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The V40 is the Swedish premium brands biggest selling car and, following a mid-life facelift at the beginning of the year, now features more advanced kit, lower running costs and a classier cabin.
It's a car which can sometimes be overlooked in a segment which includes popular alternatives like the BMW 1-series, Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-class, however Volvo is hoping this latest update will place the V40 even more in-line with its German rivals than before.
This revision is a minor one but one of the first things you'll notice is those eye-catching 'Thor' headlights, which first appeared in the XC90, while the grille has also been subtly revised and there are some new alloy wheel designs available too.
Volvo's On Call Smartphone app (a £450 option), which allows remote access and control over a wide range of in-car features, also gets an update and now includes a calendar integration feature that can send directions directly to the cars satnav, a lot of business users will find this handy.
Bringing the V40 in-line with its stablemates, the trim line-up now consists of Momentum, Inscription and R-Design.
Here we're testing the latter, which comes with sportier design cues including twin exhausts, a unique front grille design and 17-inch black alloy wheels. Inside you also get sports seats, special floor mats and aluminum pedals.
Economical diesel engine
The engine line-up remains unchanged, however CO2 emissions have been reduced on this sportier version with the D2 2.0-litre diesel, tested here, to just 89g/km with an increased combined fuel economy of 84.1mpg.
Although we put little stock in official fuel economy figures, we managed 60mpg on test during a variety of trips, which is very good.
The engine is smooth and refined and the V40 R-Design proved an overall fun car to drive. Its sportier chassis meant ride quality suffered a little, but the car felt balanced and composed in the corners, with well-weighted and accurate steering.
With 120hp and 280Nm of torque at its disposal, outright pace is not this V40's biggest asset; the 0-62mph sprint is officially achieved in 10.5 seconds. That said, there's enough pull to gain speeds quickly enough when overtaking or on the slip road and the slick six-speed manual proved a perfect companion to the engine.
High quality interior
Inside there's an array of high quality plastics and materials used and plenty of space upfront to stretch out on long journeys. In the back, headroom is a little restricted but legroom is more than adequate for the class and you've got a wide choice of storage options littered around the cabin.
Boot space is generous too, compared with rivals, with the 402 litres available, expanding to 1032 litres when the rear seats are folded flat. That beats the Audi A3, Merc A-class and BMW 1-series.
In R-Design Nav Plus trim, standard kit is good, aside from the sporty touches you also get satnav, two-zone climate control, DAB radio, Bluetooth and the firms City Safety tech as standard.
The infotainment system is starting to feel its age a little, though, and the five-inch screen is too small, offerings from BMW and Mercedes-Benz feel more intuitive and modern and are easier to use, but it's a little niggle for an overall excellent cabin.
In the residual value battle, the Volvo lags behind its German premium rivals achieving 33.2%, the comparable 1-series, A3 and A-class values are all above 39%.
Thanks to its low running costs and competitive pricing, the V40 makes up lost ground in whole-life costs, though, with only the 1-series bettering its 47.5 pence per mile figure.
Volvo V40 D2 R-Design Nav Plus
Model price range: £20,255-£32,015
Residual value: 33.2%
Service, maintenance and repair: £1845
Vehicle Excise Duty: £0
National insurance: £1888
Cost per mile: 47.5p
Fuel consumption: 84.1mpg
CO2 (BIK band): 89g/km (18%)
BIK 20/40% per month: £75/£149
Boot space: 402 litres
Engine size/power: 1968cc/120hp
A mature and refined choice with a premium cabin and impressive running costs