Driven: Volvo V40 D2 SE

Driven: Volvo V40 D2 SE Review

Here we have the safest car you can buy today, the Volvo V40.

What is it about?

The Volvo V40 D2 SE is designed to be highly economical, and an extremely safe, modern, hatchback. The Swedish designed hatchback is the safest car ever tested by NCAP in collision testing. The car is equipped with the latest in safety technology including blind spot monitoring, proactive collision alerting, fully automatic braking for accident avoidance, and it was the first car in the world to have a pedestrian airbag. It’s safe to say that Volvo are leaders in the car safety industry, with the V40 as a prime example.

Volvo V40 D2 SE Review

The exterior design of the V40 is super modern and clean, and the front of the car is very sharp and futuristic. In white the car looks very impressive, it stands out from everything else on the road, as long as you keep it clean!

How does it drive?

The V40 D2 SE on test comes with a 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine that produces 115bhp and 270Nm of torque. It uses a 6 speed Powershift automatic gearbox to put the power to the front wheels. This setup results in a 0-60mph of 12.3 seconds and a top speed of 118mph.

Volvo V40 D2 SE Review

From the spec you can tell that this isn’t a speed demon, however the V40 sticks out for a completely different reason. These figures mean that the V40 is super fuel efficient. Volvo say that the car will do between 65-78mpg, and after the test drive, I would agree with them. The V40 has a low drag coefficient rating, and stop/start technology, which helps maintain its high level of fuel efficiency.

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So how does this translate into a driving experience…very well in fact. Driving the V40 D2 is a pleasure. The fuel efficient engine has enough torque to move the Volvo around efficiently, whilst keeping out of trouble. The brakes are very effective and the steering is light and easy to manoeuvre.

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I found that because of the engine and gearbox setup, as well as the MPG metrics displayed in the driver instruments in front of me, that I was automatically driving the car a lot more smoothly; doing my part to help maintain the high levels of MPG. I hate to say it but I was actually enjoying seeing just how high I could keep the MPG on the trip computer.

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In the driving seat of the Volvo V40, the driving position is spot on, the wheel and pedals exactly suited me as the driver. I was literally overwhelmed with driver aids on this car as well. The stand out feature of the car driving experience though is the Blind Spot Information System. It works by lighting up an orange light next to the wing mirrors on either side of the car when there is a car in the blind spot area. It works completely naturally as your eyes are already looking in that direction.

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Another great feature is the Park Assist Pilot (PAP), this will parallel park the car for you. It is weirdest thing to watch first hand, but from my testing it is 100% reliable, can park more accurately and faster than I can myself, and gets it right first time. PAP is an £850 option, but worth every penny if you have a problem with parallel parking. It could also save you on alloy wheel refurbishments in the long run.

What’s it like inside?

The Swedes have done an impressive job on the interior design. The centre console, housing Vovlo’s trademark floating dashboard, looks as stylish as ever. The usual controls are housed on the floating dash, whilst the sat nav and entertainment screen above this shows all the information you need. The driver’s instruments are fully digital with no moving parts, and a choice of options in the information that can be displayed.  You are even able to switch between performance, eco, and elegance modes, which change the colours and how the metrics are shown to the driver. Sometimes it’s nice to have a choice.

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Volvo V40 D2 (4)

One of my favourite features of the Volvo V40 on test drive was the keyless entry and go system. If you go for this option you never have to take the key out of your pocket. Simply grabbing the door handle will unlock the car, hitting the start button on the dash will start and stop the car, and once at your destination you can lock the doors with one finger, by touching the door handle. No more messing around with keys, perfect!

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The Experience

The experience of owning the Volvo V40 is one that I have never come across before. I loved knowing that I was driving the safest car on the road. Buying the Volvo V40 is such a smart decision, driving is a dangerous part of our daily life, and I find it is odd that we choose to buy cars that protect us less than the V40. I also loved how practical the car was; every aspect of the design of the car had a reason and purpose. Lots of small details of the car, like the folding boot floor and the storage hole shapes, made it a lot more usable than most cars.

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And not forgetting, it parks itself! This is brilliant and highly accurate technology that transforms the driving experience into a whole new world of automation.


The Volvo V40 SE is a car that simply just makes sense, its well-designed, extremely safe, and highly economical. I would recommend this car to everyone, the Volvo has a very strong stance with the V40 and there is no doubt it will go on to win many more awards.

Video Highlights


Volvo V40 D2 SE
  • Price: £29,305
  • Engine: 1.6-litre TD
  • Power: 115bhp
  • Torque: 270Nm
  • Transmission: 6 Speed Powershift auto
  • 0-62mph: 12.1 Seconds
  • Top speed: 118mph
  • Weight: 1,343kg
  • Economy combined: 72mpg
  • CO2: 102g/km

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Author: Paul Hadley