Volvo V40 (2012 – 2019) Review

Volvo V40 (2012 – 2019) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
There’s still plenty to like about the Volvo V40 and it’s a more affordable option that its main rivals especially as a used car. Even today, it’s worthy of your consideration.

+Comfortable and enjoyable to drive, a good (if rather confusing) range of engines, fabulous record on safety.

-Trails competition on interior quality, some iffy ergonomics and dated interior design, boot smaller than in most rivals.

Insurance Groups are between 17–26
On average it achieves 78% of the official MPG figure

Judged in isolation, the Volvo V40 looks like an appealing car. It’s very pleasant to drive, refinement is impressive and the engines offer a good balance of performance and economy. It also offers decent practicality and impressive safety credentials. However, it’s outgunned in several areas by key rivals such as the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class, and feels a little dated by comparison. That said, the V40 replaces ruthless German efficiency with sophisticated Scandinavian style, so it’s likeable nonetheless. Get the complete picture with our Volvo V40 review.

They say that if you’re standing still, then you’re actually going backwards, and few cars are a better illustration of this than the poor-old Volvo V40.

You have to feel sorry for the car, really, because in many ways, it did move things forward. As a replacement of both the S40 saloon and V50 estate, it had morphed into the premium hatchback that was proving so popular with buyers all over the UK, so it looked ready to take the fight directly to well-heeled rivals such as the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class. 

Based on the Ford Focus of the day, it had truly match-winning mechanicals that provided a brilliant blend of fun and comfort, even by premium car standards. The engine range provided an impressive mix of performance, economy and refinement, while the cabin provided a competitive amount of space and practicality compared with rivals.

The amount of standard luxury equipment was also competitive, while the amount of standard safety kit was out-of-this-world. This was the first car of its type to include automatic emergency braking as standard across the range, paving the way for this important safety feature to become so widespread in today’s modern cars, something for which Volvo should be applauded.

However, there were one or two key areas in which the V40 didn’t move the game on enough, and they would prove to be costly.

The first of them was interior design. The dashboard layout was very similar to that in the cars that the Volvo V40 replaced, and this was a problem. For starters, that layout wasn’t all that good to begin with, and it meant that ergonomically, the V40 wasn’t as strong as it should’ve been.

It also meant that, visually, the design looked rather old-school even when it was brand-spanking new, and against the super-desirable rivals that the Volvo V40 was up against, it simply didn’t have enough wow-factor, especially in comparison to the recently replaced BMW 1 Series. 

Things quickly got worse. Not long after the Volvo V40 arrival, new versions of both the Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class came along, both with vastly improved interior quality, more gadgets, and much more wow-factor as a result. Compared with these, the V40’s interior was nowhere for desirability.

Ask Honest John

What tyres would you recommend for my Volvo?

"Help please, so many tyres and prices to choose from. Should I be looking at fuel efficiency for example? "
Tyres are one of the most vital components of your car as they are the only parts that are in contact with the road surface. We would always recommend fitting the best tyres you can afford to ensure the safety of you and your passengers. We would suggest visiting a tyre website such as where you can enter the registration of your vehicle or tyre size and see a selection of tyres that will fit your car. Each tyre is rated with a letter for fuel efficiency and wet grip, with A being the highest rating. Generally speaking the higher the ratings, the more expensive the tyre, so we would suggest choosing a tyre with the best rating for fuel efficiency or wet grip, depending on where your priorities lie.
Answered by David Ross

How long should heated seats last?

"The heated drivers seat on my 2017 Volvo V40 stopped working when it was just under 3 years old and it was repaired under warranty by my local Volvo dealer. However just over 3 years later it has stopped working again is this a common fault or do heated seats only last 3 years?"
A heated seat should comfortably last as long as the rest of the car, so the fact that you have experienced two failures in this time period suggests there is a problem that has not been resolved. We would suggest going back to the dealer and asking them to repair the fault, although we suspect this may no longer be covered under warranty. If you would prefer not to pay the dealer for this work, you could consider taking the car to an independent Volvo specialist who would likely charge less than the dealer for a repair. You can find one near you using the Honest John Good Garage Guide here:
Answered by David Ross

I have had three tyres suffering cuts to the chord, what could be the cause?

"I have had three tyres failing MOT test due to cuts to the chord, They had done 2,0000 miles and are fitted on a Volvo V40. I have never had this happen before, is it due to the potholes which I try to avoid?"
Tyre damage can usually be traced to a particular problem based on how the tyre has worn or failed, and cuts to tyres would generally be caused by the impact of a object on the road or by very poor road conditions such as potholes, although it is unusual that you have experienced this on three tyres. However, 20,000 miles is a good distance to get from a tyre, so it may be that they were worn to the point where they became more susceptible to damage. Although the legal limit for tread depth is 1.6mm, tyre manufacturers recommend replacement at 3mm to avoid a loss of performance. When replacing tyres we would also suggest four-wheel alignment to ensure your vehicle is within factory tolerances.
Answered by David Ross

My car's DPF is blocked. Can it be cleaned or does it need replacing?

"I've owned a diesel 2013 Volvo V40 for nearly two years and it has now covered 28,000 miles (short journeys since I have owned it). Recently the message 'soot filter blocked' came up. My local garage has had it in a couple of times to do a forced regeneration and put it on a machine to clean the DPF but so far nothing has worked and the message is still on the instrument panel. Do you know if this can actually be cleaned somehow or, if not, what the likely cost of a replacement DPF would be? Thank you."
It's possible to have the DPF cleaned via the Ceramex process, but the success rate will depend on the condition of the filter. Modern diesel cars are simply not suited for low-mileage use. Your car will need at least 15-miles (per journey) to reach optimum operating temperature and complete a full DPF burnoff cycle. Even if you are successful in cleaning the filter on this occasion, I fear you will face more costly problems that are linked to the fact that the engine is used for repeated short runs from cold. My advice would be to fix the filter and replace the car with a petrol or electric vehicle.
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

What does a Volvo V40 (2012 – 2019) cost?