I’m now just over 12 months in my Volvo V40 D2. I’m past the honeymoon period and starting to do some serious mileage. My 12 month warranty has expired and I’m starting to see some bills. What’s the verdict now?
Overall I’m still happy. There are some minor niggles and I think the next 12 months will decide whether I buy another Volvo or not. I’ve driven a lot of cars over the years. As a company car driver for almost all my working career (and changed jobs a few times) I’ve had lots of 3 or 4 year experiences with some decent brands of car. When I handed my Mercedes back it was almost pristine whereas my last Saab was held together by pieces of string. 40,000 miles a year tests build quality in a car.
Within days of getting the car I discovered some minor problems due to production – one of the anchors for the driving mat had pulled through the carpet (as a result my mat floats because it doesn’t stay tethered to the remaining one), the handle which raises the false boot floor has torn through the rubber mounting which really is inadequate for the job. the worst failing was that the sunscreen for the panoramic sun roof jammed after very little use. These aren’t major issues but I am feeling slightly nervous at this stage. I can’t afford to have the car off the road for long. What is obvious is that the car dealerships are not used to people like me. I was that company car driver who never sees a bill and who just borrows a pool car if his car is off the road. Just getting to the dealership is a pain and takes a chunk out of my day.
My dealership is TMS in Coventry and I am very satisfied with them. We are getting to know each other better. They communicate well and they did do me a surprisingly good deal for new tyres. While on the subject I had to replace the front tyres at around 25,000 miles and I swapped on to cold weather tyres from November to April so it will be interesting to see how soon I need to replace again. The brake discs and pads have had to be replaced at 50,000 miles. I was slightly surprised about the discs but the explanation was that they are made out of softer material these days. I’ll keep an eye on this. Overall my servicing costs are creeping up. My first service was £192 and every 12,000 miles I’m now shelling out £340. With the brakes pads and discs it was £550. I do think 12,000 miles is a ridiculously low service interval and I think it would make sense for this to be varied depending on the type of driving you do – it looks like it is 18,000 on the new Volvo V40s. An alternative would for the dealerships to offer more attractive service packages. the ones I have been offered are basically just Christmas clubs to help you with money management…not reflecting the reduced workload for the dealership, loyalty, annual spend etc.
Fuel consumption is good. The onboard computer reports 60-65 mpg for my routine which is 50:50 between motorway and A-roads with only a small amount of town driving. My calculations are that the true figure is around 57 mpg which I still think is pretty good. I’m getting 540-600 miles typically before I refill the tank. The fuel gauge seems very erratic in the one bar and less than 100 miles to empty range. The car is very good at telling you how to drive and I do notice that I am driving at much lower revs than I would do previously. Although the automatic gear change indicator suggests it is possible I have never seen it suggest a change down – only changes up.
At this stage I am very happy with the car. I am getting the fuel consumption I hoped for and the comfort is excellent. As I get older I expect a few aches but I can do long journeys and get out as fresh as when I got in. After being initially overwhelmed by the range of options on the computer I can now navigate it easily and unintrusively when I am driving – generally it is for manipulating media, controlling the phone settings or checking consumption but I have also used the lighting and locking settings with success. I still use the automatic parking on occasion but in truth this is more gimmick than practical. It is nice to get into spaces which I otherwise would drive past but this is few and far between and the time it takes to start scanning for spaces can mean you have an annoyed queue of cars behind you while you are crawling along.
I went for white and I have noticed that the back of the car seems to get filthy very quickly – particularly up the back. Standard car washes don’t seem to be able to get into the moulding round the registration plate and under the mini spoiler at the top of the hatchback so I always need to finish it off with a chamois. I guess this is the plight of the white-car driver though!
If I had more money to spend I would possibly have gone for the slightly bigger engine. My route to work involves overtaking lorries and tractors along country roads. It would be nice if there was just a little more acceleration in the higher gears but I realise I’m trading it off for fuel consumption.