thor’s Hammer" LED headlights and 18-inch Narvi alloys (both of which part of the R27 500 Sport Pack). This test unit came dressed in pastel Amazon Blue and our test team were torn between opinions as to whether the colour does the V40 D3 any justice. We will leave that for you to decide. We think there are better colours on offer from Volvo…
Another rather interesting point of contention in the Cars.co.za office was what Volvo calls the new City Weave interior, in this case a blonde colour scheme with a tweed-like fabric pattern on the seat upholstery. Volvo refers to the (no cost option) City Weave interior as “timeously trendy” and we don't quite agree.
The City Weave interior will appeal to those with a particularly sophisticated taste, but it's difficult to keep tidy.
Although the City Weave interior exudes an air of sophistication and classiness, we found it to be rather polarising. The City Weave is an acquired taste and those with a penchant for tweed will find it appealing, but bear in mind that the V40's prospective second owners might not. In fairness though, the members of our team are not exactly fashionistas; you will know if you like it, or not. Buyers will, however, appreciate the solid build quality and finish of the interior.
Performance and ride quality?
This V40 D3 is powered by a 2.0-litre turbodiesel that develops an honest 110 kW and 320 Nm of torque. The front wheels are driven through a 6-speed automatic transmission that also allows for driver-actuated manual gear changes. The transmission operates smoothly and copes reasonably well with sudden throttle inputs when swift overtaking manoeuvres are required.
Out in the thrum of the city, the V40 D3 is an average performer. It has enough power and torque to navigate the daily grind, whether it be on the highway or on city streets, but it does leave you wanting a bit more when you bury your right foot in search of more performance that never quite materialises. That said, if you are looking for more shove from your diesel V40, then the 140 kW/400 Nm D4 Momentum is a better bet.
With a claimed zero to 100 kph sprint time of 8.4 seconds, the V40 D3 won’t get your heart pounding, but it’s sufficiently able and its good ride quality more than makes up for its shortfall in outright performance. It’s a comfortable car to drive, especially on longer journeys. The D3 also feels more nimble when you are pressing through a bend and it delivers a composed drive that reassures the driver on every journey. The steering is well-balanced and lighter compared to the heavier V40 Cross Country T5 AWD version we tested recently, making it feel lighter and more manoeuvrable when you are getting a move on.
In terms of fuel consumption, Volvo claims 4.0 L/100km, which we found to be rather ambitious. During our test, the V40 D3 Momentum averaged 7.6 L/100km.
The Volvo V40 features a notably smaller boot compared with the class-leading Volkswagen Golf (380 litres). However, at 335 litres the V40’s boot can still store a fair amount of luggage and it comes equipped with a false floor, that when lifted up, can store flatter items out of sight. A 12V socket is also availed on the side of the luggage bay should you ever need it. The rear seats can fold forward in a 60:40 configuration, which increases utility space to 1 032 litres.
Boot space in the V40 D3 is smaller than its rivals but it's adequate for shopping and weekends away.
Space for rear passengers in the V40 could be better. Taller passengers will have an issue with the sloping roofline that encroaches on headroom, while tight leg and knee room may also be problematic. Children, however, should find the rear bench suitably comfortable. A large rear central armrest adds a degree of added comfort for rear passengers. The door pockets also feature storage space for bottles and other items such as books or magazines.
The driver’s seat is electrically adjustable with a memory function and the side mirrors and windows are also electrically operated (welcome standard features). Finding the perfect driving position is easy and the steering wheel can be adjusted for rake and reach and comes with mounted controls.
The plethora of buttons on the centre stack are distracting to use while driving.
Possibly our biggest issue with the V40 is the button-laced centre stack where the driver controls the climate control air conditioning, telephonic functions and infotainment system. It takes some time to come to grips with all the buttons and functionality and they are particularly distracting to use while driving. We think Volvo’s touchscreen system, seen in the XC90, is a much better and safer solution.
Buyers that opt for the City Weave interior (blond colour in particular) should also take note that this interior shows dirt and marks up very quickly. Even the simple action of getting in and out of the V40 will start to leave clothing marks on the exposed "blonde" leather trim. Scuff marks from shoes quickly become visible on the doors and you will in all likelihood have to clean the interior on a regular, if not weekly basis.
The interior is comfortable, well-built and sufficiently equipped with features.
One of the features that we enjoyed using on this V40 D3 test mule was the optionally fitted adaptive cruise control (cruise control is standard). It works so well and it’s easy to engage using the multifunction steering wheel. The driver can adjust the following distance to the vehicle in its path of travel and the V40 will accelerate and brake according to the traffic situation, making for a stress-free drive.
Adaptive cruise control is offered as part Volvo’s Driver Support Pack (R32 500) that includes a host of additional safety features includes a blind spot information system, cross traffic alert, driver alert system, active high beam, lane keeping aid, pedestrian detection and a rear parking camera. Volvo’s automated city safety braking system and tyre pressure monitoring system is fitted as standard.
Standard safety features fitted to this V40 D3 derivative include 8 airbags, ABS with EBD, brake assist, hill start assist and stability and traction control.
Buyers can also opt for the Sport Pack (R27 500) to further enhance their V40 and some of the added features include a digital instrument cluster, ‘Thor’s Hammer’ LED headlight signature, navigation, high-performance sound system with 8 speakers and park assist pilot. This particular test unit was also fitted with a panoramic sunroof (R8 500) that gave the cabin an airy feel.
Price and warranty
The Volvo V40 D3 Momentum is priced from R441 400 and is sold with a 5-year/100 000 km warranty and 5-year/100 000 maintenance plan.
With the optional Sport Pack, Driver Support Pack and panoramic sunroof fitted, this test unit is priced at R509 900.
The Volvo V40 D3 is a stylish offering that delivers decent performance for everyday driving and although the returned fuel consumption was a bit higher than we expected, it still performed admirably. The V40 is comfortable to drive and comes reasonably well equipped with standard features. Buyers who prioritise space might be disappointed with the V40, but for tasks such as the school run, shopping and weekends away, you will have more than enough. If you require more space, it's probably best to look elsewhere. The interior is of high quality and safety conscious buyers will appreciate the level of safety offered in the V40, especially if you opt for the Driver Support Pack (R32 500), which is recommended. Perhaps the D3's biggest problem is that the D4 derivative, which produces peak outputs of 140 kW and 400 N.m, costs a mere R10 100 more... Nonetheless, it is a mature, grown-up quality product.