Volvo V40 D3

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Will the wonderfully throbby D3 prove more attractive than it's environmentally friendly cousin?

Engine: 2.0-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel

Transmission: six-speed manual

Power: 150 PS at 3,500 rpm

Torque: 350 Nm at between 1,500 and 2,750 rpm

Fuel consumption (combined cycle): 53.3 mpg

CO2 emissions: 114 g/km

Top speed: 130 mph

Acceleration (0-62 mph): 9.6 seconds

The first British customers won’t get their hands on Volvo’s V40 until September but the Swedish manufacturer’s Golf-sized hatchback has already won plenty of favourable reviews. Most of the attention has so far focused on the entry-level D2 model, which, thanks to its economical 1.6-litre diesel engine, achieves exceptional results in official fuel consumption and CO2 emissions tests, and is expected to be the big seller of the V40 range.

But for some buyers, particularly those who aren’t slaves to the UK’s emissions-orientated company car taxation regime, there is another attractive option. The D3, which costs just £1,250 more thn the base car, has a five-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel engine, Volvo’s own, in place of the D2’s 1.6-litre which is bought in from Ford. The D2 is sweet, smooth and slightly slow but the D3 really peps the V40 up. The D3 has more outright shove, of course, with 150 horsepower as opposed to D2’s 115, but there’s more to it than that. The D3’s extra cylinder gives it a wonderfully throbby note that makes it sound sophisticated, characterful and expensive, a real plus and a rare one in a car of this size and price in an age of engine downsizing. On paper, it delivers its maximum power quite low down, at 3,500rpm, but in practice, it is very revvy for a diesel and even has a slightly sporty character. In fact, at a stretch, a V40 D3, with its fluent Ford Focus-derived chassis and appealing five-cylinder thrum might even be an interesting slow-motion substitute for fans of the last-generation Focus ST, which had a five-cylinder Volvo petrol engine that was ditched for the latest model.

The V40 range also encompasses a more powerful diesel, the D4, which has a 177 horsepower version of the 2.0-litre Volvo diesel, as well as turbocharged petrol engines, but none is as pleasant as the D2 or D3. What all V40s share, though, is Volvo’s most attractive shape in years, and well-judged spec and trim levels. Also standard across the range; Volvo-typical safety features such as the world’s first pedestrian airbag, which inflates from the trailing edge of the bonnet, and City Safety, a system that automatically stops the car at speeds of up to 19 mph in response to hazards not picked up by the driver. And the V40 also lives up to Volvo’s reputation for excellent ergonomics, with very good seats and a new TFT instrument display which can be switched between different layouts according to the driver’s mood.

Back in the 1980s, before the German prestige manufacturers started to extend their ranges downwards, Volvo had the market for small cars with premium badges to itself with the 340/360 series. That lead was dissipated when customers didn’t take to the 340/360’s successors and competition intensified, but the V40 is good enough to claw back quite a lot of lost ground, even in the face of new strong rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine