I’m now over 70,000 miles into the Volvo V40 D2 and overall I’m pretty satisfied. No time like the present though to give an overview of how the car drives as it gets well into middle age. Although I’ve owned it for 18 months it is actually over two years old now – it was a low mileage demonstrator when I bought it in snowy weather in January 2013. I estimate I’ve now been sitting in the car for the equivalent of 50 days and nights solid so I notice everything and the impact is magnified accordingly.
The negatives are honestly few and far between. There is an annoying groan sometimes when I pull away from a queue on a hill, either the brakes are binding slightly or there is an issue in the suspension somewhere. This isn’t new – it’s just one of those things that didn’t really seem a problem but have a greater resonance after lots of miles.
I also have an occasional problem with the sound system and the Bluetooth. It occasionally freezes (once every couple of months). In those circumstances the iPod connection suddenly stops responding to the controls and the Bluetooth picks up a phone but won’t let me connect the call to play through the speakers. It’s minor stuff but it seems to happen just as the key call comes in. I find myself swapping between my two phones as the call invariably arrives at the wrong one and remains unanswered. While on the subject of the sound system the basic system is good quality but it needs to be. The car isn’t whisper quiet like the German fleet cars, especially on motorways, but probably standard or even above-standard for this class of car.
The build quality seems to have stood the test of time well – and it’s had a fair test from the miles, a family of four and a dog. After the problem with the sunblind in the early days (which were mentioned in the earlier blogs) it’s been pretty trouble free. My only gripe is with the handle on the folding boot tray. It’s made of rubber and it has torn at one of the wire brackets. I can still lift the tray but it really hasn’t had excessive wear and tear and should still be in one piece.
The gear box is good with the only exception of first gear. I sometimes still struggle to hit first gear with an annoying tendency to keep it in third. My final negative observation is that the drive is quite juddery when turning corners when driving uphill. It feels that there isn’t quite enough weight in the front of the car to hold it to the road
But there is so much good about the car too. By this stage I had assumed I would be starting to get a few niggles. I’ve had new brake pads and discs. All the tyres have been changed but there haven’t been any tear-jerking bills yet. More exciting is that the fuel consumption seems to be getting better and better. I’m averaging around 57 mpg with a very high percentage of my driving being over the same journey – my daily 110 mile commute. It’s a mixture of country roads, dual carriageway, motorway and urban crawl so a pretty good test. My record is 74.2 mpg over the sixty mile journey there and just under 70 mpg on the way home. You can knock off 7 mpg for the difference between the trip computer and what my spreadsheet shows unfortunately but it is still pretty impressive.
It’s a comfortable car too. The seats are really good no matter how long the journey is. I get out at the other end of a 400 mile day and still feel fine. With the heated seats even the autumn mornings are fine and the windscreen clears from frost very quickly too with the blower on full. As the dark nights kick in the headlights are useful too. The intelligent xenon, corner-following lights are excellent. They are bright anyway but the added safety is appreciated. The washers and wipers are very good at keeping the view clear too.
If I can get another 40,000 miles of trouble free motoring out of it, the Volvo D2 will rank pretty highly in the cars I have driven. It’s no sports car – I still hesitate before overtaking but it does look good still. It does serve as a good all-round family car. We’ve packed it to the rafters to get children back to university and we’ve comfortably packed for a family of four to go on holiday for a week, with more of a squeeze for a fortnight. A large dog happily sits in the boot space. There is decent legroom in the back as well. My finally observation is nothing to do with the Volvo V40 but more a point about where we live and the type of driving I do. Never, repeat never, have a white car again! The particular characteristics of the Volvo are that it traps the dirt in the recess around the rear registration plate, at the top of the rear windscreen under the rear rood overhang and in the recesses under the door handles – no automatic washer gets close.