Volvo V40

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Volvo V40 D3

Road Test

Volvo V40 D3 driven

Driven October 2012

Additional Info

In many ways, the V40 is a normal hatch - five doors, engine in the front, five seats, parcel shelf, optional nodding dog. But Volvo can still throw a curveball, because it's persisting with five-cylinder diesel engines in the V40.

Hence why we're in this D3 model - the mid-point in the range between the four-cylinder D2 and another five-cylinder, the D4. The D3 has 148bhp and a useful 258lb ft, which means the 0-62mph sprint takes a respectable, if not really rapid, 9.6 seconds.

But as with all diesels, it's better in gear - slot it into sixth and let the torque do the work. And because the turbo kicks in from just 1,500rpm, it's rarely out of the power band, whether you're on a motorway or a back road.

Here's the thing though - Volvo's point of difference is its weakest point. In the past, the five-cylinder was good because it had a characteristic thrum to the engine, which set it apart from rattly rivals. Jump forward to today, though, and four-cylinder diesels are whisper quiet and refined. Volvo's layout has been left behind because it sounds too raucous at idle, in town and under acceleration. In today's world, you need the four-cylinder D2.

Piers Ward

The numbers
1984cc, 5cyl, FWD, 148bhp, 258lb ft, 65.7mpg, 114g/km CO2, 0-62 in 9.6secs, 130mph, 1484kg

The verdict
Not quite the V40 of choice - that's the D2 - but a good alternative if you don't want to go German.

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