Ranging from the mid-30 to low-50k range, the Volvo V40 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class offer a lot of options (12 variations to be exact) for your budget if you’re looking for a luxurious hatch. Whether looking for entry level or a more expensive version, here is our comparison of the key features of each model to help you determine which one could be the next car to adorn your driveway.
Volvo has 8 options to choose from while Mercedes-Benz offers 5. However, for this comparison we’ll exclude throw out the A45 AMG from the Mercedes-Benz line-up because it’s nearly $25,000 more than the most expensive V40.
Exterior and Styling
The exterior changes to the new A-Class include a more pointed front bumper, LED headlamps, and new wheel designs. Ola Källenius of Mercedes-Benz describes it as “the most progressive model in the compact class,” and you can see what he means when you look at the bold design elements complementing the twin-bar radiator grille as well as the dynamic lines flowing from front to back. The V40, on the other hand, has smoother contours and isn’t nearly as flashy as the A-Class, though we think dressed in the Rebel Blue paint it looks much more bolder!
Interior and Comfort
The Mercedes-Benz gets a bit of a face-lift on the inside for 2015 as well. The instrument cluster now has a more “tubular” design with redesigned switches, some upholstery options include contrast stitching, and there are also 12 different ambient lighting colours with different dimming levels. To increase comfort, the seats also now have an up to 60 mm depth adjustment. The back seat, however, still has limited headroom and not quite enough under-thigh support. Like the A-Class, the V40 has high-quality interior. We appreciate the level of detail in subtle design elements here like the chrome accents around the colour display screen. On the downside though, it doesn’t have touchscreen functionality. And though head and leg room is decent in the back seat, the V40 it becomes very cramped with 3 adults sitting back there.
Under the Bonnet
The V40’s 2.0T Petrol engine generates 180 kW of power, making it capable of going from 0 to 100 Km/h in 6.3 seconds. The less powerful diesel model can do that same sprint in 7.2 seconds. The 40’s fuel consumption for diesel and petrol engines are 4.5 and 7.6 L/100 Km respectively. Alternatively, the A-Class has more powerful and more fuel-efficient models across the lineup. The A250, for example, can go from 0 to 100 Km/h in 6.4 seconds and consumes only 6 L /100 Km. The A200 2.1L diesel model does the 0-100 dash in 9.2 seconds, and is more fuel efficient than the V40 diesel, consuming only 4.0 3.9 L /100 Km. If you’re interested in the entry-level versions, be aware that while the V40 1.6L Turbo Diesel is economical it’s accelleration is a little pedestrian (0-100 Km/h in 12.1 seconds).
On the Road
While the Volvo has a firm, balanced ride coupled with a punchy engine, it can be a bit heavy through corners and oversensitive to road imperfections. Though it offers a steady ride, its not an exciting one. Excitement, though, is natural to the A-Class can offer with its sporty driving dynamics that make driving on winding roads a delight. The downside is that this hatch doesn’t ride as well on country roads. And although a little ‘nit picky’ – the transmission could be more responsive.
Both of these automakers are known for their vehicle safety features. The Volvo’s list of advanced features and options include Driver Alert System, Forward low speed collision mitigation, Collision Warning and Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keeping Aid, and Blind Spot Monitoring System. The A-Class counters with; Brake Assist System, Attention Assist, Collision Prevention Assist, Pre-Safe accident anticipation, and the optional Driving Assistance Package including Blind Spot Assist, Distronic Plus (intelligent cruise control) and Lane Keeping Assist.
Value and Verdict
Both models here offer similar price points. In addition to having a few more standard features, the A-Class has the more exciting appearance as well as the more rewarding driving experience. However, the V40 has the better-performing petrol engine (entry-level model excluded). The choice basically comes down to whether you prefer a more flashy, exciting hatch or a more toned down one.