Volvo V40 bigger

than most

Volvo V40, front action
Volvo V40, rear action
Volvo V40, boot
Volvo V40, dashboard
Volvo V40, rear seats

I WONDER how long it will be before every car comes with keyless entry and starting?

So many models now come with it as standard - and it is a great thing to have - that I'm sure it will be standard on most within a couple of years as the cost of fitting comes down.

The car that made me ponder on this was the Volvo V40 hatch, which I recently drove in T3 petrol form.

It's available with a manual gearbox, but it seems as though most sales are of the automatic I drove - with a smooth changing six speeder - and I can see why.

It really does take all the strain, so that living with the car is immensely easy and pleasurable.

It has plenty of interior space for a medium hatch, thanks to a wider body that also helps give it one of the biggest boots in the class.

The engine is a 1.5 turbo, probably brought in from old owner Ford, and with a smooth and tuneful 150bhp on tap, it gives marvellous acceleration from almost any speed.

The gearbox can be left in normal drive mode, but it also has sport and manual settings, with gearchange paddles behind the steering wheel.

All three work well, but obviously, since sport holds onto lower gears longer, it gives better acceleration and a more immediate response to the loud pedal.

It gets a heated windscreen - again brought in from Ford - but I didn't like it in bright sunlight because it slightly disrupts a clear view - and this can also happen because of oncoming headlights at night.

There is a fair amount of wind noise at speed, and the big wheels and low profile tyres add their din on tar and chipping surfaces - as they do with most cars.

But there's decent feel from the steering once out of town, and roadholding and grip are tenacious - even on badly surfaced roads.

It feels very good generally apart from one thing - the knobbly ride in town and on rougher surfaces at speed.

This is the only thing that lets it down. It's not as comfortable as other good cars in this price range.

Standard equipment in the SE I drove includes Volvo's City Safety system, which can stop the car automatically in a dangerous situation from anything up to 31mph.

It also has an airbag to lessen injury to pedestrians, Bluetooth, five-inch colour display screen, sat nav, climate, alloys, stability and traction control, and leather covered steering wheel.



Mechanical:152bhp, 1,498cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:130mph

0-62mph:8.3 seconds.

Combined MPG:51

Insurance Group:23

C02 emissions:129g/km

Bik rating:20%

Warranty:3yrs/ 60,000 miles


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